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Summary:

Publishing your own videos via BitTorrent used to be tough. It either involved tinkering with your own tracker server – something only the brave and nerdy ever attempt – or casting your anchor in one of the Pirate Bays of the world, where your masterpiece would […]

Publishing your own videos via BitTorrent used to be tough. It either involved tinkering with your own tracker server – something only the brave and nerdy ever attempt – or casting your anchor in one of the Pirate Bays of the world, where your masterpiece would be poised to reside between pictures of top-heavy “girls from your area” and advertising for sex chats and fake Rolex watches. Oh, those raunchy pirates.

Luckily, a new wave of legal P2P websites has also given videographers more options to distribute their content. The two most popular platforms are BitTorrent.com and Vuze.com (also know as the Azureus content layer). So which one is better for user-generated content? We tested them both to find out.

The BitTorrent P2P protocol is obviously great for high-resolution videos with big file sizes, but I didn’t go too crazy for this test: I uploaded a movie called American Look on both platforms. It’s an out-of-copyright film from 1958 courtesy of the Prelinger Archives. An odd, yet charming celebration of 1950s futurism, and at 80 megabytes for the MP4 version, just enough to make BitTorrent distribution useful.

Speaking of BitTorrent: The company behind the popular file-sharing protocol recently started selling commercial content online. It also allows users to submit their own movies for free distribution, but the company doesn’t host these files for you. This means that you need to find some web space to host a copy of your movie first. You also need a free account on BitTorrent.com.

Once you got that done, publishing your content on BitTorrent.com is a matter of minutes. You paste the URL of your video into a form field, edit some basic descriptions – and literally a few seconds later the file is available as a torrent-powered download.

One downside of the platform is that it’s very biased towards commercial content. There’s no obvious way to browse all of the user-generated videos, and I couldn’t even find my own upload with a search for its title. So unless you promote your video or link it directly from your site, there is a good chance that no one will get to see it.

Vuze.com, on the other hand, heavily promotes and encourages user submissions. It even has an 11-page PDF manual to describe every detail of the uploading process. The platform does require an installation of the Azureus client to upload content, but the company hosts the content for you.

The upload process itself, which happens completely within the Azureus application, is pretty straightforward, but there are a few hurdles: The description of your video can be changed later on, but tags and categories can’t. Also, don’t try to change such things while you upload. In my case it confused the platform profoundly and required repeated restarts of Azureus to finish the upload.

Your film is available for download on Vuze.com as soon as your upload is completed – and, unlike on BitTorrent.com, people actually seem to find it. I managed to get a handful of downloads within two hours – not too bad for a ’50s flick with a really bad preview picture.

So which platform is better? It really depends on your needs. Give BitTorrent.com a try if you are already hosting your movie but want to give your web server some reprieve. Vuze.com on the other hand is great if you want to get your work in the front of an audience without worrying about hosting at all.

  1. Louis Choquel Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    I have tried several times to publish on bittorrent.com and always got an ugly error. It’s error 500 if I remember well – no actual explanation of the problem.

    Maybe it doesn’t work because I’m not in the US? Downloading their paid content is impossible outside the US so…

    By the way, do you know how long the content is hosted/seeded? Is it infinite?

  2. Hi Janko!

    I found very interesting program today and wish to share with.

    It is called CUXLDEN For Lite Server that is streaming video distribution program based on p2p(grid computing they said) technology.

    I think this is the hottest p2p program ever this year.

    Now you can show your streaming video movie on your web page through p2p network and pay very small amount of fee to your file hosting service.

    Visit http://www.ufreeus.com for streaming movie demo, you will learn more about the program.

    Anyway, check out download.com and search “cuxlden” or click below link to download program.

    http://www.download.com/Cuxlden-for-Lite-Server/3000-2196_4-10667555.html?tag=lst-0-1

    It is freeware for personal use so you should try it!

    bye

    Check out this program! Distribute high quality streaming video on web page using p2p technology

  3. i completely agree with the observations you made about the bittorrent and vuze. its seems like bittorrent is only interested in selling films that i could buy down the street at tower records. i like vuze much more because they support user content. i have really enjoyed the films that i have found on there. but like with any ugc site, there is a lot of garbage too. check out my vuze blog if you would like to see some of the films that i have enjoyed so far. http://vuze.wordpress.com
    bye!!!

  4. NewTeeVee Ten P2P Distribution Platforms for Online Video Makers « Sunday, July 22, 2007

    [...] There’s no upload button in Joost. There are, however, quite a few services out there that help you to distribute your content without contract negotiations and DRM schemes. Here are ten sites to get you [...]

  5. Didn’t BitTorrent get kicked out of the Netherlands by a court order recently? Do you think the concept of BitTorrent will ever be stopped or will continue forever?

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