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New Video Venture from Skype Creators

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the video-in-the-pipe-not-voice dept.

45

bart_scriv writes "BusinessWeek reports that Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis (creators of Kazaa and Skype) are at work on a new project: 'software for distributing TV shows and other forms of video over the Web.' Calling the work 'The Venice Project,' Zennstrom and Friis have assembled teams of developers to tackle the problem. The developers are already in negotiations with TV networks to use the system.'" From the article: "This time around, Zennstrom and Friis are inviting the cooperation of TV producers and networks. While the exact nature of their business model isn't clear, they are talking to every TV network in town, according to one person familiar with the matter. The idea is to become a dominant TV distribution company for the Internet era, just as companies such as Comcast (CMSCA) have dominated TV distribution in the cable era."

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45 comments

cool (0, Offtopic)

zettai (784808) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775517)

just that, what a troll of me

Business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15775527)

I bet it involves lots of users donating their bandwidth, a handful of people selling the bandwidth that the users donated and the founders selling the entire project for a huge lump of money.

Yet another (1)

ntufar (712060) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775529)

multimedia content distribution system. They are facing uphill battle against giants like Google and iTune.

Remember the Video Viruses (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775535)

First off, that article is rife with ads and I suggest the printer friendly version [businessweek.com] of it so you don't have to click "Skip this ad" or skip across memory intensive flash advertisements that cause your browser to crap out.

Secondly, this will most likely be a peer-to-peer application because it would be bandwidth expensive and problematic to centrally host these shows. A thing that concerns me with this is something I saw happen with Kazaa and the Windows media formats. Virus writers were figuring out ways to embed viruses into the files [washingtonpost.com] so that when your machine read them, the codec would unintentionally execute or behave like a virus or malware. Several of my friends suffered computer troubles due to downloading WMA files and trying to listen to them only to have their machine lock up with a worm. Later on, Kazaa included a BullGuard P2P Virus Protection Option [kazaa.com] in their product but in my opinion, it was too late. Everyone should be familiar with the potential JPEG exploit in Microsoft Windows, if it can be done for one two dimensional image, surely it can be embedded in a single frame of a video file.

I hope that the original Kazaa inventors realized this problem and are working to implement a secure system where I don't have to worry about receiving a file that might have malicious code embedded in it. A simple solution would be to compute a checksum on each file received by The Venice Project application. They would then require computers to ping a centralized server they set up to verify that the byte sum counted is indeed the correct sum and that the entire video is legit and unadulterated. There's probably easier schemes and forms of encryption to protect this but I sincerely hope this is a very real and concentrated point of this software for The Venice Project.

I think that Virus writers love applications built on names and not security. They love "industry standard" applications. Because that means a larger target base if they tailor a virus to that application. I fear that if people mindlessly buy The Venice Project only because of the inventor's fame but ignore security problems that may cause problems down the line. Kazaa was a virus writers dream, what are Zennstrom and Friis doing to prevent the same thing from happening again?

Re:Remember the Video Viruses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15775823)

Umm, of course it will use hashing to verify the blocks. Every P2P app does this. No 'invention' is required. The problem on conventional *cough*copyright infringement*cough* P2P is evil people and worms inserting malicious / fake files, obviously all the hashing can do is verify that whatever you downloaded wasn't damaged en route, not that it's what it claims to be and non-malware. If you have a trusted central authority providing details of the official hash, and its a secure hash like SHA-1, there shouldn't be a problem. (Of course there could still be exploitable vulnerabilities in the client but this is unrelated.)

Re:Remember the Video Viruses (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775887)

This is one of the good aspects of bittorrent; because users can comment, they can talk about the files. I've seen a couple of attempts at doing this on gnutella apps, but without the great success of the comments that happen on, say pirate bay. If a file is a fake, it's normally noted by someone pretty quickly, and in capital letters.

It does also help that the bittorrent community (especially on private trackers, even more on invite-only) is really awesome.

Re:Remember the Video Viruses (1, Interesting)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775841)

if it can be done for one two dimensional image, surely it can be embedded in a single frame of a video file.

Not necessarily. The problem with the WMF issue was the method of reading the file. It doesn't get exponentially worse with video files because "there are more pictures". In fact, due to delta compression in most video codecs, there normally aren't an "single frames" stored as such.

It depends on whether the programs used on Windows Media files allow them to execute code or not.

