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Video Streaming Goes Peer-to-Peer 180

CMU ESM Project writes "Our research group at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a peer to peer streaming video content distribution system called End System Multicast (ESM). The system constructs a self-organizing and adaptive overlay network using the receivers that are tuning into the broadcast events. The system has been used fairly successfully for quite a few events. Now we want test the system with a lot of more users and different user join patterns. We are streaming some very cool video, such as Triumph of the Nerds by Bob Cringely, distinguished lecture by Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, ACM SIGCOMM conference paper presentation by Dave Clark, and 2002 Sony Legged Robot Soccer Championship. Here is the detailed schedule. So please tune in, enjoy, and help test our system!" The streaming is based on QuickTime; for Linux users, the project page steps through installation of CodeWeaver's CrossOver plug-in.
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Video Streaming Goes Peer-to-Peer

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  • uhhh... (Score:2, Funny)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 )
    We are streaming some very cool video

    If you wanna grab the /. communities attention, I'd suggest you show Ghost in a Shell, RMS vs MS PR lecturer, the Matrix, and The Two Towers.
  • They're sure not gonna like this.
    • My response: "Tough shit. Welcome to the future".

      The fundamental problem with true video-on-demand is at the server end. Sure, you can stagger showings like todays PPV systems, but the viewer cannot pause, rewind and fast-forward.

      P2P solves this. As much bandwidth as you need. The more popular a piece of media becomes, the easier it is to get. A reverse slashdot effect. It's a much more elegant solution compared to throwing bandwidth and server capacity at the problem. Put P2P in a TIVO, it's just gained a second killer app. The only problem is that if two users record the same show, they will not be HASH compatible, which is essential for a good multi-point downloading p2p network. Solve that, you've just reinvented how broadcast TV works.

      The MPAA and RIAA are just going to have to accept that they can no longer control our media. We have the tools and we have the technology to do it ourselves.

      Only lawyers can try stop us now. And if they do, our countries will have so much civil disobedience and lack of respect for the law that the war on (some) drugs pales in significance.

      • Umm, Video on Demand is already being done successfully by Time Warner Cable in New York. I agree P2P ends up being much cheaper and easier, but don't make it like it can't be done. Besides, true video on demand lets you watch something whenever you want. Streaming P2P does not, it's like a broadcast. You can't go back and watch from the beginning. And not only that, the more people watching this "live" broadcast, the more lag you'll have.

        I think this stuff is great, but you can't compare it to video on demand. And if you saw "Peer-to-peer" and though "Kazaa," the I also agree with you; Kazaa is great, and peer-to-peer is the future. Your post doesn't belong in this story though.
        • Umm, Video on Demand is already being done successfully by Time Warner Cable in New York.

          Is it real video on demand, where every user can select a show and watch it that instant, or is it like most systems where the show is broadcast on, say 12 channels, with each one starting 5 mins appart? If the later, it's not VOD. With real VOD, you have a private stream from the provider, which requires a massive server.

          Streaming P2P does not, it's like a broadcast.

          We're at cross purposes here, methinks. The example that this article links to is a repeater p2p network, which is pretty neat. However, I was describing a system where it's fully on demand. Jeez, if it wasn't for the .avi file format having important data at the end of the file, you could almost do this now on the existing p2p apps. All you need is enough bandwidth to watch the video in realtime. You wouldn't be able to jump 30 minutes in if you wanted, but that's only because the current p2p clients haven't even thought of that yet.

          Give it a year or two... ;-)

          Your post doesn't belong in this story though

          Well, what I'm thinking of isn't quite a p2p repeater as described in article, but it's similar and they share a few traits. For example, imagine I am watching an episode of the Simpsons on my node. That episode will be getting cached on my system, and thus will be available to other users from me. That concept is in keeping with the article. I'm just removing the need to have defined broadcasts, limiting when and what you can watch.

          • I'm a huge fan of P2P systems, and I personally believe that the public library system should run and support a p2p network of public domain materials (while cutting copyright times). Yes, in New York it is real VOD. But I don't like it because it's very limited and they charge too much for it (tivo does the job just fine). I honestly don't think you can find a bigger supporter of p2p than me, but I'm just pointing out that this has more in common with broadcast television than napster or kazaa.
          • you pause play rewind...Time Warner is rolling the tech out in all markets. It works like a VCR...I'm tired of people making a big deal about it I'm going to write up a paper on it and submit it for a main story, for something so geeky, and appealing to lots of people on the user end, I'm supprised not more people here know that.
          • "Is it real video on demand, where every user can select a show and watch it that instant, or is it like most systems where the show is broadcast on, say 12 channels, with each one starting 5 mins appart? If the later, it's not VOD. With real VOD, you have a private stream from the provider, which requires a massive server."

