Let peers redstribute data streams
The Internet infrastructure
today is not suited for transmitting live events to millions of people simultaneously. Too many requests for simultaneous streams of data can easily bring the network to its knees. It simply can't match the power of broadcasting.
Some technologists have been promoting "multicasting" as a solution for this. Multicasting allows the data stream to be distributed to many local servers which subsequently re-broadcast the content to local users.
In reality, though, there appears to be little financial incentive for ISPs to support multicasting.
ISPs are reluctant to make huge the investment in IP routers and adding more servers at the edge of the network.
The answer to such challenges is in "redistribution of the data stream between peers " without [using] a central server but connecting millions of TV sets," said Stuart. It can offer "a scalable and robust solution -- almost at zero cost," he added.
More specifically, the group plans to improve the bandwidth efficiency, "by expanding the proven BitTorrent protocol," said Stuart. "You can stream to one, two, or thousands of people using roughly the same amount of bandwidth."
There have been already a number of popular P2P services sprung up, including Joost, Babelgum and iPlayer. They use P2P technology to distribute recorded TV shows over the Internet.
But they also use proprietary P2P desktop client applications.
Until the P2P-Next project has emerged, "No integration has happened in set-tops and there are no peer-to-peer networked TVs," said Pioneer's Stuart.
However, some on-line TV pioneers are also looking for ways to expand their base. Joost, for example, earlier this week, announced plans to abandon its proprietary P2P desktop client application in favor of delivering video on plug-in browsers over the web.
The P2P-Next project's goal is "to create a stable community of CE peers, united by a common open standard and interoperability between multiple P2P networks," according to Stuart.