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Joost ditches P2P client for the web

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Mostly harmless internet TV start-up Joost has decided to abandon its proprietory P2P application in favour of delivering video to browsers.

The new Joost will ape iPlayer in the UK and Hulu in the US by serving up telly via a slick interactive website, GigaOm reports. Unlike those big broadcaster efforts, it won't use Adobe's ubiquitous Flash, but rely on its own browser plug-in that will tap the P2P technology Joost has spent millions developing and implementing.

Launched by the Skype boys in a blaze of publicity early last year, the service was supposed to revolutionise online TV by offering a smorgasbord of international shows for free via an innovative download app. Early adopters rushed to install Joost, only to find it buggy, and content limited to two-year-old heats of The World's Strongest Man and second-rate nature documentaries.

Joost attempted to get European broadcasters to let it distribute their quality programming. Led by the BBC, none saw any reason to give expensively-produced content to a distrubution network with few viewers and fewer advertisers, however. The start-up decamped to the US earlier this year, huffing and puffing about TV industry intransigence.

Turning to the web seems unlikely to improve its fortunes. Whether via desktop app or browser, the biggest trouble for Joost remains that it doesn't carry any video worth watching.

When it appeared, Joost's technology for full-screen TV over the public internet seemed ahead of its time. With the TV industry increasingly ready and able to offer top shows direct to web viewers - on its own terms - its clear the time for a middle man will never arrive. ®

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