AfterDawn: Tech news

BitTorrent software to power Hollywood downloads

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 09 Oct 2007 5:54 User comments (15)

BitTorrent software to power Hollywood downloads BitTorent Inc. announced a deal to license their new BitTorrent DNA Streaming video service to Brightcove, a company that distributes video over the internet from sources like MTV, Fox Entertainment, and CBS. Earlier this year, BitTorent opened their own online store powered by the technology.
Although the BitTorent file sharing protocol has become synonymous in many people's minds with piracy, it's also used to legally distribute things like Linux disc images and free MP3s. Brian Cohen, creator of the BitTorrent technology, says he's been trying to find a way to use it for commercial purposes for years. He believes BitTorrent DNA is such a product.

As streaming video and audio become more common, content providers are constantly looking for new ways to deliver it at a reasonable price, and the cost of bandwidth is no small part of the picture. By using P2P technology, companies can provide licensing for content, while their customers help provide bandwidth by sharing the downloaded content among themselves.

According to BitTorrent President Ashwin Navin, most companies spend more than $0.20 per hour to stream video, making it a money losing venture. BitTorrent DNA lowers costs by allowing files to also be downloaded from other customers' computers.

"It uses your computer in a way that's very polite. When you're downloading something you're also uploading something," said Navin. "Users are aware of that when they read the user agreement when they download the BitTorrent (software) client."

For years there have been some who have championed P2P technology for exactly this kind of thing. The EFF, for example, outlined a music licensing system that would allow consumers to access a company's entire music catalog and share them on a closed P2P network to keep piracy concerns down. Recently, music label executives have also been publicly talking about similar plans being considered.

Ironically, this might change BitTorrent from the entertainment industry's scapegoat to their savior.

Source: Reuters

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15 user comments

19.10.2007 6:39

His name is Bram, not Brian.

29.10.2007 6:57

If you can't beat'em...Join'em.

Now comes more Industry rules and guidlines on how BitTorrent should be used.

39.10.2007 15:32

Originally posted by MightyOne:
If you can't beat'em...Join'em.


well said

410.10.2007 7:57

The big torrent dilemma. How to keep torrents alive. You're going to need people who will seed after completion. As many of you know, there are many different rules for many private trackers. Is Hollywood going to start banning leechers who don't do this? Heck, unless your part of a private community what would be the incentives to seed past completion for something you already paid for? The average user who wants legit movie downloads probably doesn't want to leave his/her PC on and use bandwidth to help Hollywood save $.20/hour. And that's how torrents die. Imagine an official movie site where you pay for a movie download and then have to go above and beyond what you pay for. Imagine buying a product with the stipulation that you had to linger in the store to make it look like business was booming. Or buying a movie ticket with the same stipulation after the movie was over. And what if the user decides to cap his/her upload to 5k, because they want to be able to browse the internet or do something else online. Bittorrent is only as good as the community and the people sharing. You have to want to share.

It might work for those who are new to bittorrent, but may not for those who are bittorrrent veterans. But then again, I can't see a bittorrent veteran even considering this as an option. Most have probably moved on to other means to obtain what they need, because they never had any intention to go this route in the first place :-P

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Oct 2007 @ 8:13

510.10.2007 9:28

they could run a automated server system that has 3-15 seeds on it limited to 10-50KBS a pop, its doable anyone want to try and speculate in more detail on how they would do it?

610.10.2007 12:58
duckNrun
Inactive

Currently you can stream content for free from the networks. They have many shows on their lineup available with a few 30 second ads for a single product during the viewing.

Based upon this I am unsure that the idea is to charge consumers for the content as opposed to reducing the cost to the networks for providing the content they currently stream; although I would think that these adverts would be charged more than 10 cents per half hour show (20 cents an hour) but then I really don't know their revenue scale.

But I agree that no one is going to hang out on CBS.com (et. al.) just so that they can remain part of the hive.