If only the people spreading movies around were smart and would use MPEG4, this might not be an issue, due to the huge number of players and increased options for users. Either way, the windows media formats are uniformly poor at pretty much everything.

Re:Remember the Video Viruses (2, Interesting)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776381)

Nobody mentioned "exponentially worse", just that it was as likely and this network should expect to be targeted.

The fact that the have been two critical vulnerabilities (JPEG and WMF issues were unrelated) in relatively simply 2D decompression code means it is reasonable to expect the may be vulnerabilities in 3D code as well.

It is due to delta compression, and all the other complex mathematical filters applied to video that makes a vulnerability so likely. If loading a "single frame" bitmap off the disk into memory exposes a buffer overflow you have a very bad programmer. A complex system of highly speed optimised code covering network caching, decryption, decoding, decompression, and post processing is a very different matter.

The high number of MPEG4 players dose not equate to a high number of MPEG4 codecs; as the JPEG and WMF vulnerabilities showed by effecting very nearly all Windows programs that used these formats.

Re:Remember the Video Viruses (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 7 years ago | (#15777038)

The fact that the have been two critical vulnerabilities (JPEG and WMF issues were unrelated) in relatively simply 2D decompression code means it is reasonable to expect the may be vulnerabilities in 3D code as well.

The critical problem wasn't that a buffer overflow could caused, the critical problem was that the image files contained executable code at all. I think it hightlights an lack of review - originally, this was a reasonable (though possibly naive) idea (windows wasn't designed to be connected to the internet) but it has since become a poor state of affairs.

You've pretty much used the logic of "well, if it's in image code, then it's probably in more-complex-code". Well yeah, if that were true, it's worth extending that logic to every part of the Operating System. If you're getting issues with images, then you're likely to be getting issues everywhere else.

Luckily, it's not true (though, somehow WinXP manages to have problems everywhere else anyway). There's nothing especially dangerous about video code, aside from it's complexity. The issue with the jpeg and wmf issues was stupid design not stupid programming. Back in the day, this was a feature - not a bug. But it's a feature that was naive, and no one thought to remove the feature (being able to run small piece of code from images was probably useful at some point).

Final point: There are a few different MPEG4 codecs. The point is, because it's a open standard (aside from patenting issues - which can be ignored outside the US) there is more variety in the pool of users. This is most likely going to mean that when a bug arises, not everyone is gonna fall down the same hole. Either way, MPEG4 is an order of magnitude better than .wm* (and most piracy groups know it btw. You don't often see .wm* files on swedish bittorrent trackers).

Re:Remember the Video Viruses (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 7 years ago | (#15777107)

Actually the JPEG issue was a buffer overflow problem, the is no intentionly executable code in the JPEG standard or Microsoft's implementation. (the WMF thing was just very bad design).

Re:Remember the Video Viruses (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 7 years ago | (#15777276)

Ah, my mistake. ;)

Re:Remember the Video Viruses (4, Insightful)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776237)

Secondly, this will most likely be a peer-to-peer application because it would be bandwidth expensive and problematic to centrally host these shows. A thing that concerns me with this is something I saw happen with Kazaa and the Windows media formats. Virus writers were figuring out ways to embed viruses into the files so that when your machine read them, the codec would unintentionally execute or behave like a virus or malware. Several of my friends suffered computer troubles due to downloading WMA files and trying to listen to them only to have their machine lock up with a worm. Later on, Kazaa included a BullGuard P2P Virus Protection Option in their product but in my opinion, it was too late. Everyone should be familiar with the potential JPEG exploit in Microsoft Windows, if it can be done for one two dimensional image, surely it can be embedded in a single frame of a video file.


I fail to see how badly-written codecs and viewer software that allow arbitrary code from a non-executable file to be run is the problem of the distribution network. If an idiot user runs an executable that's named "hot pr0n!.mpeg .exe", that's the user's problem. If MS's JPEG implementation allows arbitrary code to be run on someone's machine that's MS's problem.

Let's not shift the blame from the stupid users and bad coders to the people who allow the content to be distributed. That's like blaming the truck driver who delivered your car to the dealership when you drive the car off a cliff at 200 mph.

Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (5, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775537)

I am a big believer in TV over the web (I watch shows like Digital Life TV and Diggnation every week myself). And I really hope it becomes more normalized (esp. since I only have my apartment complex's crappy cable system to watch).

