BitTorrent preps live streaming technology - make your own YouTube

BitTorrent preps live streaming technology - make your own YouTube

Summary: BitTorrent is trying to clean up its image and find commercial uses for its peer-to-peer file-sharing technology including a new streaming capability.


Earlier this week I attended a media roundtable at Boulevard in San Francisco with top executives from BitTorrent, which invented the popular file sharing technology that has about 80 million monthly users. I soke with Eric Klinker, CEO; Bram Cohen, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder; and Simon Morris, VP of Marketing and Product.

Here are some notes from the event:

- BitTorrent has been working on a live streaming technology for two years and now it is almost ready to be rolled out. The company expects to launch it by the end of this year. It is described as very robust. [I wonder if it could cut down on the practice of sharing illegally copied music or movies if you can watch content through live streaming. Also, you could effectively host your own YouTube, you wouldn't need to upload videos to a hosting site, you would be able to stream directly from your hard drive.]

- The company is trying to distance itself from the use of BitTorrent by those sharing files of illegally copied music and movies and show the commercial sector that it can be used to solve significant issues around distribution of large files across the entire Internet. It did consider changing its name.

- BitTorrent doesn't know very much about how people use its technology. It says it doesn't want to collect too much information because it doesn't want to encroach on user's privacy.

- It is looking into launching a service that helps connect like minded BitTorrent users. It has the capability to message each user.

- The BitTorrent technology is not very privacy-friendly because of the peer-to-peer connections it is easy for anyone to find out the IP addresses of people sharing a specific file. But using BitTorrent through a VPN connection does improve user privacy.

- BitTorrent this week launched an App platform and it is also working with artists to power a shared film festival, and also with TED to distribute videos.

- The company changed its protocol earlier this year to avert a problem in which ISPs were blocking BitTorrent file sharing because it was taking up too much bandwidth. The new protocol automatically detects if bandwidth is in short supply and slows down the transfer until more bandwidth is available. This can speed up file sharing because there is no blocking.

- The number of users has jumped from 20 million monthly two years ago to as much as 100 million during some months. Much of this growth has come from emerging economies, such as Russia, where more than 50% of Russian males between the age 18 to 34 years use BitTorrent.

- BitTorrent "democratizes the Internet and brings the 'cloud' to the edge."

I was impressed with the BitTorrent team and I see the technology as almost a fundamental part of the Internet infrastructure. It solves many key problems in terms of moving large data files, such as high res video, between Internet users. There are many legitimate uses -- not the piracy that some BitTorrent users are involved in.

The clever approach to making sure that BitTorrent files do not tie up vast amounts of Internet bandwidth shows that the company is striving hard to be a good citizen and improve the usefulness of its technology.

Topics: Browser, Social Enterprise

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  • Time to deal with the elephant in the room

    If anything is displayed as video/film or played as audio, then you can copy it (from low quality cameras to high quality encodes).

    If it can be copied, then it will be on the Internet almost immediately and then is available to any Torrent user on the planet.

    Any form of copy protection will not work as long as we have any form of broadcast/dvd/cable. If our eyes can see it and our ears can hear it, then we can copy it.

    Virtually every TV channel and cable provider now offers Internet access to just aired episodes and if I do decide to download anything through a torrent, then all I'm doing is time shifting. As I have cable and broadcast tv, virtually every show that becomes available on a torrent will be available legally either next week or in a month or so.

    The content creators need to accept that everything will be copied. It's time for some creative ideas about how to make some revenue out of the reality rather than trying to put a very small finger into a very large hole in the dike.
    • RE: BitTorrent preps live streaming technology - make your own YouTube

      Gotta agree with what Tony says here, that's the reality; and my own use of Torrent is just that, time-shifting to a more convenient time and/or place.

      I will say though, that the beautiful XVID files of TV shows are better quality and commercial-free vs. the usual ways of recording.
    • RE: BitTorrent preps live streaming technology - make your own YouTube

      Good luck to you! <a href="">replica hermes</a>
  • RE: BitTorrent preps live streaming technology - make your own YouTube

    I guess since nobody uses StreamTorrent which has been doing this for a while now BitTorrent had to come out with it. Hmm.
  • Great...

    Queue the thousands of middle-aged fat guys jerking off on their webcam. Now they'll have options beyond Yahoo Chat.
  • Streaming from my hard drive?

    Its unlikely that streaming from a single hard drive will be possible unless your upload speed is very high; BitTorrent uses 'bits' of a file coming from all over the place (different machines) and even with this, it takes a while to receive a full file. A single home computer on a consumer-class connection (within the USA) is unlikely to be able to keep up with the required uploads of a stream. If you want to stream your own content, its likely that you'll need a community to share your videos so that everyone can shove their 'bits' of the video into a 'torrent' of data. Hence, the name.
  • RE: BitTorrent preps live streaming technology - make your own YouTube

    Hey tom, I have find a way to keep my privacy while I?m streaming, it?s You can give your friend a login and password, and then only authenticated people could access to your streaming player.
  • RE: BitTorrent preps live streaming technology - make your own YouTube


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  • be anonymous

    the only reliable solution to be anonymous on the web is to use a VPN service. (find one on ) It allows you to hide your real IP. If you're downloading torrents, you will protect your online privacy and your ISP can't know what you are doing.
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