Also, with BT you are sharing what you have downloaded so how would this work with streamed content? Currently that is all you do with the networks content-- stream it. The option to download it for later viewing is not available as far as I have seen-- at least not directly from the networks home pages.

I have no interest in buying this content, and am happy to stream it on the rare occasion that I miss an episode I was wanting to see. I hope that they continue to offer this free service to those who are interested.

710.10.2007 13:12

Originally posted by duckNrun:
Currently you can stream content for free from the networks. They have many shows on their lineup available with a few 30 second ads for a single product during the viewing.

Based upon this I am unsure that the idea is to charge consumers for the content as opposed to reducing the cost to the networks for providing the content they currently stream; although I would think that these adverts would be charged more than 10 cents per half hour show (20 cents an hour) but then I really don't know their revenue scale.

But I agree that no one is going to hang out on CBS.com (et. al.) just so that they can remain part of the hive.

Also, with BT you are sharing what you have downloaded so how would this work with streamed content? Currently that is all you do with the networks content-- stream it. The option to download it for later viewing is not available as far as I have seen-- at least not directly from the networks home pages.

I have no interest in buying this content, and am happy to stream it on the rare occasion that I miss an episode I was wanting to see. I hope that they continue to offer this free service to those who are interested.
"paying for content" aside, how to create a automated private tracker that can handle ratios and speed limits and what not is more interesting to me.

810.10.2007 14:22

Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
they could run a automated server system that has 3-15 seeds on it limited to 10-50KBS a pop, its doable anyone want to try and speculate in more detail on how they would do it?
I'm sure it's doable. Just doesn't seem practical. I guess before I make any more judgements, I would have to know more details about the streaming aspect of it. It seems more like a "seed until the movie is over" kind of deal, in which case they can probably accurately calculate the load on their dedicated server(s) per movie, and calculate how many dedicated seeders they would need to offer a seamless stream, maybe based on popularity of the show or movie. So it probably wouldn't need a ratio system, per say. But a ratio system could be used to give people an incentive to keep their pipes open. Credits towards future streams, etc. If someone already had S-Video out on their PC to their TV, it could be nice. Start playing a movie or TV show immediately. Just some thoughts.

910.10.2007 15:38

Quote:
Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
they could run a automated server system that has 3-15 seeds on it limited to 10-50KBS a pop, its doable anyone want to try and speculate in more detail on how they would do it?
I'm sure it's doable. Just doesn't seem practical. I guess before I make any more judgements, I would have to know more details about the streaming aspect of it. It seems more like a "seed until the movie is over" kind of deal, in which case they can probably accurately calculate the load on their dedicated server(s) per movie, and calculate how many dedicated seeders they would need to offer a seamless stream, maybe based on popularity of the show or movie. So it probably wouldn't need a ratio system, per say. But a ratio system could be used to give people an incentive to keep their pipes open. Credits towards future streams, etc. If someone already had S-Video out on their PC to their TV, it could be nice. Start playing a movie or TV show immediately. Just some thoughts.
IT dose need a automated system to manage bandwidth and seeding, "ratios" come in more for paying costumers,if you are paying you get better speeds and what not, adverts will only cover so much of it.

1010.10.2007 18:36

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
they could run a automated server system that has 3-15 seeds on it limited to 10-50KBS a pop, its doable anyone want to try and speculate in more detail on how they would do it?
I'm sure it's doable. Just doesn't seem practical. I guess before I make any more judgements, I would have to know more details about the streaming aspect of it. It seems more like a "seed until the movie is over" kind of deal, in which case they can probably accurately calculate the load on their dedicated server(s) per movie, and calculate how many dedicated seeders they would need to offer a seamless stream, maybe based on popularity of the show or movie. So it probably wouldn't need a ratio system, per say. But a ratio system could be used to give people an incentive to keep their pipes open. Credits towards future streams, etc. If someone already had S-Video out on their PC to their TV, it could be nice. Start playing a movie or TV show immediately. Just some thoughts.
IT dose need a automated system to manage bandwidth and seeding, "ratios" come in more for paying costumers,if you are paying you get better speeds and what not, adverts will only cover so much of it.
I was assuming that anyone using this would have to be a paying customer. It doesn't seem like you are actually downloading the movie to your HDD though. More like using a hybrid form of bittorrent used to share bandwidth. Once the movie is over, it's probably non-existent on the customers HDD. But if a movie is two hours long, then that is 2 hours of dedicated bandwidth for the customer to share with other customers. Not sure how that would handle obscure movies. More people might want to watch 2007's "Transformers" than 1988's "Big" with Tom Hanks.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Oct 2007 @ 18:39

1111.10.2007 14:44
wicche
Inactive

You fools. Is it not obvious that this is nothing less than misdirection on hollywood's part? It may seem like a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" situation. BUt the real motivation for hollywood is the complete control of bit torrent. And it will happen with the help of hollywood's buddies in Wahshington D.C.

1211.10.2007 15:10

Originally posted by wicche:
You fools. Is it not obvious that this is nothing less than misdirection on hollywood's part? It may seem like a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" situation. BUt the real motivation for hollywood is the complete control of bit torrent. And it will happen with the help of hollywood's buddies in Wahshington D.C.
There's nothing special about bittorrent anymore. They are already half way there with owning it. For the most part, it's already too risky to use. This article is more interesting in terms of how the technology may be implemented. It would be foolish to not yet have moved on to a new means of downloading by now.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Oct 2007 @ 15:12

1319.10.2007 12:44

Originally posted by wicche:
You fools. Is it not obvious that this is nothing less than misdirection on hollywood's part? It may seem like a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" situation. BUt the real motivation for hollywood is the complete control of bit torrent. And it will happen with the help of hollywood's buddies in Wahshington D.C.
wicche has point.

Although Bram cam up with a genious idea here...its known more for a piracy tool than not. Should hollywood come aboard with a legit purpose, they will soon "control" how its used and its rules...which was what i was getting to in the 2nd post, 2nd line.

They easily could be "Joining" for exactly what wicche is saying. That is kind of depressing once u ponder the what the results could be.

Another note. Alot of ISPs cap your monthly bandwidth. Who's gonna want to pay extra per meg for this kind of data. U might as well just go rent it. I'm unlimited up and down...but i joined my ISP 10 years ago. That "plan" is no longer available. Services like this could be a goldmine in bandwidth charges for the ISP.

This whole scenario will not be concrete for some time in my opinion as many avenues must be explored to make it worthwhile in all aspects.
Gotta start somewhere i guess.

1419.10.2007 12:49

Quote:
Originally posted by wicche:
You fools. Is it not obvious that this is nothing less than misdirection on hollywood's part? It may seem like a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" situation. BUt the real motivation for hollywood is the complete control of bit torrent. And it will happen with the help of hollywood's buddies in Wahshington D.C.
wicche has point.

Although Bram cam up with a genious idea here...its known more for a piracy tool than not. Should hollywood come aboard with a legit purpose, they will soon "control" how its used and its rules...which was what i was getting to in the 2nd post, 2nd line.

They easily could be "Joining" for exactly what wicche is saying. That is kind of depressing once u ponder the what the results could be.

Another note. Alot of ISPs cap your monthly bandwidth. Who's gonna want to pay extra per meg for this kind of data. U might as well just go rent it. I'm unlimited up and down...but i joined my ISP 10 years ago. That "plan" is no longer available. Services like this could be a goldmine in bandwidth charges for the ISP.

This whole scenario will not be concrete for some time in my opinion as many avenues must be explored to make it worthwhile in all aspects.
Gotta start somewhere i guess.
Not alot of people read the fine print.

1521.10.2007 17:44

Quote:
Ironically, this might change BitTorrent from the entertainment industry's scapegoat to their savior.
I think this sums it up really nicely. :)

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