But, right now, there are three major problems with IPTV, or web video:

  1. Competing standards and services--Every one of these new services or networks that launch web video seem to require their own unique "player" or codec to use. Even the iPod video player has failed to standardize this.
  2. Lack of a good media center solution--Despite promising results with Windows Media Center, MythTV, etc. there still really isn't a good standard solution to pumping so many different formats of video from your computer to your TV. I myself basically had to end up connecting my computer's s-video output directly to my TV (and even that required an expensive ground loop isolator to get rid of banding and video noise). Newer HDTV's with VGA inputs might help this, but you would think that someone by now would have developed a decent stand-alone box that could transfer video from your computer to your TV over your network in a variety of formats REALIABLY. So far they all feature either piss-poor performance or are VERY picky and flaky about the video formats they'll play.
  3. DRM--this is related to #1 and #2. Content providers are still ridiculously cautious about locking everything down with DRM, to the point that viewing the video over a network or every using a standard media player becomes extremely difficult. Yet another roadblock to making any one service or content provider "mainstream" enough for much popularity.

-Eric

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15775567)

In the peer to peer "revolution", the way forward was paved by these people. They weren't the first, but they mainstreamed it. Decentralized networks simply didn't exist in a fashion that had ever been applied or scaled in the way Kazaa did it, and even Bittorrent today doesnt have the level of resilience that the Kazaa supernode mesh does.

In the VOIP "revolution", the way forward was paved by these people. They weren't the first, but they mainstreamed it.

I see no reason to believe that if the same team applied the same work-ethos to video over TV that they couldn't do it, especially when transmitting audio is pretty similiar from a technical standpoint to transmitting video (Something Skype also now does), and the de-centralization technology has already been applied extensively and unarguably effectively in both Skype and Kazaa's networks.

The aim each time appears to be to develop something that takes off, brings a technology into the public consciousness, then sell it off to the highest bidder and move on to build technology for the next trend.

-Steve Gray

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (1)

uioreanu (554486) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775608)

wasn't it that centralised TV Internet distribution doesn't really work? Even with more and more broadband availability, massive events like the recent world cup could not have been broadcasted over the net.

That's where the distributed storage idea steps in. If they succeeded in de-centralising movies and the kind, why not do it now for online TV, in the hope that the viral marketing style will automatically pop in.

Just think about the scale, and the massive investment they do. I hope it's gonna be big; otherwise it shouldn't be done at all!

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (2, Insightful)

Larus (983617) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775613)

Web surfers also have shorter attention spam, as demonstrated by the length of YouTube videos. How people believe they can make money out of me-too applications is mind-boggling.

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775765)

As HomestarRunner once said, "It's Dotcom!"

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776311)

I am a big believer in TV over the web (I watch shows like Digital Life TV and Diggnation every week myself). And I really hope it becomes more normalized (esp. since I only have my apartment complex's crappy cable system to watch).

Mee too, I used to watch ess.tv in shoutcast a year ago, unfortunately about 2 day ago I went the page (I just got wireless internet at home) but it has been taken down by The Industry (that'll be the name of the movie you will see).

Of course I knew that wha they were doing was illegal, and of course I paid $5 for that, there were something like 20 channels, showing only things I liked (simpsons, lost, 24, Invader Zim, familiy guy, etc).

My question is, a lot of those programs were from Fox, and the video quality was a 4 out of 10 but I watched them (it was excellent for the cartoons).

I believe it would be very profitable and achievable if any of the big channels did something similar, just create a subscription service like that with access to different video quality depending on how much you spend!. I would buy if allofWMV became a reality. I would pay a fair price (no, I wont pay $5 to see an episdode of Lost).

But of course the greedy companies wont understand this...

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (1)

XMyth (266414) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776670)

Re #2. XBMC does this quite well actually (with the obvious exclusion of DRM'ed media). It uses mplayer internally to play video so it supports practically every format mplayer does (I think a few obscure formats may not be compiled into their build...though this may have changed).

Of course, this solution isn't for the average user but it's certainly well within the grasp of the average Slashdotter.

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (1)

XMyth (266414) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776686)

I should mention, XBMC = XboxMediaCenter. An open-source app for the XBox.

http://www.xboxmediacenter.de/ [xboxmediacenter.de]

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15778850)

Yeah, but I meant LEGALLY. Besides, XBMC is a little flaky. You get frame drops on larger files and modern h.264 files, due to the limitations of the original xbox hardware.

