BitTorrent seeks broadcasters to help develop live streaming tool

21 Nov 2012

BitTorrent has put the call out to qualified broadcasters and content creators to sign up to help build BitTorrent Live, which it believes is the next generation of live streaming.

Currently in beta mode, BitTorrent Live is a peer-to-peer live streaming protocol that has been built from scratch with users. Basically, BitTorrent wants to do for streaming what it has done for file sharing, knocking down the barriers to broadcasting and enabling people to distribute live video content to a wide audience without having to shell out for bandwidth or infrastructure to do so.

Just as with BitTorrent’s file-sharing principles, the more users that tune into BitTorrent Live, the better the stream as each viewer shares a piece of the video with other viewers. BitTorrent has been conducting tests with willing volunteers and claims to have achieved results with swarm sizes of a few thousand.

The service uses a UDP Screamer protocol to minimise delay in streaming, and video and audio are transmitted using the industry standard H.264 and AAC codecs.

Right now, BitTorrent Live is still very much in development and what’s available is for demonstration purposes only as end users don’t yet have the ability to run a video source. But the service is calling on interested content creators to give it a test drive and help further development, and, once the protocol is finalised, user-generated content will be allowed.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.