AMSTERDAM It was almost a decade ago when Napster's Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing network first raised the ire of the music industry.
The lawsuit filed by Recording Industry Association of America in late1999 eventually drove Napster to shut down its service in 2002.
Fast forward to today, nine years later.
A consortium of European broadcasters, academia and technology companies is hoping to turn P2P on its head to create a next generation P2P content delivery platform, by connecting millions of TV sets at home.
By bringing the P2P technology to living-room TV, this newly proposed P2P platform will let a consumer broadcast a live stream -- whether his own content or TV channel -- to millions of Internet users.
This is a radical idea, since the proposed P2P content delivery signals would allow anyone to become a "broadcaster."
But this is the premise for the next-generation content delivery platform envisioned by the European Union-funded P2P-Next research project.
The consortium members include BBC, European Broadcasting Union, IRT (Munich-based Broadcast Technology Institute), Technical university of Delft and technology companies such Pioneer and STMicroelectronics.
The P2P-Next group is demonstrating this week at IBC 2008 here what it calls the world's first live P2P streaming of professional content to low-cost set-top boxes using an open source P2P video delivery platform.
"There is no reason to believe that P2P will go away," said Mark Stuart, R&D manager of Pioneer Digital Design Center (Buckinghamshire, U.K.), who serves as technical director of the P2P-Next project.
Rather than fight it, he said that the group proposes: "Why not embrace it for more efficient video content delivery?"