Last week, we wrote about the new attempt to invigorate video distribution, by mixing torrents with streaming video. Our piece piqued the interest of the leading TV-torrent distribution group , EZTV , and just a few hours ago, they launched a live-beta test of the technology for their ‘warez’.
TorrentFreak likes to be right there reporting important news, but it’s not that often that we are the catalyst for P2P developments. This, however, is one of those times. EZTV administrator ‘Novaking’ told TorrentFreak that the decision to start experimenting with Swarmplayer came after reading about the technology here last week, and it left him “intrigued”.
The Swarmplayer EZTV is experimenting with uses slightly modified torrent files (.tstream), which make it possible to stream video files using the BitTorrent protocol. This new technology allows publishers to offer video steams without having to pay for expensive bandwidth. Theoretically, you can watch all torrent files with the player but it’s recommended to use newer releases, as they often offer a higher swarm speed. Streaming the typical TV show will run to around 100kb/sec, a speed unattainable with their older television torrents due in part to the low peer numbers, as much as the larger piece size used in the pre-stream torrents.
Novaking isn’t too worried about the sequential piece transfer, and loss of the tit-for-tat impacting the speeds of the swarm for those not trying to stream. “The spread will be so wide in the first week,” he tells us, “that it won’t affect it greatly. Of course it’s impossible to tell until it’s fully live and working.” Currently, only their own torrents will be available via .tstream files, but the hope is that should the test prove successful during the next week, to have them for the torrents from their partner sites, such as MVgroup as well.
BitTorrent streaming is the ideal low-cost distribution model for online video. Here at TorrentFreak we have been testing out the Swarmplayer since its very early beta days with Mininova, and it does look to be a very promising development. However, the client does not (yet) have an option to keep a fully saved copy of the file on your system for later re-watching, and it also doesn’t allow you to change the port it uses. But these are minor issues that should be solved easily.
It is interesting to see that this multi-million dollar research project collaborates with torrent sites like Mininova, and mainstream broadcasters such as the BBC. Could this be the future of television? It is at least a possibility, and something for major networks to look at, as some already are (the BBC is a member of the group behind P2PNext, for example). EZTV’s Novaking certainly seems to think so. “We are hoping that TV networks start seeing this as a method to provide people with what they want”.