Peer-to-peer technology pioneers Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis have renamed their new online TV service under development, 'Joost', and plan to open the gates to let more people test the software.

The video stream service, codenamed Project Venice, is now officially called Joost, the company's chief executive Fredrik de Wahl said Tuesday.

The service, which is currently being tested by a select group of users, will allow users to watch TV on their computers, in addition to offering web functions such as chatting and the ability to search and pull up programs on demand.

Joost also plans to give more people an opportunity to test its software when the company launches the 0.8 version shortly, de Wahl said.

A broad public release is planned for the first half of this year.

The Joost application, however, is a bandwidth blockbuster, which could pose a problem for internet users with a strict monthly limit on broadband usage. The service consumes an average 320MB of downloaded and 105MB of uploaded traffic for an hour's worth of TV viewing.

The 105MB per hour upload rate is almost equivalent to 256Kbps (bits per second), double the upload speed currently offered by many digital subscriber line (DSL) services in Europe.

In documentation provided to beta testers, Joost warned that the service "will exhaust a 1GB cap in 10 hours" and explains how they can exit the application to ensure it doesn't continue running once they've stopped watching.

In addition to its new Joost online video service, Zennström and Friis founded the Kazaa peer-to-peer music exchange and the Skype voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service.