According to Om Malik, Joost will release a small plug-in that will embed itself in a browser to allow viewers to grab files using peer-to-peer technologies. The new browser-based video player is said to provide better quality than average video sites.
Since the story broke earlier today, NewTeeVee’s Liz Gannes has had a chance to poke around new.joost.com, which is password protected. (It will not be available to beta testers for about two weeks.) In the meantime, NewTeeVee, News.com, and TechCrunch all have screenshots and/or video of New and Improved Joost in action.
While the early, early reviews are mostly favorable — videos start playing in a few seconds, they scale nicely for full-screen viewing — it’s hard to work up any excitement for New Joost, which seems like another version of Hulu, the online streaming video joint venture from NBC and Fox.
Unlike Hulu, however, New Joost suffers from a lack of prime content. Without it, why even bother with Joost?
Joost, started by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the two entrepreneurs behind Skype, raised an impressive $45 million back in May 2007. Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures were the lead investors. And CBS Corporation, Viacom, and Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing also participated.
Aside from the lack of compelling content, Original Joost was hampered by bandwidth issues, a less-than-stellar desktop client, and the lack of dynamic sharing through sites like MySpace and Facebook, not IM and email. Add it all up, and the once “It” online video startup fell behind the likes of Hulu to become also-ran.
Maybe this new browser-based strategy will be enough to put Joost back in the game. Doubtful, without improved content, but certainly possible in the ever-evolving world of Internet television.
See also: Joost Ditches the Desktop Player – Could iTunes Video Be Next? from ReadWriteWeb and Don’t turn off the life support just yet: Joost coming to the browser from last100