BitTorrent Live uses P2P to make broadcasting easier, cheaper

By on March 12, 2013, 10:39 AM

BitTorrent has officially taken the wraps off a new broadcasting service that draws its main strength from its namesake peer-to-peer protocol, so the video stream becomes more and more stable as more people tune in -- instead of the other way around. Available as a public beta, the company says BitTorrent Live is designed to deliver high quality video to large audiences, while significantly reducing complexity in the process.

Setting up a professional live video stream isn’t all that expensive these days for mid- and large-size websites, with rented servers or services like Ustream and Livestream. You can even opt for a free ad supported tier if that’s all you need. But costs start to add up and concurrent viewers may hit a ceiling as the audience grows.

BitTorrent Live promises to eliminate bandwidth, cost, and infrastructure as broadcast barriers so that anyone with mobile video or webcams, at any moment, can launch a feed and start reporting in real time.

The company says it has been testing the protocol as part of a closed beta program since November 2012, partnering up with a number of digital creators and broadcasters. According to BitTorrent creator and chief science officer Bram Cohen, they’ve demonstrated scaling and improved stability during this period.

BitTorrent has set up a few example channels for anyone to test the service out. There’s no sign up involved to start watching a stream but you’ll have to download a small Mac, Windows or Ubuntu app.

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