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Summary:

BitTorrent isn’t quite ready yet to take on Ustream and Co. with its P2P live streaming technology, but it is getting closer: This week, the company reached out to webcasters, asking them to join the ongoing field tests of the live streaming protocol.

live sign

BitTorrent Inc. is reaching out to broadcasters and webcasters, asking them to test its live streaming technology. The company posted an invitation to join the ongoing test program of BitTorrent Live on its blog this week, stating:

“We’ve been conducting regular tests with users (props to our intrepid volunteers), and have achieved results at swarm sizes of a few thousand. Now, we’re inviting qualified broadcasters like you to help us build something amazing.”

BitTorrent has been working on P2P live streaming for several years now. Company founder Bram Cohen, who also invented the BitTorrent protocol, developed a completely new P2P protocol for this use case. BitTorrent began inviting users for field tests last fall, and has since streamed some DJ sessions and other limited live events.

It’s unclear yet how exactly BitTorrent is going to turn Live into a product. Cohen suggested earlier this year that the technology would support live streams to millions of viewers, and joked: “My goal here is to kill off television.”

This week’s blog post suggests that BitTorrent isn’t necessarily targeting big broadcast institutions, but smaller online content producers with existing Ustream or Justin.tv channels. I asked BitTorrent’s executive director of marketing Matt Mason when the company plans to properly launch Live, and said there’s nothing to announce yet, but added: “We have made a lot of progress and are getting closer.”

Image courtesy of Flickr user  Howdy, I’m H. Michael Karshis.

  1. bittorent, seeking webcastersfor its live streaming test

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  2. What’s the big deal about this anyway? Flash has had P2P Live streaming for years now with RTMFP. And it works very well. And it’s already been tested at scales much more than a few thousand users. You may argue that Flash is on the decline now. But it is still on practically every desktop on the web today, which still makes reach a non-issue with Flash as opposed to BitTorrent. So what am I missing here?

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