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Media Television The Internet

Roll Your Own Television Network Using Bittorrent 252

Posted by timothy
from the or-at-least-think-about-doing-so dept.
Cryofan writes "Mark Pesce, lecturer at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) writes here and here about using p2p networks, specifically bittorrent, to create a grassroots television network. He cites as an example the BBC's "Flexible TV" internet broadcasting model using that as the core of a "new sort of television network, one which could harness the power of P2P distribution to create a global television network." Producers of video entertainment and news would provide a single copy of a program into the network of P2P clients, and the p2p network peers distribute the content themselves. Thus, a virtual 'newswiki' where the content is distributed bittorrent using some sort of 'trusted peer' or moderator mechanisms as a filtering/evaluation mechanism. So what is stopping anyone from doing this now? Awareness of the concept, perhaps? Lack of broadband connections? Lack of business models for content producers?"
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Roll Your Own Television Network Using Bittorrent

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  • Where I live (Score:5, Informative)

    by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav@gmRASPail.com minus berry> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:32PM (#10445871) Journal
    many people have to pay for their broadband bits, so it costs quite a lot to leech stuff off bittorrent
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mike Rubits (818811) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:32PM (#10445874)
    Between this and the Podcasting article, one thing is to be for sure:

    Slashdot is looking to become the next media giant

    I, for one, welcome our new Slashdot overlords?
  • SlashdotTV? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:33PM (#10445881) Homepage Journal
    Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to SlashdotTV's News, I'm Timothy, your host. If you have moderation points or metamoderation you may use them <ouch> at anytime during the <ouch> netcast. Please use res<ouch>ponsibly. Later we'll broadcast a slashpoll with CowboyNeal somehow worked <ouch> into the final option.<ouch><ouch><ouch>

    Oh fsck this, <ouch><ouch><ouch> damn, take <ouch><ouch>these wires off<ouch> damn, what a <ouch><ouch>way to run a <ouch> network!
    • by Soko (17987) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:56PM (#10446085) Homepage
      Sorry about that ladies and gentelmen, the moderators responsible for that have been sacked. Now for the News.

      Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to SlashdotTV's News, I'm Timothy^WCmdrTaco, your host. If you have moderation points or metamoderation you may use them <ouch> at anytime during the <ouch> netcast. Please use res<ouch>ponsibly. *Aside* - What do you mean by 'dupe', CowboyNeal? Later we'll broadcast a slashpoll with CowboyNeal somehow worked <ouch> into the final option.<ouch><ouch><ouch><ouch>

      Dupe?<ouch><ouc h> What do <ouch>you<ouch> mean dupe? Dammit! <ouch><ouch>Who's fscking idea <ouch>was<ouch><ouch><yeeowch>th is anyway? You <ouch>moderators are going to be sacke<bzzzzzzt>
    • by Cereal Box (4286) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:06PM (#10446153)
      SlashdotTV wouldn't even need Bittorrent, seeing as how there would only be one episode that gets repeated every day.
    • Goatse links would suddenly become a lot scarier on Slashdot TV.
  • Content (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sport_160 (650020) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:33PM (#10445889) Homepage
    I think what is stopping people now is a lack of legal content that they can share. You can bet that nobody wants to watch my home videos.
    • Re:Content (Score:2, Funny)

      by moofdaddy (570503)
      You can bet that nobody wants to watch my home videos.

      I don't know, it depends on what you are doing in them...and more importantly who your doing it with.
    • Re:Content (Score:3, Insightful)

      by d34thm0nk3y (653414)
      I think what is stopping people now is a lack of legal content that they can share

      I agree, and frankly, what is availible usually isn't very good so it requires a lot of "filtering" to find much you like. I think that this will change, though, once artists realize they can make money more directly.
    • So you think they'll mind if I start streaming out Star Wars Movies, with no sound, and my own commentating? And video editing where Luke wears a funny hat and Darth has a barbie-pink lightsaber?
    • I think Nullsoft is trying to do a sort of broadband TV network thingy with Shoutcast, though I don't know too much about it -- among other things they're using Ogg Theora (or a variation thereof), which is a little dicey in terms of support.

      What I think is really missing is the set-top box. I had this idea of using a modded Xbox running Linux -- cheap, simple mod, easily obtained with built-in HDTV support -- as the set-top box. Never got around to implementing it though, because of bandwidth issues -- th
    • Good Content Idea (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ImaLamer (260199) <john.lamarNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @02:38AM (#10448249) Homepage Journal
      I've mentioned this [slashdot.org] on Slashdot before, a few times, but this type of thing is a good candidate for educational programming, not the news.

      If someone (PBS?) could release all of their educational content under a non-restrictive license then I'd happily pay for the dedicated servers to host and track the torrents. Math, History and Science programs would get even the adults involved but would be a great resource for people who are home-schooling or parents who want to keep their children occupied when home sick from school.

      I don't know why we, Americans, have not done this already. I suspect that bandwidth is an issue but that is somewhat silly as it is otherwise wasted on illegal downloads and that sort of thing.

      There should be a public education page that acts as an entry point for materials for students and teachers alike. Think "cable in the classroom" turned into "internet in the classroom". Why haven't a few public school teachers already gotten together and made this a reality? 30 minute shows aren't that hard to make. Take your lesson plan and turn that into a script. Read it, or hire someone to and viola.
  • by thenightisdark (738700) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:35PM (#10445895) Homepage
    All someone would need to run a station would be to run an rss feed. Everyone would download .torrents basied on the RSS, then boom, instant 'station'. Hell, i might pay someone to access their RSS feed for this purpose.
    • That 'instant station', how well does that work with bittorrent, given that bittorrent downloads arbitary chunks of a file ? You'd have to
      wait till the whole show is download.

      Bah, bring back multimedia through multicasting...
  • upstream quota (Score:5, Insightful)

    by discord5 (798235) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:36PM (#10445908)

    How about the average broadband connection having an upstream quota cap. 1.5GB of upstream traffic a month for me, and not a byte more unless I "contribute" a generous amount to my ISP.

    This is still one of the major issues for me when it comes to ISPs. If I would download something popular from bittorrent or edonkey, 1.5GB is absolutely nothing. So the only solution would be if I were to firewall incoming connection and be a leech, or put QOS on all traffic going out, limiting it to 0.5K/s.

    This all is of course hypothetically speaking... ;)

    • Re:upstream quota (Score:2, Informative)

      by crabpeople (720852)
      most telephone providers (at least in canada) dont care AT ALL about bandwidth caps. they just use it as an excuse for busting other things not covered in their EULA or contract...

      its the little guys that care the most about it, and cable companies, id assume because the badwidth is shared between users of a segment as apposed to dsl.

      i was actually told by a guy who worked at dsl.ca that they only had that cap in there as a catch all to kill peoples accounts that they didnt like. i regularaly download ~50
      • I was on Sympatico when they first implemented thier cap, and the only warning was an email(i never used the ISP email), got a 200$ bill that month, and prompty switched to a local provider that advirtised "no bandwitdh restrictions" or something, been there since.
  • by cranos (592602) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:37PM (#10445912) Homepage Journal
    I think one big hurdle to this sort of thing would be how do you cover you're costs.

    Producing even a basic news show still costs money, even if all the people running it are volunteers.

    • I was thinking maybe product placement commercials, or banners occasionally running across the screen.
    • by Brigadier (12956)

      A friend and I produce a little 1/2 hour news talk show which we broadcast on local cable channel three. Now we are looking to get it on our local pbs station. costs are negligable. My friend who is a tech freak has the latest G5 with a DV card and a high end Sony Cam (about $5000 in hardware). Studio time is free based on cable regulations. (if your not aware FCC requires cable operators to provide free service and equipment to local users.) for us this included a studio with 3 mounted cameras, an editing
      • Yes but when we are talking about internet broadcasting every bit bites into your wallet.

        Here in australia we don't have access to cable the same way you do in the states. As far as I am aware there is no legislation saying our local cable companies have to provide public access

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Advertising on the web is not terribly expensive, just submit to slashdot. As far as equipment costs, I think web cams are pretty damn cheap, pc's are cheap, and broadband is moderately cheap. So while the cost is not $0.00, it is much more reasonable than a normal television network. At least I think a $500 dollar per studio startup cost with a $40/mo upkeep is a bit cheaper than what I imagine CBS pays, but I could be wrong.
    • Yep, we're just waiting for someone who knows what step two is:

      2) ???
  • Whenever a new episode of Stargate comes out a bittorrent streams it live as it is created... I'm not sure exactly how they're doing it but they're doing. The reason nobody is legally doing it because the distributors pay them I.E. the local broadcasters and sattelite/cable companies for usage. It's an extra dollar they wouldn't make. Actualy it's an extra million dollars they wouldn't make.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      1. Create a service where people watch your show over bittorrent.
      2. ???
      3. Profit!

      In light of recent news, step 2 is "sue your customers."
    • by Black Acid (219707) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:06PM (#10446151)
      Whenever a new episode of Stargate comes out a bittorrent streams it live as it is created...

      Is this possible with BT considering that it sends out blocks in a non-sequential order and the .torrent file contains SHA-1 hashes of the blocks? eDonkey sends out blocks in random order, as well, in order to optimize against the rare missing block problem. I think this is a good optimization to take, especially on file distribution networks, but it sacrifices the ability to stream (as far as I know). Anyone know any more about this?

  • by papasui (567265) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:41PM (#10445949) Homepage
    While I think Bittorent is pretty easy to use when I tried to explain it to my sister she had no idea what I was talking about and wanted to know why it was better than Kaazaa. In order for this to take off beyond the geek community to average users it needs to be somehow streamed to a easy to use media player or embeded in a webpage. There is a lot of potential with this type of technology, but it really needs to be super-easy to make any kind of splash. And I can also see this type of network abusing the end user who isn't smart enough to exit the program and then can't figure out why their internet connection has been moving at dial-up speed for the last 3 weeks.
    • There is a lot of potential with this type of technology, but it really needs to be super-easy to make any kind of splash.

      Fine, but a lot of people actually like the non-streamlined, one file at a time nature of BT. The core ideas of bittorent seed/peers have been implemented by other programs for a while. Ares uses incomplete files, and does a pretty good job at transfers too.

      What separates BT from the rest is the nature of the transmission. BT bases transfers in a single file, and that file is ju

    • In order for this to take off beyond the geek community to average users it needs to be somehow streamed to a easy to use media player or embeded in a webpage.

      You mean like Suprnova.org? Lots of bittorrent links embedded in a webpage. I don't understand, how is that harder to use than Kazaa? You just have to know where to go - it's less accessible than Kazaa, yes, but that's a GOOD thing. As soon as things become too centralized and accessible (i.e. widely known) they become a large, easy target. Re

  • by crabpeople (720852) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:41PM (#10445958) Journal
    'Thus, a virtual 'newswiki' where the content is distributed bittorrent using some sort of 'trusted peer' or moderator mechanisms as a filtering/evaluation mechanism. So what is stopping anyone from doing this now? Awareness of the concept, perhaps? Lack of broadband connections? Lack of business models for content producers?"'

    isn't this EXACTLY what suprnova [suprnova.org] is doing?

    sure its mostly an illigal "network" but it still substitutes for TV and pushes a hell of a lot of content across it.
    • Yes it is exactly what suprnova is doing. For my senior project I'm creating a show meant to be distributed freely online using P2P methods to see how effective it can be, and suprnova is the first place i'm putting my file.

      • by dubiousmike (558126) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:58PM (#10446533) Homepage Journal
        how will you measure the effectiveness of your efforts?
        • check the number of people streaming/leeching?

          at the end of the show post a link to a forum youve set up so people can comment on it?

          doesnt seem to hard too me

          • but the nature of the modern day p2p network is that there can be nodes disconnected from each other serving the same content. You might not see the true number of the streams unless there is a tool to collect said stats and combine them.

            What happens when someone truncates your file name and continues to serve your content? What happens if someone changes your content and serves it under your file name?

            Unless you control the flow of your video, how can you truly account for its effectiveness? A lot of
        • I mean really, the lousiest thing about P2P after Napster and other centrally located server-peer-peer services got wiped out. But where does that bring you? To distribution of content with no statistics gathered. I don't care where on the ladder of the content builders you are at, if you can't back up your claims of percentage of the market, then you eventually lose all funding. Even grant givers want to give to someone who will likely be sucessful so that their name comes out somewhere. Its still a b
    • v2v [v2v.cc], a grassroots news network associated with Indymedia, is currently doing this.
  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:44PM (#10445978) Homepage Journal
    There is a public access cable station where I live, so my first thought was why bother? Do we really need to have that funny guy that lives by the old slaughter house broadcasting world wide his theories about alien brian implants?

    From the standpoint of news broadcasting, this could be really big, though. Set up a /. type site with a moderation system, and let people submit their own footage of local news stories. You would get excellent coverage (OSS though: many eyes is a good thing), and it would be hard to censor stories. Localization/Translation might be tricky, though...
    • You could build into the clients a way of rating peers. If a lot of peers think the content distributed by a certain peer is good, then that peer gets a high trust rating. Just download video from peers with a high trust rating.
    • It's all fun and games until someone finds a way to post the goatse image.
    • theories about alien brian implants? - they implant the dog from the Family guy in your brain now? ow?

    • There is a public access cable station where I live, so my first thought was why bother? Do we really need to have that funny guy that lives by the old slaughter house broadcasting world wide his theories about alien brian implants?

      Chances are, there are only a few people within range of the public access TV station that care about his theories. Over the whole world though, there may be enough to warrant him having a show.

  • mass tv over p2p? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by seramar (655396)
    What happens when people start embedding viruses and worms into media files? With the GDI+ vulnerability, it's only a matter of time. And it'd be easy for people on a p2p network to modify the file and start sharing it. Sure, you could have moderators etc, specified distributors, whatever, but that sort of destroys the point of having something like this utilize a p2p network. And if it's very popular, then you know the files would have a high likelihood of being modified and corrupted. Or how about simple
    • This is an excellent point, but I would hazard a guess that using a open source viewer and file format would pretty much aleviate this problem.
    • Let's face it, there are plenty enough people using BitTorrents to download media files already to justify concern.
      But in almost 2 years of reviewing the more popular BT forums and websites, I can only recall reading of two infected downloads. And there was no suggestion that either were intended as malicious attacks.
      Both the torrents were removed from their servers with hours.
  • The Real Problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by techsoldaten (309296) * on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:45PM (#10445984) Journal
    The real problem with this idea is ubiquity of signal. Anyone can post anything they want, even if broadcasters closed off a single p2p service just their programs there would always be competing services. Pr0n, wicked graphic hunting shows, and real-life stuff would dominate the bandwidth, things we may want to keep our kids away from.

    M
    • Let's think of the children! The solution is to add the functionality to ethernet-equipped PVRs and let users choose their content providers which would be RSS feeds. Each provider, like a normal TV station, would provide a specific type of content.
    • You can get this already on the internet. I think the best way to approach the subject is to properly explain to kids what things are, instead of hiding them from it. Give them a realistic base, respect your kids, and teach them what and how to react. I would rather approach a situation from a logical, knowledgeable point of view, rather then a deer in headlights innocents.
    • The real problem with this idea is ubiquity of signal. Anyone can post anything they want, even if broadcasters closed off a single p2p service just their programs there would always be competing services. Pr0n, wicked graphic hunting shows, and real-life stuff would dominate the bandwidth, things we may want to keep our kids away from.

      If the p2p part is the distribution and not the access, like bittorrent is currently, then it's identical to current web pages and such in terms of access.

      What they're

    • >Pr0n, wicked graphic hunting shows, and real-life stuff would dominate the bandwidth, things we may want to keep our kids away from.

      Seeing goatse hasn't turned you/your kids into hardcore gay anal sex fetishists, has it? Spend a few minutes on rotten.com and see if you become desensitized. Are you lusting after festering corpses all of a sudden?

      Your kids can go outside... and then they might run off to the big city and become crack whores. You better lock them inside and never let them out!

      I like the
  • P2P (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dwight0 (513303) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:46PM (#10445999) Homepage
    Has anyone thought of using a P2P network such as Gnutella or Edonkey / Emule for this? What if the provider's webpage had a link for a file hash to be found and for Emule to automatically download. The content is secure because its very difficult to generate a forged file for a hash thus a 'trusted peer' moderator wouldn't be needed. Mule is very good at redistributing content across its entire network even if its not actively being downloaded by yourself, it spreads rare files across the network to ensure that all content is accessible. Any comments on this? This would also useful for general file sharing too.
    • Because Edonkey and programs like are still semi-evil in my mind because they still go and share all the files in your computer's share folders. With Bit Torrent, many naysayers like it better because it's focused on one file and there's nothing else going on with your computer at the same time. You're in, you're out, and it's over and done with. When I go to download the latest news file, it's not also trying to share 100 other files on my machine.
      • The obvious solution is not to store other files in that folder.

        I suppose you also blame samba for the files you share on a lan?
        • I'm not sure how you can honestly compare sharing files over the local controlled LAN, with sharing your files to the untold billions of the world.
  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:47PM (#10446006)
    The one little problem is that bittorrent is not a streaming protocol. It cuts up the whole file and sends a different piece in random order to each client. Each client then trades there piece with the other clients. So you can't go linearly through a video segment without having the whole thing. You could make smaller downloadable segments that would download and then auto load sequentially. It wouldn't be live though.
    • This is not for live broadcasts, basically it's for downloading and viewing later. BT works wonderfully for this. I select something off one of the sites and it's ready to watch in the evening.

      I suppose if you watch more than an hour of TV a night then it's a problem. But for me I have limited number of shows I'll watch. Netflix fills in the movie needs, but I'm giving serious consideration to stopping that as well.
    • Sounds like something PDTP could solve [pdtp.org]...
  • by prozac79 (651102) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:48PM (#10446011)
    I don't know about the rest of you, but when I try to download something from a bit torrent source, it takes several hours over a DSL modem. This even happens on torrents that have a lot of seeds and a lot of downloaders. So how feasible is it to have P2P, on-demand television? Even if you could stream them, the download rates are far from constant so you would have to pause a lot to accumulate a buffer.
    • ...then you have a lot more users than you have now, and since it is broadband, a lot faster (and assuming symmetric upload and download speeds), and everyone on the network is sharing, AND you have clients and a p2p network built along the BT model, but easier to use, then you have a network worthy of being called a network.

      Look at the broadband connections being offered in Korea, or many parts of Europe. Imagine how you could put a really fat pipe to work, if most everyone has one.

    • don't know about the rest of you, but when I try to download something from a bit torrent source, it takes several hours over a DSL modem.

      Maybe your incoming BT ports are firewalled? BitTorrent can work on a firewalled connection, but it works much faster when you can accept incoming connections from other clients (on ports 6881-6889, depending on client).

      Anyway, for reasons pointed by others, BT can't be used for streaming, a different p2p protocol would have to be written for that. And even then, you
      • not that you were insinuating this, but most posts in this topic keep talking like streaming is the way to go. The entire industry is moving to an on-demand model and streaming is not really what you want to do with video or film content. Progressive downloads is the current way to go with cached (pre downloaded) video being where things are going to go, imo...

        ESPN's Motion was supposed to become open source, but there was no way that Disney is going to let that happen.
    • As far as I know, you can't stream via BitTorrent period - it doesn't download the content sequentially (ie, from the first byte to the last) - it downloads the least available chunks on the network first. So you'd have to make pretty major changes to the BitTorrent client to get it to work, which of course would completely defeat how BT works. All your peers would be competiting for the first chunks of data so they could start streaming.

      (Note: I haven't RTFA'd so I don't know how releveant streaming is to
  • by ganhawk (703420) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:48PM (#10446012)
    Using bittorrent to distribute movie files is cool. But it is not exactly network broadcasting.

    P2P Radio [sourceforge.net] is the way to go. It can stream audio and video using peers. There are some p2p radio stations out there and TV stations are not far behind.
    • Peercast [peercast.org] already allows for P2P video streams in most popular formats.

      I've had a go with it and its not too shabby.

