FILESHARING PROTOCOL Bittorrent plans to launch a live streaming mobile app.
Bittorrent Live uses the peer to peer internet protocol to enable broadcasters to transmit live feeds. By using the Bittorrent protocol, the app creates a "chain" in which the viewer also becomes a broadcaster, passing on the broadcast audio or video feed to others as they listen or watch.
Presently in closed testing, the service represents the latest attempt by Bittorrent to reposition itself as a legitimate service as opposed to the negative associations of its use in filesharing.
Despite having a range of legitimate uses, Bittorrent's reputation remains dogged by the fact that it has become perceived as being used for illegally downloading copyrighted content.
Services such as Bittorrent Live and Bittorrent Sync, a serverless file synchronisation service, are going some way towards reforming that perception. Meanwhile the Bittorrent protocol is also increasingly being used by artists as a legal promotional tool and by software developers as a legal means of distribution.
The launch of Bittorrent Live is clouded in mystery, with no indication of what formats the app will support at launch, or a specific launch date. One thing that has been confirmed, however, is that the app will remain in Alpha status at launch, presumably to test the app while attracting the mass-market take-up required to make the peer to peer broadcasting user experience attractive.
Bittorrent has several live feeds on its website to try out, but the real test following its release will be to see how well niche content fares with few viewers to rebroadcast the stream. µ