BitTorrent creator demos live streaming protocol


— 11:10 AM on January 20, 2011

Bram Cohen, the brain behind the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol, is at it again. According to TorrentFreak, Cohen has been working on a peer-to-peer live streaming protocol that appears to be based loosely on BitTorrent. Extensive changes have been made, however. In a bid to improve efficiency and reduce latency, Cohen ditched TCP for the new protocol, which also uses different congestion control algorithms. Here's a demo of the system in action:

The demo reveals a few seconds of latency, but that seems entirely reasonable for peer-to-peer streaming. After all, it's already common for broadcasters to delay live feeds by a few seconds just in case they need to edit out colorful language or a wardrobe malfunction.

During the demo, Cohen reveals that the streaming protocol probably won't be finished until the summer. The developer appears to be taking his time, telling TorrentFreak that "doing live properly is a hard problem, and while I could have a working thing relatively quickly, I'm doing everything the 'right' way." TorrentFreak goes on to point out that BitTorrent will turn ten years old in July, making that month a likely target for the official launch. In other news, BitTorrent is nearly ten years old—and still going strong.

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