Duncan Riley has a post entitled Joost vs Babelgum, in which he compares Joost and Babelgum, two stupidly named applications that allow you to watch TV-like programs (and other lame content) on your computer. As you might imagine, I have a couple of questions.
First, why would I want to watch TV on my computer when I have an HD television connected to an HD DVR right here in this room? A TV that has hundreds of channels, as opposed to the crappy selection at Joost? I haven’t tried Babelgum, but if it’s the “poor man’s Joost,” I can’t imagine how bad it must be. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. See the recent video blogging rage where people upload home movies that even their moms would find horrifyingly boring.
Joost’s slogan is “a new way of watching TV.” That’s factually true, I suppose. But walking backwards could be branded as a new way of walking too. New doesn’t equal better. Or necessary.
And a couple of follow up questions. If I really wanted to watch TV-like programs on my computer, why wouldn’t I do it at YouTube, where the interface is logical and the selection epic? Or in the case of actual TV shows, at the network web sites?
And if I were going to waste hours making some video that no one wants to watch, why wouldn’t I simply upload it to YouTube and serve it from my web site, where I get the juice instead of Joost? More importantly, why would the content producers of content we actually want to watch donate all that juice to Joost when they could serve the content themselves? Let’s not forget, DirecTV was TIVO’s best friend until DVRs became mainstream. Then it kicked TIVO to the curb and did its own box. Joost and Babelgum, like TIVO, are too far downstream from the content producers to keep a grip on the content that matters. Once you get past that, you’re a homeless man’s YouTube.
People have been trying to push the rock up the convergence hill for years. Anyone remember the Yamaha RP U-100? I still use one, but the product line died on the vine (and store shelves) because people didn’t see the need to merge an audio receiver and a computer.
In sum, I just don’t get it. Do you?