Netflix researching “large-scale peer-to-peer technology” for streaming

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

Source: As  the allegedly illegal (and apparently now defunct) PopcornTime app showed, it is possible to combine streaming video and P2P torrent-style downloading. In fact despite the demise of the original app, others inspired by it have started to appear.

So given that such a hybrid technology is possible, why should a copyright-respecting company like Netflix not make use of a similar technology, and thereby circumvent the monopolistic bandwidth tolls levied on it by dinosaur ISPs in the USA?


Job ad says Netflix wants to “integrate P2P as an additional delivery mechanism.”
by Jon Brodkin – Apr 25 2014, 10:45pm CEST

When we wrote about the possibility of Netflix using a peer-to-peer architecture for streaming earlier today, it seemed like more of a thought experiment than a real possibility.

But it turns out Netflix is looking for an engineer to research this very type of system. By searching Netflix job postings we found an opening for a senior software engineer who would work on Netflix’s Open Connect content delivery network while researching how P2P technology could be used for streaming.

“Netflix seeks a seasoned Senior Software Engineer with a special focus in peer-to-peer networks,” the listing says. Responsibilities include:

Research and architecture of large-scale peer-to-peer network technology as applicable to Netflix streaming.
Liaise with internal client and toolkit teams to integrate P2P as an additional delivery mechanism.
Design and develop tools for the operation of peer-to-peer enabled clients in a production environment.

The successful applicant is required to have “At least five years of relevant experience with development and testing of large-scale peer-to-peer systems.” Preferred qualifications include “Knowledge of and proven experience with P2P, CDN/HTTP cache/proxy technology.”

The job posting appears to be at least a month old. When asked whether the company intends to stream video using P2P, a Netflix spokesperson replied only that “the best way to see it is that we look at all kinds of routes.”

Our story this morning was spurred by a blog post written by BitTorrent, Inc. CEO Eric Klinker, who argued that a peer-to-peer architecture would help Netflix deliver its traffic without having to pay Internet service providers. We spoke with Klinker this afternoon, and he expanded on his thoughts.

“Netflix has a hard time getting traffic onto these networks. It’s because they are in a hub-and-spoke model where the traffic flows in only one direction, from Netflix to the consumer,” Klinker told Ars.
Read more at Ars Technica

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