Until late last week, if you wanted to use the potentially cable-TV-replacing video streaming service Joost, you had to have friends. But now anybody can watch Joost online from dusk until the dawn and beyond, because Beta 1.0 of the P2P (peer-to-peer) video service just hit the streets. The good news? The company's just about gotten it right after umpteen betas, and it's looking good. However, it remains to be seen whether Joost techies have figured out how to scale the network without crashing it. Hey, let's all pounce on it and see if it holds up! Take a look at a screen shot and our impressions, after the jump. On a fast 7Mbps broadband connection, Joost was running well this morning. Its interface is easy to learn, and the video plays back full screen and streams smoothly. The quality leaves something to be desired, though—it's not even at the level of standard definition, and certainly not high definition. There's also not quite enough content on hand, with offerings from a couple of big names such as CBS and CNN, but mostly second- and third-tier content sources.
Even though this beta 1.0 is still a bit rough around the edges, we could still see the tremendous potential of this format. It actually feels like television, but everything is streaming. If this network and others like it are completely built out to where they can actually stream near-HD quality video, we might be seeing people abandoning cable for it. But not yet. [Joost, via Ars Technica]