Babelgum, the P2P streaming TV service, has announced the launch of its public beta.

Babelgum  

Babelgum is very similar to rival P2P service Joost – in both cases the streaming TV service is free to view, and both companies have secured plenty of financial backing. Joost launched with $45m in financing, while $13.2m has been invested in Babelgum so far.

You can choose to view Babelgum in a window or full screen. Controls pop up when you move your mouse, which includes a ‘remote’ for changing channels or volume, as well as options to view channel and program info, organise bookmarked videos and change your settings.

Babelgum menu

The interface is broadly similar to Joost’s, and the picture quality is equally good on both services.

One difference is that Babelgum has a feature that autoatically creates programming for you according to your expressed tastes and interests. All you have to do is select from a collection of tags, and Babelgum will create a custom channel from your choices.

Having started earlier, Joost has the edge on its rival in terms of content - it has made deals with major providers like Viacom, Endemol and Warner Music.

Babelgum has taken a different approach to content, and is looking for contributions from independent producers. It is launching an upload platform for this purpose, and independent producers will be offered a share of ad revenues for their content.

In the long run, if Babelgum can attract some quality independent content, this could make for more interesting viewing than the old MTV shows and documentaries on Joost.

At the moment though, Joost is further ahead, having a far bigger range of content, as well as having already got some big advertisers on board.