Joost, a freeware application that lets you watch TV-on-demand on your computer, recently lifted its invite-only restriction. Now anyone can download and install it from their website! It’s available for Intel Macs and PCs running XP or Vista, and it has a small but interesting selection of international programming: a Chinese entertainment channel, Arabic movies, Nicaraguan baseball, Chilean rugby, even a channel dedicated to Bollywood. This isn’t just a TV replacement, though; Joost uses widgets to give viewers real-time access to discussion boards, news updates, and multi-party chats while you’re watching. Even more promising: Joost released an open API late in August, allowing programmers to build their own widgets and release them to the community.
The software, which comes from the creators of KaZaA and Skype, is based on a P2P model and is currently in beta status. The navigation is fairly intuitive, though, and finding shows to watch is simple. According to CNET News, Joost licensed a ton of Viacom programming – CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, etc – back in February, and while that can’t have been cheap, Joost plans on making its money via advertising revenue. I’m a bit skeptical at how long that will last, but if the success of Skype is any indication, this’ll be around (and free) for a while yet.[via lifehacker]