Joost Hopes To Change How You View TV

Joost looks like TV. It sounds like TV, too. But unlike cable or satellite TV, CBS News correspondent Daniel Sieberg reports, the signal comes through the Internet — for free.

"If you know how to use a TV, you can use this software," says David Clark, vice president of Joost.

Joost is a revolutionary venture from the same guys who angered the record companies with their music downloading software and then turned the Internet into a popular way to make cheap phone calls.

"People now, with the Internet, are used to control. They want to be in control of what they're watching and when they're watching it," says co-creator Janus Friis. "So we thought we could actually combine the best of TV with the best of the Internet."

Video: Joost Demonstration
Tech Talk Blog: Getting Joost
Web Site: Joost.com
Things like interactivity, instant messaging and search engines.

Just because the TV is off, doesn't mean Joanna Stern isn't watching ... and messaging her friends.

"We can be straight on our computers, watching the same channel, talking about it, and then saying, check out what's on this channel," says Stern, a Joost user.

Stern is one of 14,000 people who've been testing the program, but the creators say it could be coming to a computer near you any day now.

High-tech couch potatoes would be freed from the bonds of their couch. You could pretty much watch TV anywhere as long as you have a broadband Internet connection.

Your favorite programs probably aren't on the system yet. Right now, it's mostly music videos, documentaries and specialty shows, but the developers say that's going to change.

"We're talking about a potential unlimited number of channels," Clark says.

"This is just bringing the TV to the Internet in a more direct way, so it will definitely change the way we watch TV," Stern says.

But if it all seems like too many choices, remember: You can always turn it off.
  • Melissa McNamara

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