BitTorrent Launches Live P2P Streaming Service at SXSW

At South by Southwest this week, BitTorrent officially launched the open beta for its BitTorrent Live streaming service, which allows anyone with a camera to stream live video to an unlimited number of viewers. Those broadcasting can either stream with a webcam or use an app such as Flash Media Encoder to stream their content. Users will need to download the BitTorrent Live plugin to view others’ streams.

Additionally, the BitTorrent Live website can be used to find channels to watch, and broadcasters are able to interact with viewers through chat rooms on their channels. The service is designed for real-time reporting and those who regularly webcast.

“For anyone with mobile video or webcams, for anyone in the moment, on the ground, or on the front lines; for everyone with the need to break news or break it down in real time: BitTorrent Live is now open,” explains a post on the company blog.

According to the BitTorrent Live site: “Designed to eliminate barriers to broadcast, Live is an entirely new protocol, designed to deliver high quality video to large audiences — with significant reduction in infrastructure cost and network delays.”

The system has been tested in a closed beta since November. “We’ve demonstrated scaling and improved stability during our invite-only period,” said BitTorrent’s Bram Cohen. “[We] are excited to open our service up to anyone who wants it.”

While the service faces competition from Livestream, Ustream and Twitch TV, it may have an advantage with its P2P approach. “The more people that tune in, the more resilient your stream,” according to the company.

BitTorrent hasn’t said yet how it wants to monetize Live, but there may be less pressure to do so than for other live streaming services: Live uses P2P for video broadcasting, so there is little to no overhead to facilitate streaming,” reports GigaOM.