Torrent-like live streaming invented in the EU

Torrent-like live streaming invented in the EU

Do you have an event that you want to cover live, but you lack the budget to cover bandwidth costs? Researchers from 21 different European countries have developed software that can stream video over a peer-to-peer bittorrent network, an open source initiative that might change the way we stream video on the Internet.

Broadcasters have little bandwidth costs

With the BitTorrent zero server approach, receipients supply pieces of the data to newer recipients. It allows everyone to broadcast a live stream to thousands of people with just little personal broadband usage. Broadcasters can save millions by using the technology, although someone has to pay for the bandwidth on the end, if the broadcaster sends their data out by torrent the ISP is covering the costs.

Improving the BitTorrent protocol

Dr. Ir. Johan Pouwelse, researcher on Peer-to-Peer technology at Delft University of Technology said to torrentfreak: “To be relevant we remain BitTorrent compatible… However, traditional BitTorrent is not compatible with streaming. We solved this problem by dropping the tit-for-tat protocol and making something which is more generic, which we call Give-to-Get.” The Give-to-get protocol streams the video to users that also give broadband, rewarding “nice users”.

Try it for yourself

The live streaming technology is still work in progress. For now, the project has received a €19 million ($30 million) grant from the EU this year, and the BBC is currently testing the new BitTorrent streaming format, and you can try is out for yourself as well. Download the SwarmPlayer (Windows, Linux) and click on this Live Bittorrent Webcam Feed to tune the SwarmPlayer into Amsterdam.

Read next: Mischievous Monday Mornings: iPhone Haters Rejoice