Zattoo Cooking Up More P2P TV

Just when you get jaded, along comes something you should have known about for months but is totally news to you. Like Zattoo, a P2P television company currently in testing in Switzerland, which streams live channels using peer-to-peer packet sharing.

Zattoo Screenshot

Zattoo, dually based in Zurich and Ann Arbor, sounds a bit like P2P TV efforts we’ve recently reviewed such as UUSee and MediaZone.

And of course, there are the inevitable comparisons to fellow European contenders Joost and Babelgum. In Zattoo’s case, the core difference is that programs are not time-shifted, but shown linearly in the same way they are on TV, currently including the existing interstitial ads.

Zattoo, which is based on research done at the University of Michigan, doesn’t currently have any channels available outside of Switzerland, somewhat hindering our review. However, initial testers such as blogger Bruno Giussani say they’re impressed.

The service offers the equivalent of Swiss basic cable, said Zattoo spokesperson Doug Wyllie, with about 65 channels in English, German, French, and Italian. The current agenda is to expand throughout Europe for the next couple of quarters and move to Canada and/or the United States in the fall. Wyllie said the startup has raised seed funding but declined to specify the amount or the funders.

Zattoo is currently free to all comers. The startup is exploring replacing existing ads with its own sales (in concert with the networks, of course), as well as subscriptions and payments. It will also try to recruit web-only content.

With additional reporting by Liz Gannes.


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