Monday, May 07, 2007

Internet Video Deathmatch: Joost vs. Democracy Player


These past few weeks, I’ve been bombarded with viral marketing for Joost. I see it in forums, I read about it on tech news, I even hear about it in my favorite podcasts. Curious about this new video service, I tried to get my grubby little hands on Joost but it turned out that it is “invitation only” beta testing. Well, a few weeks later (last week to be exact) Joost gave its members unlimited invitations. So a good soul from PhilMUG sent an invite over which allowed me to download and install Joost on my MacBook. The result… well, I think a comparison with its nearest competition, Democracy Player, will be a better way to show my impressions on Joost:

Download and installation –
Joost: Downloading and installing the application was easy and a no-brainer. However, upon running the application, it will prompt users to register and the application is useless if the user is not registered with Joost.
Democracy Player: Just like Joost, download and install was a no-brainer. Once up and running, users have the option to browse for “channels” they wish to become accessible from the menu. Videos can be downloaded immediately after the installation process.

Ease of Use/Eye Candy –
Joost: This application is really easy on the eye. Its interface is pretty slick although novice users may be lost with the obscure icons it has on its screen.
Democracy Player: Think open-source iTunes for Video and you’ll get an idea of how Democracy player looks like. It is not as slick as Joost but using it is a breeze.

Video Quality –
Joost: Videos from Joost is outstanding and the sound is superb. The video quality is outstanding.
Democracy Player: Since the videos available for this player is not controlled by a single entity, video quality varies from great to almost-trash.

Video Delivery –
Joost: Once a user chooses a video to view, he has to wait for it to be streamed before it can be seen – a big problem for peopl who have slow or erratic network connection.
Democracy Player: Videos are downloaded from the internet so users can set their players to download videos and then come back later to enjoy the video without any interruptions. Users also have the option to store the videos they saw for later viewing or to delete it outright if they don’t like it. Democracy also supports download via the BitTorrent protocols, allowing larger videos to be downloaded/viewed through the extensive offerings in P2P networks.

Video Format –
Joost: I haven’t really seen any video file that was downloaded through Joost so I have no idea on the format supported by this player.
Democracy Player: Supports a wide variety of standard video formats (MPEG4, DivX, Xvid, etc.).

So, who wins this Deathmatch? Based on my experiences, Democracy Player wins this without breaking any sweat. Joost is cool and all but I don’t think its ready for primetime.

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