Miro Internet TV Blog

Why Miro is Better than Joost

October 31st, 2007 by Nicholas Reville

Miro is better than Joost

With the release of Miro Public Preview 3, we feel ready to be held up next to any competition. The company with the most hype right now is Joost. To help prove our point, I put together a chart that details why we think Miro is a better product, better for the internet, and better for creators: Miro vs. Joost Comparison.

Simply put, I don’t think Joost can compete with a world-class open player and I think we’ll have more users than they do by January. I think we may already have more active users than they do– despite vastly more media coverage, Joost.com is only a little bit more popular than GetMiro.com according to Alexa. I think Miro users are telling their friends and Joost users are trying once and giving up.

A little background: Joost is an internet video application from the people that developed Skype (now owned by eBay). It’s an extremely closed system, with only certain, mostly traditional, publishers being given access. Users can only stream content and everything is locked down with DRM. Joost is trying to build their own proprietary tunnel through the internet.

Why would a company like Joost want to make an internet application that’s so restrictive? Because if they are successful, they will control both creators and viewers. Creators will have to sign a contract with Joost if they want to reach Joost’s audience. Being in the middle of a transaction is a good way to make money. But building a gatekeeping system for internet TV is a terrible direction for the future of media.

In contrast, Miro is an extremely open system. The software is open-source and can be modified by anyone. Anyone can publish to Miro and nothing comes through our servers. Like a web browser, the connection happens directly between the viewer and the creator. We don’t even lock-down the content guide– anyone can create an alternative channel guide for Miro.

But openness isn’t just important for social reasons. Miro’s openness makes it a better product. In the same way that web was more exciting than closed dial-up networks like Prodigy and AOL, Miro embraces the internet sandbox in a way that makes internet TV a whole lot more interesting. Miro has way more channels that Joost ( 2.600 compared to 250) and because it’s a gatekeeper-free system, you can connect to many more that we don’t even list in our guide. Just like the web compared to AOL, there’s more crappy content but there’s also more good content. You don’t have to worry about the crap– just search for what you like.

Joost has had a ton of hype, mostly because the people who made it got so rich when they sold Skype and the press wants to see if they can do it again. But when you look at what’s there, Joost is a pretty dull product. Their content selection is mediocre and their user base has grown much more slowly than you would expect given the amount of attention they’ve received. Joost simply isn’t very interesting to watch.

We think Miro’s better and I expect that the strength of our product and the passion of our users is going to far outshine the Joost hype.

20 Responses to “Why Miro is Better than Joost”

  1. [...] le web” apparemment dans la même catégorie mais au philosophie ectrêment différentes. Ce post de Nicolas Reville, un des initiateurs de Miro l’explique assez bien. Sa comparaison sous [...]

  2. PhoenixP3K says:

    All the points you made are very valid. However I still see Miro as an aggregator of online content, bringing all the videos freely available on the web into a single interface. I use Joost from time to time whenever I’ve watched all the podcasts I’d watch on Miro.

    I believe their purpose is very different and Miro can elevate itself without having to use Joost as a stepping stone.

    Joost is made to be like an on-demand (paid by ads) provider. It’s locked down because of it’s business model.
    Miro has a totally different model and is decentralized.

    I love them both and would hate to see a feud between the two.

  3. FabulousGeek says:

    I’d have to agree with PhoenixP3K. Miro and Joost are very different because they are both trying to acheive very different goals. Joost has a very specific thing it’s trying to do, and that’s good for them. Miro is trying to do something completely different, but also very good.

    Neither one should say they are better than the other since they are trying to do separate things.

  4. Matt Hendry says:

    Nicolas I think Miro is a great agregator of content but Joost is in a different market I wouldn’t even compare or worry about them if i where you, also Joost is going into the Live TV Market next year as well as On demand offerings .

  5. Hugh Cowan says:

    The one thing alone that makes Miro better then Joost for me is Linux support. For this I thank Miro!!

  6. Robert Baldock says:

    I don’t understand why Miro have come up with this childish “we’re better than you” argument against Joost.

    As others have pointed out, Miro and Joost aren’t actually the same kind of application. You might as well say “Miro is better than Word”. I use both Miro and Joost – but for quite different things. One is about subscribing to particular channels and choosing which (commercially- and non-commercially-produced) content to watch. The other is more like conventional TV where you can flick between channels to find high quality, commercially-produced content to watch.

    I can understand why the people behind Miro might be frustrated at the greater attention being given to Joost but coming out with this “we’re better than you” argument is not the way to deal with it.

    It’s unlikely that an organisation such as yourselves, funded largely by donations, is going to be able to compete with one that must have many 000s of dollars at its disposal. So you’ll have to come up with other means by which the word is spread.

    For example, Miro has been around much longer history than Joost and I imagine over this time has built up a much larger fan-base. If your supporters continue to use Miro and continue to see improvements in the app, they will happily spread the word. Why not come up with some ways to encourage users to do more of that?

    I’m sure there are other positive marketing activities you guys can come up with too to help get this message out there without resorting to negative campaigning. On a specific point, you say in the comparison chart that you have “zero dollars” for marketing. You are getting money from donations though – what’s happening to that? Can’t some of it be used for marketing?

    And on that comparison chart, it’s pretty meaningless to compare two apps that aren’t actually trying to do the same thing. A much more useful comparison chart would be one that compares Miro with other podcast aggregators out there such as Veoh, FireAnt, iTunes etc.

    I personally think Miro *is* the best of its class (and, although I don’t think the comparison is useful, I do happen to use it much more than Joost). But I’m disappointed to see the people behind it engaging in this feeble and mis-directed bit of mud-slinging.


  7. Nicholas Reville says:


    I appreciate these thoughts. Here’s how I see things.

    Joost is seeking to become the primary internet television of the future. They have some mainstream content and a little bit of independent content and are working to get more. Many of the companies that have deals with Joost also publish video RSS feeds of one kind or another– lots of organizations are experimenting right now, because the future of online video is still unclear. But if Joost gains momentum and becomes the dominate internet video player, they will start to demand and receive more exclusive relationships. This means that they will become a sole distribution method for a lot of content and that content will become locked into a fundamentally closed, restrictive, and exclusive system. It’s a dangerous direction.

    The future of internet video is being played out as we speak. If closed systems like Joost win, then open access, fair use, and consumer control will disappear. Just think about how closed and restrictive the American cell phone industry is compared to the internet– do we want internet TV to head in the same direction?

    I think it’s crucial for us to continue draw the distinction between closed and open systems– not because we want to beat Joost for the sake of winning– but because people need to know about the dangers of proprietary models before it’s too late to do anything about it.

    Pushing internet video in an open direction is, to a large extent, the mission of the Miro project.


  8. Lukas Blakk says:

    Joost’s content is indeed boring – I’ve not gone too deep into investigating what’s available but on the surface it’s kind of like the “straight to DVD” of internet video.

    I hope that Miro’s message can get out without looking childish or “us vs. them” because I believe it’s important for the content creators to not be in exclusive deals/contracts with mega-providers like Joost. There has to be a model that allows creators and distributors to make money – maybe not huge 000′s but at least cover costs and perhaps a small profit – without sacrificing open content, source, access, player usage, etc.

  9. Moochie says:

    I agree with what most have said — Miro and Joost are two different apps. I doubt Joost will do much business here in Australia due to the fact that the rights to most of their “premium” content have already been snapped up by local free-to-air channels and cable. The rest of their stuff is largely mediocre and not worth seeing, IMO.

    Miro, OTOH, provides access to a lot of stuff I want to see, such as the many tech-related podcasts out there, most of which I watch every week. I might run Joost once every three or four months just to see what’s on (not much :) ).

    Keep up the good work., and don’t worry about Joost.

    Best wishes from Australia,


  10. freechelmi says:

    thanks for this post, I think it’s good to talk about competition, as VOIP SIP softphones have to compare to skype. .

    As today I can”t stand people telling me , call me on Skype, I won’t like either people talking about the last shit broadcasted on Joost.

    Let’s take good ideas of joost and make Miro better !

    I disagree about quality , Joost uses coreavc chich is twince faster than x264, you can beat them only if x264 improves and if people publish.

    Anyway I saw people telling miro is different from Joost as it does not do LiveTV. this is only because LivePlaying is not coded Yet, But with 500kbits bitrate content , most people wil be able to watch it. And even x264 encoded at this bitrate can look like DVD quality.

    So keep up the good work !

  11. [...] Foundation have created an overview to underline the differences between joost and miro. They also posted an article about why they think that miro is better than joost. Why would a company like Joost want to make an [...]

  12. mark says:

    Just got a link about the new beta in my email. Never been a regular user of Miro but after reading your blog I’ve put Miro in my dock and I intend to make sure I use it.
    (and recommend it to my friends!)

    Keep up the good work, the 11 people at Miro!


  13. [...] How is Miro different from Joost? For starters, Miro has 2,500 unrestricted (DRM-free) channels, and is an open platform. Here’s an interesting comparison chart posted on the official blog. [...]

  14. [...] all the attention. But is it really true that Joost is “a pretty dull product,” as the Miro blog laments? We’re not so certain about that. Sure, Joost has its shortcomings, but it also has some [...]

  15. [...] been getting all the attention. But is it really true that Joost is “a pretty dull product,” as the Miro blog laments? We’re not so certain about that. Sure, Joost has its shortcomings, but it also has some pretty [...]

  16. Craig says:

    I believe it is only appropriate for Miro to release a blow-by-blow comparison against Joost. To some people this may be regarded as mudslinging, but to me this is done only to inform the public and reemphasize Miro’s mission (which is counter to that of Joost). The two are different in some aspects, but are similar in many – so the comparison is valid and not in any way childish. Notice that although Google is primarily a search and advertising company it is Microsoft’s main competitor; thus although at first glance Joost is distinct from Miro, the two will slowly emerge as direct competitors – to some they already are. Consider a publisher, will he be working exclusively with Joost or release a video feed that is accessible through Miro?

    I think Miro’s answer to Joost, and this is already in development to implementation phase is Miro Player Co-Branding. By doing this Miro will earn through licensing and support, hence more funds for development. But more importantly the publisher or the organization doing the co-branding will have more control on the distribution of his content.

    For people with similar sentiments as Robert Baldock above, you may appear “mature” in labeling this comparison or blog post as mud-slinging but upon careful inspection what emanates is your lack of foresight.

  17. [...] idea behind this is that Joost is bad for creators, bad for viewers and bad for the Internet. A blog post by the executive director of the PCF, Nicholas Reville, explain in more detail why Miro is the [...]

  18. worx??? says:

    I personally would be happy if miro would just work as expected. The aggregator is cool, but it has so many bugs and is so totally anti-ergonomic. I think that you made the wrong decision regarding the underlying technology – now you haw to deal with that moz-bloat and still have not all the widgets needed for a comfortable interface. You should use wxwidgets or even with java you would get something better. R