by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
bittorrent, drm-free, rss, tv


CBC Plans To BitTorrent Its Own TV Program

from the about-time... dept

Four years ago, we were among a group of folks talking about how the combination of BitTorrent and RSS could create a really fantastic online TiVo type solution. Rather than having to wait for your TV to broadcast a show, broadcasters could put the shows online, via BitTorrent, and you could subscribe with RSS, getting every TV show you wanted. Of course, since that time, online hosted video has become more popular, with the likes of YouTube getting much of the attention. However, it looks like the idea of using BitTorrent to distribute TV programs in an authorized manner hasn't disappeared. Joe writes in to alert us that CBC Television up in Canada is planning to distribute copies of their program Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister via BitTorrent right after it airs. And, yes, they'll be doing it DRM-free. As the folks behind the show have said: "The show will [be] completely free (and legal) for you to download, share & burn to your heart's desire." Nice to see some are starting to get it. Rather than locking stuff down, you want to share it as widely as possible.

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  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 21 Mar 2008 @ 4:45pm

    *jaw drops*

    This is good. The more networks choose to do this, the better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scary Fast, 21 Mar 2008 @ 5:19pm

    I've never heard of this show

    but if it's on bit torrent I might download it and see what it's about :P Sounds like American Idol: Canadian Edition. Does it actually have something to do with a Prime Minister? :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Eric the Grey, 21 Mar 2008 @ 5:33pm

    One down...

    One down, how many to go?

    Seriously though, I think this is great! Hopefully, more networks will take up this model.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark, 21 Mar 2008 @ 7:02pm

    I believe the preferred vernacular is T/torrent it, instead of BitTorrent it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hellsvilla, 21 Mar 2008 @ 9:23pm


    Actually its called "seeding" it. But uh, whatever. Using BitTorrent as a verb is more clear to the end user that doesn't know what a seed is. Take the "bit" from the "torrent" and you have a less clear communication taking place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mikester, 21 Mar 2008 @ 11:10pm

    Nice but...

    While I am excited to see a network paradigm shifting, you need to realize that the CBC is Canada's public broadcaster. That is, their shows, including this one, are paid for by Canadian tax payers. So really, they are probably in the best position to experiment with this concept with less to lose than a private broadcaster.

    What is especially interesting however, is how / if this will start having any affect on Rogers or other Canadian ISPs that throttle or interfere in some way with bittorrent transfers. I doubt it will any time soon, but hopefully as the CBC releases more content to bittorrent, the less argument the ISPs have for interfering due to piracy concerns. Less face it, if Canadians can't get access to the content their tax dollars are paying for, the CRTC (Canadian FCC) should be stepping in and forcing Rogers et al to stop what they are doing to torrent transfers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dwandy, 22 Mar 2008 @ 7:38am

    RFC for torrent protocol ?

    TV shows are paid for via advertisement $$$. Local affiliate stations sell local ad content.
    (1) Torrent is the same file everywhere, which would exclude local ad content, meaning that only the Biggies (Coke would be able to support the content.
    (2) There exists already geo/IP databases. While they may not be perfect, they're pretty close.
    The idea would be to generate a torrent that had n% common data, and 100-n% data by geolocation. The original seed would have all the data, and downstream you would have the option of downloading based on your geolocation, or also all the data so you could help to seed.(The complete file would always be based on your location, so you could play the file, the other segments would be stored as distinct files)
    The torrent client could also be instructed to generate a file for a different region.

    While this could be used as described above, geo-location doesn't have to be the only delimiter: I Am Legend has been released with two endings: All but the last 3-6minutes are identical. Why download two complete copies for 3-6minutes of different video? The initial seed (from the studio!!) would include an "alternate ending" delimiter. Once downloaded, the user would have the option of watching the original, or the torrent client could generate a file with the alternate ending.
    What this really is, is the idea that there may be a reason for some (substantial) part of a file to be identical for everyone, but that some (or all) clients would get different or additional data at random points. Ideally, the inserted parts would not even need to be the same length as the original.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jams, 24 Mar 2008 @ 12:27am

    Ye, I think this is one good news. hope more company can provide this. but why only bt, I like using emule, it work better than bittorrent for me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      mozetti, 24 Mar 2008 @ 5:11am


      Simple answer: BT is a protocol, emule is a client. With BT you can use any client that uses the BT protocol, of which there are many. And the edonkey protocol, which emule uses, isn't maintained and is fairly out of date.

      BT is a mature protocol that is well-developed and mature. It requires no central server so there is little, if any additional cost involved in distributing files via BT.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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