Chinese P2P solutions provider Vatata, whose similarly named P2P streaming platform Vakaka we wrote about last year, has developed a set-top box solution to bring a Joost-like P2P TV experience to the living room. It provides access to both the company’s own P2P network for live streaming video as well as public P2P networks and protocols such as Emule, Gnutella and BitTorrent for media downloads.
Vatata’s CEO Jian Song told me that the company already has three customers in China that licensed the platform for their own products, with TV manufacturer Skyworth and set-top box maker Himedia being two of them. The first devices featuring the solution are supposed to hit the shelves in China this summer.
Song told me that Vatata’s product has been successfully tested with a variety of Linux-based set-top boxes. Vatata’s team was even able to run the code on the relatively low-end Neuros OSD Media Center, according to Song.
Vatata’s solution will not only use BitTorrent, but will feature access to a P2P search engine as well as a link database compiled from P2P web sites. Device makers would have to maintain these databases, so they would be the ones to deal with copyright issues. And if a device maker isn’t willing to take the risk to become the next Pirate Bay? The device doesn’t depend on it, Song explained, since consumers can still enter P2P download links on their own.
Song stressed the fact that devices using the Vatata solution itself are legal, even if some consumers might chose to break the law with it. He also wants to play fair both with P2P networks and ISPs’ resources. Users of the former will be glad to hear that the Vatata solution will not only leech, but also seed content, meaning that it will provide upload capacity to help out with the distribution of content. Song wants to please ISPs by eventually incorporating new network-aware technologies like P4P that will prioritize downloads within an ISP’s own network.
When will we be able to get such a Chinese P2P set-top box at Best Buy or other electronics retailers? Song would only say that he has been in talks with some prospective customers in the U.S., so we’ll just have to wait and see.