            Yes, it is real VOD. Yes, each user gets a private stream to control and yes we do have massive servers. Actually they only take up about 4 racks.

            TWC will be releasing DHCTs with PVR built in next year but we will be phasing this out for a central storage method. Yes, more servers and arrays then you can shake a finger out. They will be caching about 40 channels for a rolling 48 hours to start and then move up to more. You will be able to "save" programing for up to two weeks in a personail cache.

            Currently TWC offers HBO, Cinemax, TMC, Showtime, Adult. Plus for free ... BBC America, Comdey Central, Cartoon Network, HGTV, DIY, Golf, CNN, Food, and Bio.
  • Broadcast audio and video!
    Who would have ever thought?
    I love technology!
  • I'd say if slashdot doesn't kill it, nothing will! Except the MPAA.. Evil bastards!
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:23PM (#4917237) Homepage
    P2P streaming video, eh? We *KNOW* which industry is going to be the frontrunner there. And for some reason, the geeks will all be very generous in the uh, "support" they offer.
  • by TracerJPN_USMC ( 623396 ) <thorntonjg&sunny-net,ne,jp> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:23PM (#4917246)
    They state that they are using quicktime.. yet there is no support for Mac. ?!
    • Yeah, I'm a little peeved at that too. I'm a geek and I don't get to enjoy this project because for some reason they've neglected the NATIVE PLATFORM for the streaming product they're using.

      However, there IS a note [] stating that they are "explorting porting to the MacOS" I think they meant "exploring", and even if they do explore it, are they talking about Mac OS 9 or OSX?

      I want to play :(

    • We have macos x port running internally with some issues (you have to pause and play everytime you switch from low->high or high->low video streams) but other then that it works ok. So yes there is a MacOS X port. There is no, nor are there any plans for, a MacOS 9 port.

  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:25PM (#4917261)
    "We are streaming some very cool video, such as Triumph of the Nerds by Bob Cringely, distinguished lecture by Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, ACM SIGCOMM conference paper presentation by Dave Clark, and 2002 Sony Legged Robot Soccer Championship."

    We want ... PORN!

  • MPAA raid! (Score:5, Funny)

    by dex22 ( 239643 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [resucitsalp]> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:27PM (#4917282) Homepage

    In a shock move, the MPAA closed several University research departments this afternoon, in a series of commando-style raids.

    "It's tantamount to theft" said Hilarity Rosen. "People sharing video and film clips like this without paying? It's immoral, unjust and illegal! Luckily, we caught the equivalent of 7,562 illegal viewers. (Well, we caught 17, but they all had VERY fast connections!)

    In other news, Microsoft tommorow will announce a new DSigital Rights system for P2P video, called "PayNow!"

    • Re:MPAA raid! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 )
      I actually heard Hilary Rosen on the radio monday night on KGO. she said "They have a CD Burner - which is the equivalent of a CD production facility"
    • Hilarity (Hilary) Rosen is the head of the RIAA, not the MPAA. You need to take your poke at Jack Valenti.
  • by dan501 ( 223225 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:28PM (#4917292) Homepage
    blue falcon networks [] has been doing this for quite a while.

    their technology is already in such distribution systems as Virgin's internet radio broadcast []

    they do live re-multicast as well as on-demand.

    they rock the casbah.
  • Linux users who embrace QuickTime because it can be made to (mostly) work via unauthorized codec clones or using Windows plug-ins will be in for a rude awakening when Jobs and Gates pull the plug on them once QuickTime and Windows Streaming Media achive unstoppable market share.

    • I have NEVER seen a stable installation of quicktime and I'll be damned if I install it on my new machine.

      It's a damn shame too because I've been waiting for this idea to materialize for a while. Maybe the next bunch of folks who take a stab at it won't fuck it up.

      pfft. qucktime. what a fucking waste.
      • I have NEVER seen a stable installation of quicktime

        You've never used a Mac, have you?

        • good god, i hope quicktime isn't their main selling point. ok,ok, actually i used one in high school and was impressed. but then again, it was the first gui i'd ever used so i had no choice to be impressed (comming from the c=64). regardless, quicktime on ibm sucks according to my previous experience. unfortunately, i have new experience as the temptation from the CMU project was too much and I dl'ed QT anyway. no crashes thus far, but you won't catch me holding my breath.
      • I have NEVER seen a stable installation of quicktime and I'll be damned if I install it on my new machine.

