Bit Torrent to Enter Streaming Market

Move over, YouTube: There’s a surprising new way to stream live media on the Web, and that is through BitTorrent.

BitTorrent’s latest service, BitTorrent Live, enables peer-to-peer streaming media broadcasts directly to end users on Apple TV and it will soon be available on Android, Mac and iOS. Through BitTorrent live, end users can stream news, music, sports and more.

A P2P service that first began back in 2001, BitTorrent lets users quickly stream large amounts of data, sharing the bandwidth costs among multiple viewers. Everyone who is downloading or streaming a file or program is also simultaneously uploading that file or program to anyone else using the service.

Why are end users turning to BitTorrent? In some cases, streaming media comes with significant lag time and poor quality; BitTorrent solves those problems with its unique distribution system. The larger the audience, the better the service.

The app is free, but that’s because there isn’t much to watch on BitTorrent Live—at least not yet. The platform currently offers livestreams of boxing matches, independent and classic films and broadcasts of music festivals and concerts, among other things.

According to the BitTorrent blog, the company plans to add additional channels in the future, including subscription-based, ad-supported, and pay-per-view premium tiers.

At the moment, BitTorrent’s interests seem to lie in disrupting the streaming market with its technology rather than competing in the content arena. Whether the technology takes off without the content to support it remains to be seen. Still, this is something that every cable operator should be monitoring to see how it develops.