iPlayer vs Joost

As I mentioned the other week I applied for a Beta invite to the new BBC iPlayer (such an imaginative name isn’t it). Well low and behold I got one in under a week.

After setting up a virtual PC – which wasn’t as confusing and actually took less time than downloading, installing, registering and updating the iPlayer software itself – I set about downloading my first program. A comedy called Grownups. Well, at least it said it was a comedy although a more useful description would have been ‘bandwidth wasting bag of shite’.

*reminisces about the days of great comedy on the BBC like Only Fools and Horses…*

Anyway, a quick roundup and comparison to the other P2P TV like software I’ve been using – Joost.

Getting Started. Joost wins this one. As well as the beta username/password you have to register on the BBC site itself. On launching the player it showed I met the software requirements but then wouldn’t run – you have to download Media Player 11 and IE7 to get past that.

Ease of use. A draw. Neither are perfect but the basics are simple enough. Joost has more ‘widgets’ and looks nicer as well as having everything in one place but not sure that makes it any easier to use.

Content. This one goes to the BBC. Even though it is currently limited to a seven day catch up service there are a fair few programs with new ones added each day. As mentioned previously I can’t vouch for the quality of some of the programs…. Joost meanwhile has been stuck with the same content for months. I know it’s only in beta but I watched everything I wanted in a week and can’t find much reason to even launch it nowadays other than to check if anything new is there yet.

Video quality. Joost has much better quality video IMHO.

Other considerations. Joost has adverts. You get used to them and I can’t say I was really bothered but they are there and seem to just interrupt whenever they want rather than at opportune moments.

The iPlayer is limited to the 7 day catch up service which means if you wait longer than seven days you are out of luck. Programs can ony be stored for a limited time as well – 30 day if you haven’t watched them yet and seven when you have.

Joost streams. Give it a few minutes to get a nice buffer and then settle down to watch. With iPlayer on the other hand you have to wait until it’s finished before you can view so you may as well go make dinner and queue up several programs (it only downloads one at a time however).

Conclussion. If it wasn’t for the total lack of content I’d go with Joost but at the moment it simply isn’t worth looking at. On the other hand, nothing to stop you having both anyway!

Of course the big plus for me is that I don’t need a TV licence. And believe me I checked each EULA I agreed to and it wasn’t mentioned (plus archived content isn’t covered anyway). They plan on adding live streaming so I’m not sure where I’ll stand then but that’s for the future.

Now if I only actually had a computer at home that was working…. :/

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