        Knowing how to install an OS and apps would go a long way toward solving your QuickTime problems. Of all of the media players on the market, QuickTime is the one that's caused me the least grief. I currently run it on Win2K, and I've used it under different flavors of Win9x. (I also have a Quadra 610 with MacOS 7.5.3, but I've never tried to track down an older version of QuickTime to install on it. I'm not sure how useful it'd be on such a slow machine.)

  • Can anyone fill me in on how or if this differs from the BitTorrent concept?

  • No self-respecting geek believes any other person to be geeky enough to be considered their "peer."
  • Cool. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Schnapple ( 262314 )
    Watching it now. Pretty cool, and pretty effective - but the video seems a little bit too bright.
  • Sounds interesting but I'm not going to install the Crossover plugin just to see it. Is it possible to view this with Mplayer now that it has full support for QuickTime?

    P2P Radio [] seems to be working really well and I'm sure it's the same for video too. The RIAA is going to have a few headaches over these too... first they had unstoppable file-sharing and now they'll have same for live video streams and radio. :)
  • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:44PM (#4917431)
    I'd be hard-pressed to call what they were streaming "cool". If they wanted cool, they should have been streaming video out cams hidden in the ventilation registers of good-looking coed's dorm rooms. Oh wait, I forgot, they're at Carnegie Mellon.

    Which reminds me of an old, old joke: Nine out of ten girls in California are good-looking. The other one goes to Stanford.
  • Cool i-candy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doodhwala ( 13342 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:47PM (#4917455) Homepage

    Check out their overlay tree here []. It shows how the current peer-to-peer tree of everyone viewing anything at that given point in time. Pretty cool.
  • by hirebrand ( 543514 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {dnarberih}> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:48PM (#4917466) Homepage
    Here is the detailed schedule.

    Um, if I wanted to watch video on a schedule, I'd watch TV.

    • Thank you for participating in the TV reception load test.

      Our results were:

      1. TV reception did appear to work correctly, independently of the number of people receiving the broadcast
      2. Most people were wrong in their guesses about who shot J.R.
      We could not have done it without the help of viewers like you. Thank you.

      We also hope that you will participate in our next high-load performance test, the M*A*S*H series finale.

    • Um, if I wanted to watch video on a schedule, I'd watch TV.

      If you lived close enough to the transmitter to be able to receive the signal. No vision there boy.
    • On the one hand, you have a point. On the other, I missed the Cringley shows when they came across broadcast TV, so now I get to see them. If this is a running loop, then I get to tap in when I want - which is more than I get with TV.

      Further, I can't surf /. on my TV, and I get to help some researchers tweak / improve multicast. Seems like multicast is the hot topic at ACM SIGCOMM today - which makes me think we are in "internet-delivered-video-on-demand" infancy.

      Its funny, at the moment, Eric Schmidt is discussing his contemplation of the future, and multicast is not (yet) a part of his talk.

  • If they were using H.263 or MPEG-4, you should be able to use a variety of players instead of needing the Crossover hack.
    • And if they were using WM8 then people could protect the content they worked so hard to create from gutless thieves and pirates!
    • Our system would and does work with both of those.

      The problem is H.263 is pretty bad quality/bit rate ratio, so we went with sorenson. Mpeg-4 we just recently got a broadcaster for and didn't feel comfortable enough with it to use for this demo.

  • Some answers.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChrisPalow ( 635243 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @03:52PM (#4917502)
    Hi all, I work on the project and have been tasked with answering the slashdot communities questions. 1. Bright video: yes the video is too bright just has to do with the video capture we did of this particular video. Other videos look better, check the schedule. 2. Why codeweavers? Mplayer plays Sorenson 1 natively and Sorenson 3 using a binary codec, we can broadcast either. Unforutunately, Mplayer's RTP code doesn't support Sorenson 1/3 streams yet. When looking at the code, I couldn't tell if streaming library didn't support it yet or, more likely, the interface between mplayer and streaming library doesn't support Sorenson 1/3. 3. I'll answer more of how the system works and how its different then bittorrent and other system in a few minutes it's going to take while to type out. In the mean time check out some of our documents. aseII.1.pdf is a bried overview. www.overlays/ has some of our earlier papers Chris Palow
    • 4. The Macintosh alpha should be ready for download around ______ from now.

      (pretty please? We OS X lUsers want to play too)
    • I enjoyed watching the little dog robots.

