Blog Post

BitTorrent opens up its P2P live streaming service to anyone with a webcam

BitTorrent officially opened up the beta test of its BitTorrent Live streaming service at SXSW Tuesday morning, allowing anyone with a camera to stream live video to an unlimited number of viewers.

BitTorrent Live can stream straight from your webcam.
BitTorrent Live can stream straight from your webcam.

Broadcasters can either start streaming with their webcam, or use an app like Flash (s ADBE) Media Encoder to stream their program. Users will have to download the BitTorrent Live plugin to tune into any of the streams on the platform. The BitTorrent Live website can be used to find channels to watch, and broadcasters can interact with viewers through chat rooms on their channels.

BitTorrent hasn’t said yet how it wants to monetize Live, but there may be less pressure to do so than for other live streaming services: Live uses P2P for video broadcasting, so there is little to no overhead to facilitate streaming.

BitTorrent Live is the brainchild of BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen, who has been working on the underlying P2P protocol for a number of years. BitTorrent started to test the service with a limited number of live events back in 2011, and gradually invited more broadcasters to join. Check out this interview I did interview with Cohen about live streaming all the way back in 2010 below: