BitTorrent announced a new streaming service today at SXSW. BitTorrent Live enables anyone to stream live video to a worldwide audience from a phone or through a computer.
People use BitTorrent technology every day to both legally and illegally share files. The film and recording industries hate the technology and blame it for piracy, but the company’s purpose has always been to increase the efficiency of content delivery on the Web.
BitTorrent technology reduces bandwidth costs, and, in contrast to technology preferred by traditional media companies, the more people downloading a file using BitTorrent, the faster the file is delivered.
BitTorrent Live brings that scaling to live video streaming, and, just like with static files, the more people watching a video streamed through BitTorrent Live, the better the live streamed video will be.
The peer-to-peer protocol has been designed to make “real-time reporting, and open expression accessible to all. It eliminates bandwidth, cost, and distribution infrastructure as things that keep people from producing live video.
Inventor Bram Cohen said in a blog post, “We’ve demonstrated scaling and improved stability during our invite-only period, and are excited to open our service up to anyone who wants it.”
There are other good companies that make it possible for anyone to stream live video over the internet. Ustream.TV is one of the leaders. It’s used extensively when protesters want to get their message out to the world. Ustream CEO Brand Hunstable is an advocate for citizen journalism. During protests in Russia’s Occupy movement last year Ustream was taken down with denial of services attacks.
“We felt that it was time and sort of our duty to say that this isn’t right. And we’re not gonna back down. If you wanna keep attacking us, keep attacking us. We’re not gonna back down.” Hunstable said in a conversation with Brandon Bowlin. “And if the U.S. government wants to help us — great. If Google wants to help us — great. If no one wants to help us, that’s fine, too … This is something we believe in at our core as a company and we’re gonna continue to realize what our vision is.”
Because of the way BitTorrent Live streams are distributed, a government unhappy about what’s being broadcast wouldn’t have the power to attack the stream the way they did with Ustream last year so it has an advantage for use in citizen journalism.
Bit Torrent Live can be used to stream any kind of event users want to stream. You might stream a wedding to friends and family who can’t attend, or a huge concert, or a church service. All the ways the service will be used have yet to be imagined. You could even start a talk show and stream it live from bed.
You can sign up for the open Beta at live.bittorrent.com.