If you’re here, you’re probably aware that not long ago, we quietly released our iOS app. The press has been picking up on this lately, and for the most part, it’s about what we expected: Statements to the effect of “promising tech demo, but needs more content”. We’ll certainly be getting more content, but one thing we want to clear up now is the uncertainty about the technology that’s actually being used. The Verge has been quoted by several other media outlets saying this:
It’s unclear whether or not the app is actually using peer-to-peer technology for streaming on iOS — BitTorrent had published a now-removed blog post claiming that BitTorrent Live used P2P, but other products from the company, like BitTorrent Now, have shied away from using the technology.
Here’s the answer: It does use peer-to-peer technology, and we consider it a great success that it isn’t obvious. Each of our channels are effectively served from a single machine. When you watch a video, there’s a very good chance (depending on the number of viewers) that you’re not getting it from us – you’re getting it from your peers. When the swarm grows, we don’t have to scale up. We can serve millions of users with negligible server cost. That’s the magic behind the technology and the reason we’re so into what we do here.
MLB’s President of Media Bob Bowman has some interesting things to say about this sort of thing:
To do 10 million concurrent streams in the U.S. – no one’s done it. No one’s come close. You’d have to buy up every CDN. […] Is that a business model or is that a stunt? We don’t know.
We’re capable of it, and for us, it’s a business model.
We’ve run very large scale simulations, and are looking to get bigger audiences in the real world to further prove this. That’s why we’re working hard to get more content, more features, and more platforms out the door.
If you’d like to try out our app, you can find the download links for your platform of choice at btlive.tv.