Why someone couldn't make something like that legally is beyond me. The software is the key, really. If you could put software on your computer that could encode on the fly using your PC's codecs and send a stream to a simple piece of hardware over a 100mbs network then you could view virtually any video that your PC could play, over the network on your TV. I'm not sure you would even have to pay any licensing fees (since it would be using your PC's codecs). I would gladly pay $200+ for such a system, if it worked reliably. The only videos that might give it troubles would be DRM'ed stuff. And it would be future-proof, since updating PC codecs is easy.

-Eric

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (1)

widesan (952292) | more than 7 years ago | (#15777081)

Disclaimer: I created WideSAN [widesan.com]


I haven't been able to get the ear of large networks, but I realized a long time ago that digital video was heading in the direction that you are complaining about. I decided to try and do something about it and created the WideSAN [widesan.com] digital video distribution method that should satisfy content owners and end users.

Competing standards and services--Every one of these new services or networks that launch web video seem to require their own unique "player" or codec to use. Even the iPod video player has failed to standardize this.


WideSAN [widesan.com] provides end users with standard AVI files containing video and audio in standard formats, playable on everything from Windows to *nix to PDAs. Since the files are based on well known standards, it's trivial to convert the video into any specific format required.

Lack of a good media center solution--Despite promising results with Windows Media Center, MythTV, etc. there still really isn't a good standard solution to pumping so many different formats of video from your computer to your TV. I myself basically had to end up connecting my computer's s-video output directly to my TV (and even that required an expensive ground loop isolator to get rid of banding and video noise). Newer HDTV's with VGA inputs might help this, but you would think that someone by now would have developed a decent stand-alone box that could transfer video from your computer to your TV over your network in a variety of formats REALIABLY. So far they all feature either piss-poor performance or are VERY picky and flaky about the video formats they'll play.


There have been some products in this area such as the Linksys [linksys.com] WMCE54AG. (This is not an endorsement, I haven't used this product.) This is a problem right now, but will be solved when the demand for such devices becomes larger. That will happen when more content (like movies and TV shows) becomes widely available and easily accessible by the masses.

DRM--this is related to #1 and #2. Content providers are still ridiculously cautious about locking everything down with DRM, to the point that viewing the video over a network or every using a standard media player becomes extremely difficult. Yet another roadblock to making any one service or content provider "mainstream" enough for much popularity.


As I stated above, WideSAN [widesan.com] delivers standard AVI files without any sort of DRM. This is what makes it unique. The reason WideSAN can provide standard files, without any obtrusive DRM, is that they are available for free. WideSAN [widesan.com] is capable of inserting advertisements into the video at download time. This enables relevant advertising to pay for the content and bandwidth, allowing the end users to download the videos for free.

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15778954)

There have been some products in this area such as the Linksys WMCE54AG

Yeah, but that is basically just a media center extender, and suffers SEVERE limitations as a result. Media center extenders require an XP media center PC (at present, only the Xbox 360 will work with Vista) and are VERY picky about what file formats they play (basically strictly-encoded wmv files and maybe some avi files, they will not play h.264 or any other mov files, divx files, or xvid files).

-Eric

Re:Great, yet another voice to add to the chatter (1)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#15778944)

you would think that someone by now would have developed a decent stand-alone box that could transfer video from your computer to your TV over your network in a variety of formats REALIABLY. So far they all feature either piss-poor performance or are VERY picky and flaky about the video formats they'll play.


This is a BIG PROBLEM. People never quite realise how big a problem it is. The problem being that video is very very big.

The video bandwidth to your display device is a minimum of several hundred Mb/sec. That's far more than you can fit on a 100Mbit network link (which manages about 10Mb/sec at best). It's equivalent to something like three or four Gbit network links running at maximum efficiency. The kind of hardware that can haul that much data is expensive - it's not something you're going to be able to cram into a small stand-alone box with today's hardware, you're looking at a full server-class system with multiple PCI busses.

So, we can either reduce the video quality (giving you that piss-poor performance - this is a common approach), or we can use lossy compression (also giving piss-poor performance because the sending box does not have the CPU power to do very good video encoding in real time, and the developers don't have the software to do it very well either - most good encoding is done much slower than real time). Some combination of these two effects is what all those first bunch of devices you're complaining about do.

The alternative approach is to say that the box doesn't compress the video stream itself - instead, it receives a video stream from the user, pre-compressed. But of course, the receiving box has to be able to decompress that. You can either do it in software or hardware. Software can decompress just about anything with xine or vlc, but needs a 'real' CPU to do it, which is quite a problem. Hardware is limited to one codec per chip you can cram in there, so you're only going to get one or two choices. That's the problem with the other set.

About the only way this is ever going to work is if hardware improves faster than people's demand for increases in video quality, to the point where it's practical to do the decompressing in software. Since bandwidth demands normally increase to consume all available capacity, this is unlikely. Otherwise, you're going to be looking at solutions that involve putting a real computer with a TV-out device (like mythtv) next to your TV system.

I suggest you consider an alternative approach: get a good projector that's designed to take DVI input, and paint one of your walls white (or hang a screen). It's more likely to work than faffing around with a TV set.

obligatory.. (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775548)

'software for distributing TV shows and other forms of video over the Web.'
I've already got one of those. It rhymes with "TitBorrent."

Re:obligatory.. (1)

DeGem (904883) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776004)

And to Think I only have a blue frog :(

Re:obligatory.. (1)

deviceb (958415) | more than 7 years ago | (#15783817)

Yes and do not forget Choutsast. Ainwap has been streaming video to my PC & TV for years.

Someone think of the tubes (4, Funny)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775551)

Don't they think of internet's tubes??

TV is okay vs. Movies & Music is not (3, Interesting)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775596)

The evolution of TV on the Web isn't likely to look like a rerun of the legal battles over film and music on the Web.

What's the difference, anyway?
They are both media being distributed on the internet, you can buy TV shows in stores and online just like movies and music DVDs/CDs.
So all media should be treated the same and the lawsuits should stop, correct?

thoughts (4, Interesting)

Tony Tez (973071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775607)

I think the twins are onto somthing good here if you've been watching the progression of break.com and youtube.com . Since the videos will be coming from the tv stations, it's just a simple distribution system.

Hosted from a single site I could see bandwidth being an issue, but I think the draw of a p2p system isn't there. People used (still use, somewhat) p2p systems because of the draw of getting music/videos for free that someone didn't want them to. This is a legit system, and people are going to want a simple download. I imagine part of working it out is using multiple servers to split the load.

One other issue if they did use p2p would be licensing, namedly that BDE/Altnet Inc. own the patent of using a file hash on a p2p-type system. Stupid, but it exists and has technically held up in court. Granted easy to design a new system around it, but a con on the side of using p2p.

So, my bet is that it'll be on a multiple-server setup. That's my take at least as of now.

So, what I expect to see in reality is a setup like break.com where the videos only come from the tv stations(likely paying the venice project), and a fairly uninventive download method, riddled with advertisements. Oh, and DRM will definitely be in there, no doubt about it.

I think it'll work and people will visit often, but I don't think it'll be ground-breaking.

Re:thoughts (2, Interesting)

costas (38724) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776555)

One possibility that no-one has mentioned is p2p streaming. I can (vaguely) appreciate the technical problems of such an approach, but: a) it would definitely be something that you wouldn't mind getting on a p2p network for, as more nodes mean better performance, b) they could offer "supernodes" strategically located to speed up paid content, and that is a true value-add, c) if anyone has the technical chops to try it, the Skype guys do.

Democracy Player (3, Informative)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775654)

There is already the Democracy Player.
http://www.getdemocracy.com/ [getdemocracy.com]
It uses all the right buzz words but didn't seem so great when I tried it.

I'll Stick With Kazaa... (1)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775734)

They already built Kazaa. Kazaa works fine. Kazaa has been rebuilt in the form of a half dozen other programs. The licensing is much easier for TV shows and the like- there is none.

Competition is GOOD (1)

JPFitting (990912) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775767)

Competition is ALWAYS good. It is frustrating when the same content is not available on all mediums however.

Who they are (1)

lonb (716586) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775830)

Skype creators = Google minus $10 billion dollars

Re:Who they are (1)

JPFitting (990912) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775880)

Don't forget the Skype now has the funding foundation of eBay.

Uhoh... (0, Redundant)

rickatnight11 (818463) | more than 7 years ago | (#15775942)

I can feel the tubes filling up with too many internets now...

