I want my free TV online - www.joost.com
JANUARY 29, 2007 (www.msnbc.msn.com) - In 2003, a Danish company called Skype changed the way we make phone calls, offering a free Internet-based communications system to users around the world. Having already established its reputation with the launch of the music-sharing site Kazaa, cofounders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis quickly attracted a solid customer base, and in 2005, eBay bought the company for $2.6 billion.
Now they're entering the world of TV. Last week the brains behind the online telephony service introduced Joost, which claims to be the world's first broadcast-quality service on the Internet. Although no precise launch date has been set, the site, joost.com, is currently operating in order to inform prospective customers of the service's potential.
Joost CEO Fredrik de Wahl, a Swede who previously ran a peer-to-peer software business and who holds a master's degree in both electrical engineering and economics, held a press conference last week in London to announce the service. NEWSWEEK's Ginanne Brownell spoke to him by (old-fashioned) telephone.
Brownell: What's the Joost philosophy?
De Wahl: We believe the television experience has a high entertainment value—people like television and spend massive amounts of hours watching it. We bring that concept online. When you start our application you get full-screen media, you get broadcast quality—in some cases, better, because we [offer] DVD-like quality—and you get the channel structure. One show follows another. You can also flick between channels in a very televisionlike way. We mimic what is good about TV, but we remove the drawbacks of television, like locking people into time and place. It's a one-to-many broadcasting model, while we have a one-to-one relationship. You can also individualize the >