Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Streaming torrents

This could be important and have a major impact on the video streaming industry. I experimented with streaming while downloading in the 2.1 beta of utorrent, and it sort of works. The feature is very useful, at least to know if a torrent is real or fake after only a few minutes. The real impact will be on video distribution, especially if the technology can be extended to live streaming.

From TorrentFreak:

uTorrent – the client of choice for most western BitTorrent users – has added the option to stream video files while downloading. With this new functionality, BitTorrent Inc. hopes to provide the ‘point-click-watch’ experience people have grown used to from their usage of streaming sites such as YouTube...

Spoiled by the many streaming video sites that have surged in popularity since YouTube’s launch in 2005, many people simply want to start watching instantly. To satiate this demand the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent has now added streaming support to the latest uTorrent beta release, which allows users to play video files while they are downloading.

Aside from streaming regular downloads, uTorrent’s parent company BitTorrent Inc. is also working on BitTorrent-powered live streams. BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen himself aims to develop a piece of code that is superior to all the other P2P-based streaming solutions on the market today.

From TorrentFreak's Bram Cohen To Deliver BitTorrent Live Streaming:

The online video streaming revolution has hugely increased the use of bandwidth by individual consumers. At the same time it’s also resulting in huge bandwidth bills for streaming sites such as YouTube.

Thus far the demand for video continues to grow, and it is even expanding to live video. To keep video services from collapsing and to save bandwidth costs, it seems almost inevitable that content providers will have to look at P2P-based streaming solutions. Last year we reported that CNN had experimented with a P2P-based live stream, and the Tribler research team has already shown that it’s possible to use BitTorrent to stream live footage.

There are currently a few dozen people working on P2P-based live streaming, and they are soon to be joined by Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent...

The article covers some technical issues and other torrent streaming projects like Tribler.

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