Wednesday, July 20, 2005

BitTorrent TV

I've been thinking about BitTorrent TV for many months now, on and off, not continously. The critical thing about BitTorrent TV is that it has to reach a critical mass before really good programmes will become available on the format.

The concept of BitTorrent TV is an alternative to the traditional big media controlled airwaves without commercials and routed over the internet using the BitTorrent distributed file sharing tool. Since the distribution methodology uses shared network infrastructure it become very inexpensive to syndicate a show through RSS and subsequently to distribute it through BitTorrent. This reduced cost will offset the reduction in commercial revenue caused by consumers skipping commercials. Rather than overt commercials BitTorrent TV will rely on sponsorship. There will be no need for DRM.

The formats which lend themselves to this lower budget medium are obvious:

Instructional (e.g. cooking, mechanics, schooling)
News (direct from the sources)
Music (as an advertisement for live concerts)
Children's (e.g. story telling, the wiggles, as an advertisment for live shows or merchendise)

Once the BitTorrent format viewer numbers reach a critical mass then drama shows, supported through sponsorship and product placement, would begin to enter the market also.

MythTV already has a BitTorrent plugin so that you can watch your BitTorrent TV shows on your living room TV and listen to your BitTorrent radio shows, AKA podcast shows, on your living room stereo. BitTorrent TV does not mean that you'll be limited to sitting in front of your PC, thanks to mythTV's Torrentocracy plugin.

This is the start of something significant.


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