      With clients for Mac, Linux and Windows, availability is good. Unfortunately, Peercast doesn't advertise themselves too well which means there aren't so many video streams available yet (typically 5-15 video streams and 100 or so Audio streams.)
  • by moofdaddy (570503) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:50PM (#10446031) Homepage
    Great, this will allow people to create their own reality tv shows out of their homes, as if reality tv didn't suck enough already.
  • Torrentocracy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lerhaupt (231905) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:51PM (#10446037) Homepage
    Check out Torrentocracy [torrentocracy.com] for a way to download bit torrented content from RSS feeds straight to your TV. As far as content, that's the major stumbling block. There needs to be more people willing to license under the Creative Commons. Per that, I'm also currently hosting [torrentocracy.com] interviews from Robert Greenwald's last two movies, Outfoxed and Uncovered.
  • Multicast (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:51PM (#10446043) Homepage Journal
    This kind of app makes BitTorrent into a P2P multicasting network. Finally, URIs (Universal Resource Identifiers) for media objects aren't limited to URLs (Universal Resource Locators), constrained by network topologies like bandwidth and persistence. Where's the streaming version for media play that doesn't need saving, with buffering and caching for a truly distributed media cloud? All the multicast experimenters, from MBONE to Internet2 and beyond should jump on this platform, finally meeting rubber with road on the infobahn.
  • by YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @07:53PM (#10446061) Homepage Journal

    I attended this talk at the National Student Media Conference last weekend, ( for any other attendees, I was the NSMC volunteer managing the digital projectors... ) and it was interesting to see the ideas mooted here percolating out into the other panels that took place over the rest of the conference. I think the independant media needs to continue to forge closer ties with the tech community to allow things like this to come to fruition.

    One thing that didn't get brought up was whether this will compete with or complement Indymedia's upcoming IVDN video distribution framework. I was hoping to chase Mark up on this after the conference, but lost his email address - thanks submitter!

    YLFI

    P.S., Mark, if you're reading this, I crashed in your suite on Sunday night - thanks for the keys. :-P

  • So what is stopping anyone from doing this now?

    Firewalls

  • by hyc (241590) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:03PM (#10446141) Homepage Journal
    Any connection-based protocol suffers from scaling problems, especially on the scope this article implies. If you want to do a media broadcast, you should be using IP multicast in realtime. Then you don't need to worry about upload rates either, you get maximal efficiency and data only has to move in one direction around the network.

    All of the P2P networks have this problem because they are connection-based and on-demand. A TV network is not on-demand, it's a fixed message delivered on a published schedule. That's the model that works most efficiently, making the most efficient use of the transport medium. For the internet you can be somewhat flexible and start redundant broadcasts at staggered time intervals, but in general, if you don't start listening/downloading when the stream starts, tough.

    For compressed video you need to make sure that there are plenty of I-frames in the stream so that people can come in at any arbitrary point and sync up, but that's no big deal. Also if you take this approach you don't need to broadcast multiple streams of the same content at different resolutions/bitrates, the network itself will provide rate reduction by dropping frames that the receiver can't pick up fast enough. (Tho doing that will make the audio pretty noisy; I guess you can do low bandwidth streams if you really want to. Or just do separate bandwidth streams for the audio. That way if one audio stream needs too much bandwidth and is losing too many packets you can just select a lower bandwidth stream instead.)
    • Any connection-based protocol suffers from scaling problems, especially on the scope this article implies. If you want to do a media broadcast, you should be using IP multicast in realtime.

      I don't understand the objection to using bittorrent. Why must distribution be broadcast and realtime instead of multicast and/or buffered? Doing the latter eliminates arguments about I-frames and maintaining real-time frame speeds. And it's what's happening right now at bittorrent/suprnova, with what seems to me a

      • i think the way that ESPN and A&E distribute their content is brilliant. Subscription based and cached. File sizes are large, but it doesn't matter. What does matter is that the content itself is of superior quality.

        Anyone know of an open source client/server architecture that will allow for content to be cached on the user's hard drive on a subscription basis? ESPNs was supposed to be open source, but it looks like they held off (not that I hold it against them) and A&E use a third party compa
      • Think about how the network bandwidth is being used in BitTorrent - I open up connections to as many providers as I can find, and download data from them. Other clients do the same, and try to download data from me. The exact same data will go back and forth across my connection multiple times. And, across the entire network, there are N nodes connecting to as many of each other as possible, a mesh of size NxN, and each of those connections is carrying essentially the same data. As N grows, the amount of re
    • Everything is bigger with multicast.

      But try and fit it in the hole... cough, in your wall.
    • Why IP multicasting? What real advantages does it give you? Aside from the "Ooh, look, this is happening *right now*" factor, it seems like live streaming just takes all the problems of regular broadcast television and imprints them on a much more flexible medium.

