The Venice Project screenshots

Posted on Sun 17 December 2006
A few days ago, the Venice Project (now Joost) entered its invitational beta phase. I'm a bit late on blogging and others already did it, but well, this project keeps you so busy... and this week was the Christmas party! (see pics on Flickr)

Participants to the closed beta have received a number or invitation token they can distribute to whoever they like. The number of invites is still very limited since the datacenter is not yet ready (should be up and running quite soon though), and seeding a P2P network needs a bit of infrastructure.

So you can apply for being a beta tester, or ask someone in the project team or current testers for an invite, but unfortunately you are likely to have to wait a bit before being able to see the thing for real. In the meantime, we cleared some screenshots with the content owners so that you can have a preview of what your next-generation TV will look like. The simple fact that we ensured to have permissions from the owners for screenshots show how much legally clean we want to be: content owners are our partners.

So here is what it looks like:

Main screen: the TV! The movie plays full screen, and when you move the mouse the basic controls appear. At bottom are the navigation controls and mini-EPG. At the left "My Channels" goes to your bookmarked channels. On the right "My Venice" brings all the community features. Finally, at the top, the current channel's logo opens the door to channel-specific overlays and plugins (see Lassie below).
Navigation controls and info about the current movie, the mini-EPG and the search engine.

These aren't visually separated enough in my opinion, meaning you sometimes confuse the EPG display and the current movie. But that'll be fixed.
Browsing "my channels" shows the list of the channels you bookmarked in the channel catalogue (no screenshot yet).
Choosing the Off The Fence channel brings the channel content, with infos about all content. Every movie is available instantly, when you want, without buffering nor download! It's TV I told you!
Information about another programme in the Off The Fence channel. Lovely pandas!
Clicking "My Venice" in the main screen brings the various plugins available. Show here are the chat room for the current channel, ratings and an RSS ticker. You can also log into your favorite Jabber account and chat with your friends, inviting them to watch that excellent documentary about sharks!
Good old Lassie is here! Ah, memories... This screenshot shows a channel-specific overlay, providing more information on the current movies, some interactive content, shopping, etc.

Technically, the client software is based on Mozilla, that brings portability (we'll have the Mac and Linux versions soon) and a nice component and plugin infrastructure, and the user interface is written in SVG, XUL and JavaScript, using RDF for all metadata, with loads of C/C++ underneath.

Next time, I'll talk about all the Java that powers the backend servers!

Synergy: one keyboard and mouse to rule them all

5 things you don't know about me