updated 08:50 am EST, Mon February 26, 2007
BitTorrent Store Official
BitTorrent this morning officially launched the BitTorrent Entertainment Network, the company's own approach to paid video downloads. As outlined by the company in late January, the service hopes to challenge larger rivals by using its own distributed download technology, keeping downloads fast while offloading some of the bandwidth to customers. Prices and accessibility vary based on content, BitTorrent says: movies are available only for rent at prices of $4 for new titles and $3 for older releases, while TV shows are available as permanent downloads for $2 each. Rentals expire 24 hours after play or after 30 days. Music videos and some PC games are also available, BitTorrent says.
Crucially, the company adds, the BTEN network isn't limited to major titles from Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Warner, and major music labels. Independents and user-made submissions will also be accepted on the store and can be published for free. Most paid content is protected through Windows Media DRM, though some content (such as music videos from Sub-Pop Records) is available unprotected in DivX, Quicktime, and similar formats.
BitTorrent's technology had in the past earned notoriety as a piracy mechanism, having been chosen in the past as the preferred method of decentralizing illegal downloads to avoid the costs and legal trouble associated with single sources. The store's inception was prompted by an agreement with the Motion Picture Association of America in November 2005 where the creator of the peer download technology agreed that it would encourage legal alternatives.