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BitTorrent’s New P2P Protocol Could Fix the Internet’s Shoddy Streaming Video Quality

photo of Franco Iacomella

Franco Iacomella
22nd January 2012


Streaming video over the Internet is one of the most important telecommunication developments in the last decade. Problem is, doing so needs a massive system architecture to support it and the feed is often riddled with lag. A new protocol from BitTorret’s founder is aiming to change all that.

Conventional video streaming—through, say, YouTube or Netflix—eats up network resources because each user is pulling in their own individual feed. The live peer-to-peer streaming protocol created by BitTorrent founder and chief scientist Bram Cohen, instead works much like BitTorrent itself does. Everybody that requests a certain video stream shares the feed between themselves, rather than just leeching the content. This reportedly reduces lag drastically, network load and increases video quality for those watching. And, just like when torrenting, the more people that sign on to a stream, the better it looks for everybody.

The new protocol will be tested at NAMM Jam this Friday from 6:45pm to 11:30pm PT and should include acts like, oh, I dunno, Testament and Jackyl. You will have to download and install a client to your system, which can be found here. And if you can’t check it out this Friday, BitTorrent is performing ongoing testing every Friday night at eight by streaming a live DJ set from its headquarters.

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