The creators behind the web based phone service Skype have launched Joost – which they claim is the world’s first broadcast quality internet TV service.

Skype gives internet TV a Joost

The online television service, formally known as The Venice Project, has been launched to enable broadcasters to transmit their content to a global internet audience. The team behind the project, which is still undergoing trials, claims that Joost provides a different service than that offered by existing internet television providers.

The service will be funded by advertising and free to the user, and so far thousands of people have downloaded the software after being invited to try it out. A selection of sports, documentaries and music programmes are available as a trial service, however, its creators claim that when the full launch takes place in the next few months there will be a much wider selection of content available to users.

“We are trying to replicate the complete television experience,” said chief executive Frederik de Wahl as he showcased the service in Joost’s London offices. “It’s full screen, broadcast quality, you’ve got instant channel flipping and interactivity – a viewer can come to us and get all their TV needs.”

However, far from having the market wrapped up, Joost will have to compete with a number of other firms offering similar services. BT Vision was launched in December and offers users video-on-demand through broadband, and Channel Four says it 4OD service will provide DVD-quality programmes available for download. Elsewhere, Babelgum is launching a service in March which uses peer-to-peer technology to stream video at near-TV resolution.

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