The Tech Report writes that despite a nearly two-year delay, the BitTorrent peer-to-peer video streaming protocol is now nearing completion. An open beta test kicked off earlier this month, and a patent application has been filed for the protocol, with the creations reassuring that BitTorrent Live will be completely free for broadcasters and consumers.
It seems the BitTorrent folks will be discouraging third-party clients, though. "Poorly behaved peers can impact everyone," Cohen says, and the protocol is "tricky to implement."
Although peer-to-peer live streaming was a tough nut to crack, Cohen claims BitTorrent Live is capable of broadcasting content to "millions of people with just a few seconds of latency." Because it's a peer-to-peer protocol, the bandwidth costs for the broadcaster should be minimal.
A few seconds of latency sounds like a lot, but it's not a big deal for live broadcasts that often include delays to catch wardrobe malfunctions and those seven words you can never say on television. As Cohen points out, live broadcasting is one thing that traditional cable providers have always done better than Internet alternatives. BitTorrent Live aims to change that, and it sounds like Cohen is particularly keen on recruiting independent broadcasters in addition to more traditional content producers.