BitTorrent streaming is based on the BitTorrent protocol familiar to all, with – of course – some clever modifications to make streaming possible. BitTorrent Inc. offers their streaming solutions as an alternative to http streaming that websites like YouTube use at the moment. Because P2P streaming significantly lowers the costs for the content provider, it opens up the door to higher quality streams than we are used to now.
It works like this; the user who wants to watch a stream first has to install the BitTorrent DNA application, which is also bundled with the BitTorrent mainline client. When the user plays a BitTorrent accelerated stream it will not only download data, but also upload it to other people who are watching the same stream, similar to a regular BitTorrent download.
Some people have argued that BitTorrent Inc. would use the application (DNA) to let people seed content that they never agreed on downloading, for instance, to speed up the downloads from their entertainment network or sell the bandwidth to others.
However, BitTorrent Inc. CEO Ashwin Navin refutes this rumor and told TorrentFreak: “BitTorrent DNA only accelerates content that a user clicks on. It does not anticipate user wants, or pre-load a user’s PC with content they did not explicitly ask for (via an HTTP request from a webpage). Our terms for DNA require websites to disclose to users why and how DNA improves the experience for video, software, and games with P2P acceleration.”
BitTorrent Inc announced earlier this year that they will launch an ad-supported TV-network this fall. A TV-network powered by BitTorrent’s streaming servoce will have a great advantage compared to competing services, because it saves on resources, and keeps the bandwidth bills relatively low.
ISPs will probably not be happy with P2P streams, because it will increase the bandwidth their consumers are using – so it will cost them more money. The bandwidth war is not over yet.