BitTorrent invites broadcasters to trial Live streaming service

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BitTorrent invites broadcasters to trial Live streaming service

Disruptive transmission ahead?

Peer-to-peer service BitTorrent is taking applications from broadcasters to trial the BitTorrent Live streaming protocol.

The protocol is promoted as enabling content creators to reach audiences of millions with "near-zero latencies and minimal infrastructure investment." 

BitTorrent Live was announced last year as a beta, and the streaming real-time P2P video service is seen by some industry observers as having the potential to distrupt and replace normal broadcast television.

The service uses the UDP internet protocol like the file sharing BitTorrent variant, and encodes video in high quality H.264 format and audio with the AAC codec.

"We’ve been conducting regular tests with users (props to our intrepid volunteers), and have achieved results at swarm sizes of a few thousand," BitTorrent said on its company blog.

Prior to the trial run for broadcasters, the US company made BitTorrent Live available as a tech demonstration only, and end users couldn't run video sources over it.

Mainly music demos have been broadcast over BitTorrent live

London-based Internet broadcaster Glenn Williams told iTNews that while BitTorrent was always going to be the best and most efficient way to broadcast to many, in Internet terms, "the horse has bolted a long time ago." 

"BitTorrent was set up to solve problems caused by slow connections and costly data storage but times have changed," Williams says.

"The one-to-many problem of Internet broadcasting has been solved by Ustream, LiveStream and other companies".

Even so, Williams would welcome a shake-up of the Internet broadcasting market as premium, advertisment-free versions of Ustream and similar players are priced out of reach for amateur users.

For BitTorrent Live to succeed, however, Williams believes it has to be simple for the end-user to click play without requiring software to be installed.

"It needs to work in the browser, mobile, smart TVs and set-top boxes," Williams said.

"If BitTorrent Live does that, and quickly, it would have an advantage over other solutions that use Adobe's Flash software".

BitTorrent is a hugely popular peer-to-peer file sharing protocol, designed by Bram Cohen in 2001, with hundreds of millions of users around the world.

It has become controversial as BitTorrent is used to share copyrighted works as well as legitimate material such as Linux distributions.

Rights holders have targeted BitTorrent users in mass lawsuits and many ISPs such as iiNet in Australia throttle the traffic generated by the protocol. 

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