The broadband video service Joost has been struggling to keep up with demand after extending its pre-launch testing by allowing trial users to send unlimited invitations to others.

The Joost service opened for business on 1 May, allowing existing Joost beta testers to invite an unlimited number of users to sign up. However, many users have found the service temporarily unusable as its central servers strained under the demand.

Although based on a peer-to-peer assisted network which should theoretically enable it to scale to a virtually unlimited number of users, the dependency on servers in its distributed data centres has resulted in problems under the load of new users.

Joost chief executive Fredrik de Wahl said in a statement that the system had been flooded with demand, which was ultimately good news as it would make the system stronger. “It’s stumbling a bit,” he said, “whereas we’d like it to be sprinting”.

Joost continues to sign up programming providers for its global broadband video network. Turner is contributing top talk shows such as Larry King Live, although not its live news channels. Sony is adding classic shows like Charlie’s Angels and Starsky & Hutch.

The main focus appears to be on the American market and many shows will only be available in the United States for rights reasons. Joost says that it is enhancing its worldwide offering with the addition of international, regional and local partners on a continual basis.

The proof will be in the programming that Joost manages to aggregate. So far, some have been critical of the line-up, which looks a lot like a very basic cable television service.

Founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the creators of the Skype internet telephone service, Joost promises to provide the first online global television distribution platform. Many will be waiting with interest to see if it lives up to its promise.