by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 11th 2011 3:08pm
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 17th 2010 2:50pm
from the a-step-forward dept
One of the obvious benefits of using BitTorrent or other forms of free music distribution is that it makes it easier for people to hear your music. But, of course, you still need to convince them to make that first step and download -- and so these recent efforts to use a BitTorrent release specifically to promote a bit of content is interesting. I imagine that the skeptical response is that "this only works when just a few artists are doing it." That may be true in the present form, but I would bet that if more and more content creators embrace these forms of distribution, in combination with smarter business models, there will be many ways to deal with it, including greater personalization/filters for those who are actively promoting their works via platforms like BitTorrent.
by Tom Lee
Thu, Apr 3rd 2008 5:37pm
from the less-or-more-than-you-expected? dept
Comcast's decision to collaborate with Bittorrent, Inc. attracted a predictably huge amount of attention and analysis. But surprisingly little of it has actually speculated as to what Bittorrent, Inc. is actually going to do for Comcast. When guesses have been ventured, they've frequently suggested that the company will throw its weight around in order to alter the protocol and make it more friendly to Comcast's network. But this is unlikely for exactly the reasons Prof. Felten discusses at that link (though Felten actually argues that altering the protocol is the goal). Instead, I think there are reasons to believe that Bram Cohen's startup will be selling network appliances to Comcast.
There are two problems facing Comcast. (1) the expense that Bittorrent incurs in infrastructure demands and bandwidth bills and (2) the public outcry and potential FCC action invited by its initial artless solution to that problem. Announcing the partnership with Bittorrent, Inc.; pledging to increase upload capacity (as it no doubt planned to anyway); and ceasing to forge RST packets all go a long way toward solving the second problem.
But the first problem -- the expense -- remains, and it may prove to be the area where the new partnership has the most to offer. Have a look at the quote that Torrentfreak got from Bittorrent, Inc.'s Ashwin Navin:
We decided to collaborate with Comcast because they agreed to stop using RSTs, increase upload capacity, and evaluate network hardware that accelerates media delivery and file transfers.
Bittorrent, Inc. has primarily been known for acquiring uTorrent and for working to pitch BT as a content distribution system. But it's also announced partnerships with various hardware manufacturers. And while some of these vendors are probably looking for little more than to be able to slap "Bittorrent approved!" stickers on their consumer-grade routers, others clearly have the expertise to make network appliances. This is what Bittorrent, Inc. may be selling to Comcast.
What will these theoretical boxes do? Despite Comcast's announced intention to be protocol-agnostic, it seems most likely that the devices would serve as P2P repeaters, keeping more of a given swarm inside Comcast's systems and thereby minimizing expensive trips across the network boundary. Contrary to all of the online wailing about bandwidth hogs degrading its neighbors' internet service, this expense was always the real issue: it's telling that forged RST packets were only ever sent for Bittorrent connections that extended beyond Comcast's network. Establishing a repeater product would also add nicely to the company's Bittorrent DNA offering.
Whatever the specifics, minimizing network expenses is a reasonable goal that Comcast is certain to continue to pursue. Hopefully Bittorrent Inc. will help them find a way to do so without antagonizing their customers.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 27th 2008 9:54am
from the took-'em-long-enough dept
Of course, announcements, by themselves, mean nothing. Let's wait and see what sort of systems Comcast actually puts in place before we judge whether the end result is better or not. Though, it does confirm what we noted recently: this really is a problem that can be solved by technology -- which Comcast just didn't want to implement. Comcast's unwillingness to come up with a more reasonable technology solution earlier (while Verizon and others have been exploring them) is its own fault. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if this has any impact on the lawsuits and the FCC investigation. Other than that, let's see what Comcast actually does (and how upfront they are about it) before saying this is a full win. In the meantime, just getting Comcast to budge a little has to be seen as a short-term victory.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 10th 2007 6:03am
from the there's-money-in-boring-tech dept
As we noted over the summer, there's growing competition in the Content Delivery Network (CDN) space, once dominated by Akamai. The idea is to help larger content providers handle large amounts of bandwidth efficiently, traditionally by placing copies of the content at various servers around the world. This does two things: offload the bandwidth from a single source and also bring the content physically closer to different areas, thus decreasing some of the latency issues. Of course, BitTorrent can do both of those things in potentially a much more efficient manner, by using the excess of bandwidth of all different people to simply handle small parts of the transfer. While BitTorrent tries to position its offering as something that can work with the CDN's of the world, if it really works well, it could effectively obliterate the need for a traditional CDN. If you thought that the traditional competition in the space was obliterating profits, having something like BitTorrent's Delivery Network Accelerator could completely upend the market. While the press may go for the sensationalistic "piracy" angle (which this has nothing to do with), if this works, it could change the basic economics for large publishers in distributing content online -- and that's quite a big deal.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Aug 30th 2007 8:27pm
from the ethically-challenged dept