Comcast invests in P2P TV company GridNetworks

Update: George Ou is not amused by this news. He writes: "Comcast is nothing but trouble for the entire industry.

Update: George Ou is not amused by this news. He writes: "Comcast is nothing but trouble for the entire industry. They sure seem to be going out of their way to help make sure that congress has the motive to add regulation to ban the sale of QoS to the rest of the industry."

Comcast is investing in Seattle-based GridNetworks, a "provider of managed Internet video delivery services," AP reports.

Here are the quotes, courtesy of the press release:

“The collaborative discussions with GridNetworks are timely as we are working hard with a number of technology companies, the IETF and other leaders in the field to improve the efficiency of P2P on ISP networks. We are interested in the application of P2P concepts in a manner that puts the quality of the consumer experience first, and enables lawful distribution of copyrighted content while also efficiently utilizing the network,” said Tony Werner, Comcast Chief Technology Officer. “GridNetworks has experience in this area and will have valuable contributions as we set out to solve these issues together with the Internet community.”

“GridNetworks has built a delivery platform in conjunction with a managed service that can specifically meet the business and technical requirements of both media companies and broadband service providers for SD and HD content,” said Tony Naughtin, President and CEO of GridNetworks. “We’re excited to contribute to this industry effort.”

What we can learn from this:
  • Comcast gets that P2P distribution is important and isn't going away.
  • BitTorrent doesn't address getting video from the Net to TV, which is the holy grail.
  • This has more to do with No. 2 than with what everyone will speculate about: that Comcast will now hobble BitTorrent in order to push users to Grid.
  • Comcast remains interested in addressing whether the bits that come across their network are violating copyright.

Here's what Grid says about their technology:

GridCasting is based on a hybrid set of technologies that include the GridCast Connector and Grid Network Control – a network-hosted system that orchestrates real-time service management and network-friendly video streams. Grid Network Control and GridCast Connectors work in tandem to ensure that millions of viewers can simultaneously watch television programming from Internet broadband connections without re-buffering or interruptions.

After a viewer makes a programming selection, television images are initially streamed or downloaded directly from Grid Network Control to ensure a HD-quality experience from the start. Within a few moments, Grid Network Control transfers the video streaming responsibilities to a virtual network of GridCast Connectors that are available at that time to complete the interaction. If a viewer seeks, fast- forwards, or changes channels, GridCast Network Control again automatically steps in to ensure the viewer continues to enjoy HD-quality Internet television.