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Summary:

BitTorrent had big ambitions for live streaming, but users weren’t biting — so the company is shutting down its live video site and refocusing on mobile.

BitTorrent Inc. is shutting down its P2P-powered live streaming website by the end of the month, according to an email BitTorrent co-founder Bram Cohen sent out to users late Wednesday. Cohen called the shut-down a “directional change” for the company’s live streaming ambitions, writing in part:

“After invaluable experience in real deployments, we found that requiring a browser plug-in is daunting to our users. Because of this, we are refocusing the product on mobile platforms… Due to the shift in engineering focus to mobile, we are no longer able to support the existing BitTorrent Live web site. We will be shutting it down at noon Pacific Standard Time on Thursday February 27th.”

Last week, BitTorrent announced that it was going to launch a mobile live streaming app later this year.

Cohen has been working on P2P-powered live streaming since 2008, and he told me in an interview in 2010 that BitTorrent Live is based on a new P2P protocol focused on low latency that bears little resemblance to the traditional BitTorrent protocol.

BitTorrent started testing P2P live streaming in late 2011, and opened up the platform to publishers a year after that. However, the offering never got a whole lot of traction, so one shouldn’t expect too much of a backlash to the shutdown.

Check out my 2010 interview with Cohen below:

  1. Who cares. The BitTorrent brand is all about getting something for nothing. When they started charging, the brand lost credibility. They spent their entire career convincing the public that they could have $100m movies for free. Ooops. Now they’re trying to sell a different story and the people aren’t buying. It couldn’t happen to a sleezier bunch of thieves.

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    1. Ben Bristow Friday, March 7, 2014

      Bob, you have absolutely no idea what you’re on about. BitTorrent, the protocol, is totally legal and has hundreds of different legal use applications.

      uTorrent, the client, while now bloatware, is totally legal and can be used for downloading legal torrents (e.g. Linux ISOs, indie movies/music ) and sharing data decentralized without censorship.

      Many ‘free to play’ games (League Of Legends, World of Tanks) etc. use the BitTorrent protocol to save bandwidth on downloads since the users download from each other rather than just one server. Twitter use it similarly to load-balance.

      Yes, it has illegal uses but so do drugs.

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      1. More like saying cars are bad and encourage crime, we should only allow buses and trains a central authority controls, so we can track everyone and eliminate crime.

        BitTorrent is nothing more than the most efficient peer to peer connection & distribution system that currently exists. If you want to stop BitTorrent you might as well call for eliminating the internet and go back to cable TV..

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