BitTorrent, whose file-sharing technology is responsible for more than 40 per cent of internet traffic, will announce a commercial service today to improve video delivery to consumers.
The San Francisco company says its Delivery Network Accelerator (DNA) will mean big savings for media companies, which are increasingly making content available online to consumers to reap advertising revenues and counter illegal downloads.
There are already more than 150m users of BitTorrent's existing peer-to-peer (P2P) software, which allows large files to be transferred by breaking them up into pieces that can be shared between the computers that are downloading them. Their simultaneous uploading of the pieces spreads the load and speeds increase as more users join the download and this process of sharing.
This is in contrast to existing content delivery networks, where speeds slow as more users try to access copies of files held in their entirety on single servers. Their hosts are forced to add capacity to meet demand.
"We are collecting this resource of users and adding to the capacity of the network," says Ashwin Navin, president and co-founder of BitTorrent. "Now, with DNA, we have an interface where any company can tap into this network."
P2P can be slow and inefficient when there are few users wanting to download or stream a file and BitTorrent is pitching its product as something that can supplement content delivery networks, such as those of Akamai and Limelight.
Akamai acquired Red Swoosh, a company specialising in P2P, in April, in recognition that the technology would soon play a role in commercial content delivery.
BitTorrent has struck deals with 55 content providers. BitTorrent.com offers legal downloads and the company's partners include 20th Century Fox, MTV Networks, Paramount and Warner Bros.
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