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BitTorrent video, now streaming

Posted at 18 December 2009 01:05 CEST by Jared Newman

The days of waiting for a BitTorrent file to download before viewing are over, as a major BitTorrent client now allows video streaming.

uTorrent added the functionality in its latest beta, TorrentFreak reports. The streaming feature is pretty simple: With any well-seeded file, you can click on the “play” button next to the file name to begin watching video. As TorrentFreak notes, uTorrent isn’t the first client to add this feature, but as the client of choice for the Western world, it’s a significant addition.

Video files play in the DivX Web player by default, but other streaming players can be selected through uTorrent’s preferences.


Simon Morris, vice president of product management for uTorrent’s parent company BitTorrent, told TorrentFreak that the streaming feature is part of an effort to turn the protocol from “‘‘load-wait-watch-tomorrow’ to more of a ‘point-click-watch’ experience.” In addition to downloadable streams, BitTorrent wants to add live video streams powered by the peer-to-peer protocol. Morris hopes to develop software that will surpass other P2P streaming solutions to date.

I’m wondering if developments like these will help peer-to-peer lose the piracy stigma and become more accepted as a way of getting legitimate content. Taken alone, uTorrent streaming won’t get that job done — it’s just a way for people to access whatever they’re downloading faster. But with Mininova going legit, and products like Myka that are capable of downloading torrent files, there’s room for P2P to become a powerful way for people to buy video content. All that’s needed is for content providers to stop fearing BitTorrent. Don’t think people will pay when it’s easy to pirate? It worked for iTunes.

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There are 4 comments

MyCE Resident
Posted on: 18 Dec 09 05:03
    usually a torrent file doesn't download from the first packet to the last packed... usually there bits and pieces all over the file? Wouldn't they have make it so the torrent tried to download it from the beginning to end, instead of random available packets?
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 18 Dec 09 20:35
      The client decides what pieces to request and when. It does say a well-seeded torrent, so this would require that a peer or seed be available with enough pieces in order to buffer the beginning of the content to get started. Older versions of uTorrent already allow "Prioritize first and last pieces".
      MyCE Member
      Posted on: 18 Dec 09 23:23
        "Prioritize first and last pieces", but not "make sequential requests". That's different. The reason that first and last is there (from what I understand) is that a lot of files (audio/video for example) can be previewed before the file is complete if there is enough sequential data, but the audio/video container information is required, which just happens to be at the beginning of the file. That's my 2 bits.
        New Member
        Posted on: 20 Dec 09 02:35
          StreamTorrent does something similar. Its a great idea!

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