Home VeohTV Launches – Taking Direct Aim at Joost

VeohTV Launches – Taking Direct Aim at Joost

Dmitry Shapiro CEO of Veoh invited me to a
GoToMeeting webinar today to unveil a serious challenger in the Web TV market. VeohTV
Beta, subtly billed as a “Joost Killer”, is actually an amazing development in
online video viewing. The impetus for the Veoh TV service is characterized by a Veoh
slogan Dmitry related during the webinar: “Video Lives All Over the Web.”
This simple truth is demonstrated in the new VeohTV service’s approach to
aggregating and utilizing all types of video. VeohTV allows users access to virtually any
video with unparalleled functionality, quality and control from a very advanced viewing

VeohTV homepage

About Veoh

I originally reported on Veoh
back in February and several times since, and I have always been impressed with Veoh’s
somewhat different platform as compared to the other video sharing sites. The service is
a diverse suite for collecting, publishing and watching HD Quality video from a wide
range of sources. These Veoh services, in combination with the Veoh player, essentially
transform online video into a cinema experience for its users. Veoh started in 2004
out of the vision of CEO Dmitry Shapiro, and is backed by some of the most influential
technology investors in the world; including Spark Capital, Michael Eisner’s
Tornante Company, Time Warner Inc. and Shelter Capital Partners.

Open vs. Closed Systems

One of the paradigms of Web TV is revealed in comparing two distinct types of systems
for utilizing video content. Joost has been something
of a “poster child” and what many consider the best Internet TV service so
far. Regardless of how we might be inspired by this fantastic innovation Joost is, as
Dmitry described it, a “closed” system where programming and function are
essentially static. Veoh’s assertion for Web TV is hardcore open source and a
departure from the ideology that browser based applications are perfect for all services,
and in that it provides a platform where programming is determined wholly by the user.
Joost and other video services essentially attempt to utilize the browser, which is
really poorly designed to support quality video.

Put simply, Joost is a finite system where excellent programming can be viewed and
manipulated only to a slight degree, while the Veoh service I witnessed today allows
users comparatively limitless and diversified choices. As an example let me to illustrate
several features that differentiate a closed online TV service from an open one, and a
very good application from a killer one.

Advanced Features

Based on this preview of VeohTV users will experience superb performance from a single
interface; where searching, browsing and viewing Internet content has been made radically
simple. The downloadable VeohTV viewer essentially acts as a browser, but with video
player efficiency and speed. After installation, VeohTV launches immediately into a cable
TV type channel guide. Users are allowed to browse channels such as CBS, NBC, Road &
Track and many others in a similar way they might on their TV sets. With the advanced
interface, video is streamed either directly from the host site or delayed via a virtual
DVR aspect (your PC is your DVR). A simple connect to an HD TV renders all content
viewable remotely controllable on the big screen, and Veoh also has set top device
integration deals on the horizon. Below is an expanded list of features:

Channels – Browse for content by channel

Search – Keyword search for relevance from literally thousands of websites

Favorites – Subscribe to content from favorite TV shows, channels and producers
or download and store favorites

Recommended – Advanced recommendation engine suggests content from viewing
habits and preferences

Interact Mode – Interact with dozens of widgets while viewing content. Services
from Amazon, eBay, Gmail, Hotmail, Craigslist and Alexa are supported with others being
added continually.

VeohTV Channel Interface

Management of Quality

This service is a great innovation and aggregation of much of what we have seen across
several platforms so far this year. The VeohTV library utilizes drag-and-drop
functionality to organize and create playlists. The download capability emulates a DVR
function and can be set to automatically save preferred content. Essentially Veoh has
created an individual TV station for every user, but with the tools to mix and mash
content in just about any way they desire. I was particularly taken with the
“interaction” mode because of the ability to multi-task; and Dmitry illustrated a cool
aspect wherein a searched network could be followed with relevance via stock ticker or
other widget in real time. Finally, the quality of the player and the HD content is quite
excellent and video streams much more smoothly overall than during many of my visits to
Joost. VeohTV is true cinema quality, full screen video with all the features of home

Interactive Mode


Is it a Joost killer? Joost is an excellent company and I doubt they are quivering in
fear, but they are going to have to do some “Matrix like” bullet dodging in my opinion.
In comparing VeohTV to Joost there are a couple of areas where Joost still maintains an
apparent advantage. Joost content is obviously excellent and the quality of broadcasts
there is very stable, which illuminates one of VeohTV’s only real weaknesses – the
system is dependent on the quality of sometimes less than excellent online video. This is
not problematic with content  from NBC or other major networks, but the user’s “hands
on” filtering will determine a quality library. The ads were a major concern of mine and
I found Joost to be an early leader in upscale and unobtrusive advertising. Dmitry
reflected a rather perfect logic in response to this concern, in that VeohTV will be able
to target ads that will be relevant to individual users and therefore inherently less

Dmitry’s team has made an excellent innovation that seems to have left no stone
unturned. The beta testing of this service will be very limited initially and you can
sign up for an invitation here. We will also have a very limited number of invitations to
test VeohTV in the very near future and we will keep you advised on developments.

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