      Live feeds have their purpose, but I'm having trouble seeing how they would work well under a bittorrent system. It could be set up under a telephone tree model, where node A feeds nodes B C and D, which each provide feeds to five or six
  • by Myself (57572) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:16PM (#10446223) Journal
    Of course, the Freenet [freenetproject.org] routing protocol is a bit iffy right now, but when it works, it's pretty cool.

    The idea of streaming across Freenet's infrastructure has been done before [mail-archive.com]. Who needs a grassroots TV network when you can have a grassroots, anonymous, encrypted TV network?

    The other side-effect of Freenet's architecture is that popular data persists. You might be able to retrieve a show from days or weeks ago, if enough nodes watched it in the first place.

    For the moment, performance limits it to audio streams, but video might be workable in the near future. The dev team can always use more bright minds. Are you free?
  • by Dekks (808541) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:30PM (#10446335)
    Have a network of members and affiliates who all shoulder the cost, donations go to the pool and appropiated by a commitee/board to fund different projects and shows. This way you could have a world community, that drills down to a national community, that can still drill down to a local community, mix and match the international shows with the national and local.
  • A few dedicated volunteers can produce a news commentary show or a talk show or maybe even a low-rent reality show out of pocket. This is potentially a great way for that kind of content to get distributed -- content that costs basically nothing to create, and that the creators are doing as a labor of love rather than as their day jobs.

    Now show me how you'd make "Farscape" or "The Practice" or "Survivor" with this kind of distribution model, where the very nature of the model (the content is available bec

    • At this level, I would like to think that ideas matter much more than production quality. Given a $100M budget for a movie, it seems like things like plot and character development can be done away with entirely. But anyone who has seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail knows that great things can be done on a shoestring budget. Give me a camcorder and two halves of a coconut to bang together, and I can move the world.
    • Homestar Runner [homestarrunner.com] would be my first example of how you can make money. They seem to be doing pretty well with only licensing products.

      I think you would have to distribute your content for free, and make up the costs through licensing of products and product placement.

    • One of those shows you mention - Survivor - has plenty of these spots. Are they gratuitous? Often - but they also are VERY effective (as anyone who saw the castaways savoring tiny slivers of Snickers bars after being without sugar for more than a month can well attest).

      Considering that most shows about entertainment are simply ADVERTISEMENTS for movies and music, why is it so unimaginable that they should support such programming? It's inevitable, even if the hotown suits won't yet concede this fact. What

  • I saw UHF, and I'm ready. Seriously, who wants to start up a outlaw TV broadcast channel?

    God spoke to me:

    www.geocities.com/James_Sager_PA
  • BBC... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Insipid Trunculance (526362) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @09:06PM (#10446589) Homepage
    Can some one shed some Light on the BBC's Flexible TV?

  • OK, so bit-torrent is the technology to move the data, but where is the content going to come from?

    The obvious answer to my mind is bloggers.

    Imagine getting your news not from CNN / Fox, but instead actually from someone on the ground living in an apartment in Baghdad while it's being bombed?

    Get news reports on SCO vs Everyone not just from the media and court filings, but actually see image of the court building where it's all happening with bloggers telling us how they think the proceedings are goin

  • The AFTRS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mathgenius (526070)
    I've seen some of the short films that AFTRS students produce, and they are world class productions. Really brilliant.

    Simon.
  • TV broadcasts are for the most part reliable, do not suffer from bandwidth issues the way a P2P network does, and are not new legally ambiguous technology. Why on Earth would you want to take something reliable and rework it over an unsuitable and unreliable framework? What does it offer the end user? At present you don't pay for TV by bandwidth, whereas you do pay for internet access that way. This simply doesn't offer the end user any clear advantages and has a number of disadvantages.

    Yes you can use a h
    • Yes you can use a hammer as a hacksaw, but unless you're desperate it'd be insane.

      To apply your metaphor to the actual situation being discussed here, not everyone can afford a hacksaw ( and the Federal Hacksaw Commission regulates who can and can't own one ) - but we already have the hammers.

  • But how the hell do I make a living doing this? I am getting into independent video production and have a couple documentary ideas in the works. If I just released them into the wild like this I'd be done real quick.

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