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By Matt Mondok | Published: July 05, 2007 - 09:02PM CT

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Sometimes it seems like Microsoft just can't be happy with improving its current software lineup. Instead, the company feels the need to reinvent, or flat-out buy, what someone else has already done. Although some of these ventures are duds (think OneCare), others work out very nicely (think Windows Defender). In its most recent effort to reinvent and polish the wheel, Microsoft has announced what could be called the "Joost killer," although the company formally refers to it as LiveStation.

Using LiveStation, PC users can watch live, uninterrupted television from the comfort of their computer chairs. Co-developed with a London-based company known as Skinkers, the Microsoft Research team has created a way to stream live television over a peer-to-peer network and use Silverlight to display multimedia content on the client's system. "This product allows you to steam live television on a computer over a peer-to-peer network, which means you don't need to use all the traditional server infrastructure and bandwidth associated with streaming," said Matteo Berlucchi, co-founder of Skinkers.

Since Joost already does free, streaming television with plenty of extra features, why would Microsoft even bother to go down this road? The answer is simple: because it is taking streaming video one further by offering presumably free, live content. In a video demo, Berlucchi also notes that LiveStation will be easily modified to work with mobile devices.

Though the demo video doesn't show much except some live content from the BBC, this service definitely sounds promising. If Microsoft can get in bed with the right content providers, then LiveStation certainly could be a Joost killer. If nothing else, LiveStation will at least help ensure that Silverlight is installed on thousands of PCs across the world, meaning that it could also be an accessory to the company's Flash killer.

Currently, Microsoft is taking beta applications, but the LiveStation site warns you up front that only a few people will be chosen as testers. Get in while it's hot!
[Source: Ars Technica]
 
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