updated 12:05 pm EDT, Tue October 9, 2007
BitTorrent video streaming
BitTorrent, the creators of the peer-to-peer format typically associated with online piracy, have announced their second "legitimate" service, BitTorrent DNA. DNA is not connected to the company's TV and movie sales; rather, says Reuters, it is a means of improving the speed of downloads and streaming for third-party businesses, who may not necessarily be able to handle the bandwidth on their own. Rather, users download a client that taps into a unique network; as new files are downloaded, old ones are uploaded, the latter continuing for a short time after the former.
The first customer for DNA is said to be Brightcove, which handles video distribution for companies such as CBS, Fox, MTV and the New York Times. No clips, shows or movies have been cited for a first deployment of DNA; however, BitTorrent president Ashwin Navin says that DNA can already be used to distribute content hosted by ubiquitous providers such as Akamai and Limelight.
Navin claims that many companies actually lose revenue in their streaming services, as they must pay more than 20 cents per hour while recouping less than that through advertising. By offloading some of the burden to the viewers themselves, this may make streaming more financially sound.