The founders of Skype, who have been busy preparing to launch the world's first broadcast-quality Internet TV service, moved one step closer to official debut by giving the nascent service a name: Joost.
The service, until now known only by the codename "The Venice Project," is designed to enable broadcasters to push their programming out to a worldwide audience over the Internet.
"People are looking for increased choice and flexibility in their TV experience, while the entertainment industry needs to retain control over their content," said Fredrik de Wahl, Joost's CEO, in a statement. "With Joost, we've married that consumer desire with the industry's interests."
De Wahl said Joost will replicate the complete television experience and ultimately fill a critical gap in online entertainment. "It will allow viewers to access all kinds of television over the Internet," he said.
Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis sold Luxembourg-based Skype to eBay for $2.7 billion in 2005 and reportedly rolled part of those proceeds into seed money to work on the new service.
Joost's stated goal is to be the first global TV distribution platform, bringing together advertisers, content owners, and viewers into one interactive, community-driven environment.
As with Skype, Joost users will be able to download the software for free to watch the ad-supported television shows. In addition, Joost will let users rewind or fast forward within a show, much like DVRs can do with standard television.
And how will it all work? Joost will use the kind of file-sharing architecture that powers Skype. "Peer-to-peer technology is perfect for delivering broadcast in a very scalable way on the Internet," Friis said in a videotaped interview published on Joost's Web site.
According to the London-based company, Joost will be "piracy proof" and capable of streaming video at broadcast resolutions, unlike other online-video services such as YouTube.
For now, however, there isn't much to see, as the service is still in beta. But its founders are expecting to have a great deal of content available once Joost officially launches. There is no word yet on when that launch will take place.
"We've received positive and constructive feedback from our early beta-testers and are now at a stage where we're ready to reveal our true brand," said de Wahl. "The Joost name has global appeal, embodies fun and energy, and will come to define the 'best of TV and the best of the Internet.'"