Atzio, a content delivery software company, have developed a form of peer-to-peer distribution for television networks. They predict that P2P will revolutionise the legitimate delivery of TV and video content via the web, whilst broadcasters like the BBC are looking at using the peer to peer technologies to make content distribution cheaper.
Atzio have combined time-shifted media with a “data swarming” mechanism to lower distribution costs – as in the P2P model, a piece of media is divided into small blocks and downloaded from multiple hosts using bandwidth from each machine’s internet connection. Using this technology, a broadcaster does not have to buy huge amounts of bandwidth as its audience effectively becomes the distribution method. A welcome side effect of this model is that, the higher the demand is for a piece of content, the easier it is to get as it will be stored in more places.
The BBC have looked at P2P, amongst other options, for the distribution of their Creative Archive and other content. P2P systems like this are ideal for distributing large files to many users, such as entire films, TV programmes or games – and can be extremely cheap as customers do the distribution for the content publisher.
Atzio’s Peer to Peer Television uses a custom client to secure content against unauthorised copying and distribution, with an integrated playback interface. The network is closed and controlled by the content provider, so unauthorised or infringing materials cannot be distributed and quality of product is assured. Users can browse a content provider’s catalogue for titles and then download them immediately (like video on demand), to a schedule (like a PVR), or add them to their wishlist for viewing much later. A system of this type could replace a DVD-by-post business model quite easily.
The network is compatible with the major DRM systems out there, including Windows, DivX and Real Networks.