Peer to peer live streaming the next battlefield

From Torrentfreak

So as we near the 10th anniversary of BitTorrent its inventor Bram Cohen is finalizing a new protocol, this time aimed at P2P-live streaming. Although P2P-live streaming is not something new per se, Cohen thinks that his implementation will set itself apart from competitors with both its efficiency and extremely low latency.

“Doing live properly is a hard problem, and while I could have a working thing relatively quickly, I’m doing everything the ‘right’ way,” Bram Cohen told TorrentFreak last year when he announced his plans. He further explained that the BitTorrent protocol had to be redone to make it compatible with live streams, “including ditching TCP and using congestion control algorithms different from the ones we’ve made for UTP”

In the months that followed Cohen figured out most of this complex puzzle and the technology is now mature enough to show to the public.

The demo he shows is, well…ummm… underwhelming to say the least. But to be fair if 10 years ago someone said look this is BitTorrent watching it go. You’d also be scratching your head thinking is that all?

There’s no doubt streaming is due a massive. A lot of the rights owners think they can beat P2P downloads with the experience of streaming. They might even be right.

Streaming is certainly the next battlefield. Theres already some high profile projects in this area including P2PNext, but anything remotely like Bittorrent for P2P streaming could be huge. Talking to some of the engineers at work in BBC R&D, anything which can even the field between the costs per person of traditional broadcast and ip delivery could be truly paradigm shaping.

Is this it? I don’t think so, at least not yet.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.