      The basics, Covad DSL, Windows, located in Chicago. The install went smooth. Both the ems client and quick time started when I clicked on the link. I did get the "download or open box". I choose open from current location.

      The picture was somewhat choppy and the audio would cut out from time to time. As far as I could tell the ems client was receiving only. Maybe nobody likes me. Sniff.

  • Now we want test the system with a lot of more users and different user join patterns.

    Is this the first case of someone actually ASKING to be Slashdotted? I can't think of a better stress test... :)

  • Well, certainly the best method to stress-test any system is to post about it on Slashdot! Good job, Carnegie Mellon!
  • Plead for Money (Score:3, Informative)

    by Shamanin ( 561998 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @04:08PM (#4917619)
    Every couple of minutes the screen blanks out with a message saying things like "Please send 24.95 for the full version to support starving programmers" for crossover.

    How annoying... they should've mentioned this.
  • Oxymoron (Score:4, Funny)

    by mocm ( 141920 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @04:10PM (#4917627)
    Isn't peer to peer multicast kind of an oxymoron.
    • multicast means one->many?
      why can't you do one->many without infrastructure (p2p)?

      • Ok, so like p2p2p2p2p2p2... -> p2m
        But when you already have the possibility for multicast, why not just add something to that, to ensure transmission in case of lost packages, like asking a host closer to the sender if it has the required data.

  • How is this different from video teleconferencing software like CU-SeeMe, which has been around for about 8 years now?
  • by SuperDuG ( 134989 ) < minus distro> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @05:03PM (#4918078) Homepage Journal
    Problem MPAA and RIAA have far too much free bandwidth and DoS attacks are now the new "internet attack" preference.

    Step 1. Release story on highly visited website that will cause geeks to download before even realizing the trojan horse they have installed.

    Step 2. Get geeks to keep player on by telling them they will help the greater good of p2p video streaming.

    Step 3. When over 20,000 active nodes are on system begin largest DoS attack ever on MPAA and RIAA that will strike fear into the masses.

    Step 4. Profit^H^H^H^H^H^H Post story on slashdot about how slashdot users defeated the evil of the internet without even knowing it.

    It may seem highly unlikely, but shouldn't these freekin college kids be studying for finals??? Anyone else think this is an "odd" type of program??

    I could be wrong and I probably am, but it's a hypothetical that could be very true ...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      you forgot:

      Step 6. Post a witty list of 'steps' on /. including the oh-so-tired "profit" item to appear ideaphoric and intelligent.

      Step 7. Mock said poster with two additional steps that ridicule his post.
  • I have seen that Digitally Imported [] has a audio P2P option from allcast [].
    I am not using it personally as I am listening to the shoutcast streams on my Audiotron [], so I don't know if it's worth anything, but the idea is nice.
  • Use Slashdot - talk about a great way to get a bunch of geeks testing your software real quick. :)
  • ... that american geeks will now start to stream all the new TV shows, and the rest of the world will be looking over their shoulders? (While the industry starts screaming in fury?)
  • The content is quite good, I watched the Cringley Series (saw them a while back, but still entertaining). The talk by Google's CEO is also very interesting. So kudos on the content selection.

    While I'm not a fan of Quicktime, the quality was berable and could be increased if you get some video people to do proper capturing, resizing, encoding etc. I and others would be more likely to use the p2p broadcasting if it featured.. say VP3 (supported through windows media player). But kudos for working on the video broadcast bandwidth problem, I look forward to seeing future revisions.
  • That's where my P2P video experience ended.

    Oh well ... NEXT!
  • One of the things I *hate* about streaming video sites is that they categorize things qualitatively instead of quantitatively. "Modem 28.8k", "Modem 56.6k," "ISDN", "Cable Modem/DSL" (aka Broadband), and "T1 or higher" are NOT good ways of calculating connection speed. Give us NUMBERS.
    This connection is for people capable of receiving 28.8Kbps. This connection is for people capable of receiving 56.6Kbps. This connection is for people capable of receiving 256Kbps. This connection is for people capable of receiving 512Kbps. This connection is for people capable of receiving 1Mbit. This connection is capable of receiving 2Mbps. This connection is capable of receiving 4Mbps, etc. You can get a 256Kbps DSL line, or you can get an 8Mbit DSL line. LOOOOTS of difference between the two, but still the same technology that would show up as "Cable Modem/DSL".
  • Ooh, mommy, mommy, what I have now doesn't work in this extremely
    unlikely circumstance, so I'll just throw it away and write something
    completely new.
    -- Linus Torvalds

    - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison