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Popular peer-to-peer network BitTorrent is continuing efforts to grow its reach by signing a partnership agreement with Orb Networks. The agreement bundles BitTorrent’s P2P software with that of Orb’s, which allows users to stream their music, movies or other media to their PCs, phones and other devices.
Users will have the option of downloading the bundled version or not. In practice, an Orb user would get access to BitTorrent content on his PC and then be able to use Orb to stream that content to any of his devices — from a PS3 to an iPhone. Typically BitTorrent is used to download content — video or music — to a personal computer, which is difficult to share within the home.
From that perspective, this alliance with Orb makes a lot of sense, though we’re not sure how big an impact it’s likely to have: As of February 2008, Orb had about 5 million users, big — but not big enough.
BitTorrent, long the preserve of techie types, is trying to go mainstream and become a viable way to distribute large media files, including video; the company has been working with chip makers and network device makers to embed BitTorrent protocol into many different devices. With the rise of high-definition video forecast to cause network congestion, BitTorrent and other P2P technologies are viewed as saviors, one of the main reasons why the San Francisco-based company continues to get a lot of investment dollars.
BitTorrent says it has more than 160 clients installed worldwide and has several existing partnership deals ranging from hardware companies such as Netgear and content providers such as MTV Networks.