Didn't they already do this with Kazaa? (4, Funny)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776121)

Plus Kazaa also had porn, which automatically makes it the better program...

Dear Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776415)

Dear Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis,

This already exists. It is called "BitTorrent".

Regards,
People Who Know(tm)

I hope it's open (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776893)

The thing is, BitTorrent doesn't do streaming. It handles static files. This system seems to be what I've been waiting for: BitTorrent for streams.

First of all, let me say, I hope this is open. More often than not, I've wished that I had the bandwidth to push out a video stream. Sort of a "make your own TV station" type of thing. I've got a dedicated box with hefty bandwidth, and audio streaming is no problem, but when you start talking about 256 or 500 kbit video, you can't go very far. And so, I hope that they allow anybody to inject content into this new system, not just those that pay the big bucks (TV networks). Although, my overall desire is simply to be able to watch SciFi (the channel), since it's not available in Canada ;)

Also, I hope that I'm interpreting this right. What I want is an application that does for network streams what BitTorrent does for static files. One user (a "seed") would send slices of the stream to various different users. Those users would then download slices from other users, recombining them into the stream. Each user would then use their available upstream to further distribute their slices (Which would expire as they became old).

There are a few bottlenecks, of course. The first is the uploader's bandwidth. If you have 640kbit of upstream, you probably won't be able to upload even 512kbit of video. Slices are going to get "lost" (Sent to a user that doesn't share it or doesn't share it fast enough), so you're going to need some replication. This could be reduced by having the seed intelligently decide who to send to, picking the fastest users that share the most to receive the initial slices. Another bottleneck is maximum swarm upstream capcity. The average video bitrate can only be something less than the average upstream capacity. This is why general streams won't work, as the P2P software itself needs to be able to bitrate scrape (or is the term bitrate shaving?) the stream to adapt to network conditions. The plan is to have a rather lengthy buffer on the seed (and a bit longer of a buffer on clients since older pieces that people are about to play are the most valuable), so you can't adapt to swarm speeds by simply lowering the encoding bitrate. You need to be able to take the already-encoded video and shave the bitrate down until an actual bitrate change can reach the end of the buffer. I know that this has been done with MPEG-2 in DVD-to-DVDR transcoders, and I assume that somebody can figure it out with a more modern codec.

So, that's essentially what I want. The seed (provider of the stream) simply uploads as much as he can, and the software figures out what kind of bitrates the swarm can support (to ensure that nobody has to buffer constantly, which doesn't work well on live feeds, sine buffering means you're going to lose data), and handles buffering in various places. I know there are P2P audio streaming programs out there already (PeerCast is one, I think), but I don't recall PeerCast doing bitrate shaving, and it was a bitch to get working. The beauty of BitTorrent was how simple it was to set up. At most, you just routed a port, and even that was optional. People click a link, the file downloads, everybody is happy. PeerCast failed in that simplicity. That's why I want something as simple for streams; somebody clicks a link on a web page, and it just starts streaming.

Skype for Mac with Video Preview (1)

mzs (595629) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776568)

Yeah I know, not really related, but I cannot believe this has not made it to slashdot yet: Preview release 1.5.0.47 [skype.com]

Maybe just big server model? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#15776645)

BitTorrent and P2P aside, maybe they'll just do a big server/big pipe and "x seconds until your stream is available" model. I mean, if the demand is that high, surely it will be easier to manage ad sales,etc. if everything's coming from one place... which should make it easier to expand as well, because you just keep adding systems until you can handle the new bandwidth, then charge for more ads, add more machines, and repeat.

Wireless (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#15777006)

Couple this service with wireless networks and we get the...

TV show Friis free space propagation

*rimshot*

Bandwidth reqs (1)

Jtoxification (678057) | more than 7 years ago | (#15777116)

Well, y'know, my real hope is that they're doing this so that they can perfect a realtime streaming video feed similar to what you'd find in Real Networks ... er, only one that would actually stream data in a manner that was condusive to the particular network ...

I simply mean my hope would be that Skype is doing this to streamline Video-over-IP, to offer Video+speaker phones along with those new WiFi phones, So you can see who you're talking to while you're talking to them --- although this wouldn't be one for the road!

Something similar already exists (1)

modir (66559) | more than 7 years ago | (#15780281)

For people who want to check it out: http://www.zattoo.com/ [zattoo.com]

It's not P2P but normal TV streaming.
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