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EU Funds P2P-Based Internet TV Standard

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the pushme-pullyou dept.

Television 113

oliderid writes to let us know that, even as the UK threatens ISPs who don't clamp down on P2P traffic, the rest of the EU is going the other way. (Here is a link with a a bit more technical detail.) Europe recently agreed to: "...spend 14M Euros to create a standard way to send TV via the Net. The project will create a peer-to-peer system that can pipe programs to set-top boxes and home TV sets. It will be based on the BitTorrent technology. The four-year research project will try to build a system that can stand alongside the other ways that broadcasters currently get programs to viewers."

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113 comments

P2P? (5, Funny)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564444)

Comcast just had a heart attack.

Re:P2P? (5, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564572)

Well Comcast doesn't do business in the EU.
Second I was involved in tv project in an EU country. They could have purchased out software for $8000 a copy so there total cost would have been under $100,000. Instead they spent six million dollars to write their own. It didn't work so they paid us to come over there and tell them what they did wrong. I think we made more money than if they had just bought the software to start with.
So I would put that down to "We will see."

Re:P2P? (3, Funny)

emilper (826945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565038)

they are just attempting to reinvent the torrent tracker.

Unfortunately for me, I am paying for it ... and don't you dare mod this funny :-|

Re:P2P? (4, Informative)

ghyd (981064) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565976)

Second I was involved in tv project in an EU country. They could have purchased out software for $8000 a copy so there total cost would have been under $100,000. Instead they spent six million dollars to write their own. It didn't work so they paid us to come over there and tell them what they did wrong. I think we made more money than if they had just bought the software to start with. So I would put that down to "We will see."

The world's most successful IPTV carrier is European, and until now "has built its profitable business by developing its own technology (IPTV middleware, DSL equipment)".

http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=142594&page_number=11 [lightreading.com]
http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2006/prod_120306f.html [cisco.com]

Re:P2P? (3, Interesting)

rundgren (550942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566102)

What does a single mismanaged IT-project in an EU country has to do with anything?
This project is a joint venture between universities, private companies and broadcasters and the TFA is about how they got a government grant from the EU.
FTFA: "P2P-Next is based on a technology called Tribler, developed at the Delft University of Technology. [..] The P2P-Next team successfully pitched the EU for funding as part of the 7th Framework project, designed to encourage Europe-wide cooperation and technical excellence. The four years of funding will be used to develop a number of enhancements to Tribler, covering live P2P streaming, an improved user interface, inbuilt friend/taste recommendations, and much more.

Re:P2P? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567788)

Well since it was a video related IT project maybe just a little. While I was working with the users they seemed to think that this project was far from atypical. The developers where very good but they had no experience with this application and just didn't bother to talk to the actual users. Maybe it will not be a disaster this time. It is just when ever the government gets involved things become a mess. The government of Canada is one of our customers. One day we sent them a set of update disks. They stopped them at the boarder. It seems that they needed the value of the disks. Well the updates where free but that wasn't good enough for Canadian customs. I asked them who would pay the tax? They said the government. Then I asked them who would get the tax money? The government... So what was the point? That really got them mad at me. After that we set up a BBS so they could call and download the update.
Oh the the US government isn't any better. We had to deal with a bid. The paperwork for out COTS software bid weighed more than fifty pounds!

Re:P2P? (0, Troll)

Raphael Emportu (1143977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570800)

As you say one country, we are entitled to a Kentucky too you know :-) Anyway it's obvious Europe wants to do things itself. We are no developing country that has to sell it's soul to uncle Sam. And given the healthy amount of suspicion, we want to use our own knowledge and learn from our own mistakes. Probably our mistakes are even better as we sometimes are able to learn from them. So 'the more' money you are referring to is called 'learning money' here and we consider it well spent. Ask Boeing or Nasa what we mean by that :-)

Re:P2P? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22570852)

"Buying software" is not enough: 100% "free" for sure (means GPL/LGPL license), "free as in freedom", and not being a "bloat" are requirements.
Not being a "bloat", because some software pieces are just "open source bloats"(java,mono...) in order to make the cost of entry unreasonable for other people or companies.
Do you think China buys A380 airbus and that's it... of course not: one condition is full technologies transfer without any conditions.
And you are totally wrong on one point: EU does not try to "make money", they are trying to stimulate software developement in EU.

Re:P2P? (1, Redundant)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564892)

As a non-American, I have to ask...

WTF is a Comcast?

Re:P2P? (3, Informative)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564956)

The biggest cable TV company in the US, known for horrible treatment of their customers and un-friendliness twoards P2P technology

Re:P2P? (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565018)

*reads the Comcast wiki*

Sweet zombie Jesus... hooray for Canada! I use my Rogers High-Speed to download television shows I can't get on Rogers, and all of their ads basically say "DOWNLOAD GIGANTIC FILES WITH OUR INTERNET SERVICE! PLEASE?!? P2P LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW!"

Re:P2P? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22568494)

That's the funny thing, you see... Comcast's ads say the same thing.

Re:P2P? (1)

madsenj37 (612413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565010)

Comcast is an ISP, cable tv and VoIP provider all in one. They charge too much for cable tv and have been known to limit P2P traffic here in the states.

Re:P2P? (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565026)

Comcast is a major US cable TV and ISP company. (In)famous for breaking P2P protocols by inserting termination bits into the stream, and currently under investigation by the FCC (the US licensing body for broadcast technology)

Not in the least (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565974)

Comcast ( and other isps ) will just charge you extra for the bandwidth, once you get used to using it.

Re:P2P? (2, Informative)

Beretta Vexe (535187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566844)

Comcast should already have an heart attack when It discover than DSL TV becoming more and more popular ( in Europe). Like it wrote in the article this technology is focus on set-top boxes. If you take the example of France all the major ISP already offer a set-top boxes and triple play ( internet TV phone ) to their 8 millions subscribers. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freebox [wikipedia.org] , http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_(internet) [wikipedia.org] ) For many European content providers the question is how to be sure their contents will be available to all those set-top box, when digital and terrestrial television slowly lost audience.

How does this compare? (4, Interesting)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564490)

There has been increasing commentary on the relative scarcity of bandwidth, and how web 2.0 (or whatever you'd like to call it) with increased video and interactive content is putting more and more strain on existing internet infrastructure. Can anyone offer insight into whether user to server or server to users to users puts less stress on internet infrastructure?

Re:How does this compare? (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564652)

Can anyone offer insight into whether user to server or server to users to users puts less stress on internet infrastructure?
I'm not sure, but reading that three times put stress on me

Re:How does this compare? (5, Informative)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564740)

Server --> Users --> Users in the 'bittorrent' model will stress the infrastructure far less. BT selects closer sources preferentially, so fewer long distance connections will be required, indicating less traffic on the backbone routes. There will be spikes in local routes, of course, but those will be transient and less likely to cause major impacts to the overall infrastructure, given that the routes will be tied up for a far shorter time than the traditional server --> client method would use.

Also, there will be less of a bottleneck on the server side, so the infrastructure will have to handle far fewer 'busy' connection attempts--lowering overhead is important.

I would note that those who are kvetching the loudest about not having enough bandwidth seem to be those who wish to offer 'traditional'-style server --> client streaming as a premium service. Everyone has a motive--so look for why the squeaky wheel is squeaking before you apply the grease.

How does this compare to free pipes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22565130)

Well two things. One the "P2P saves bandwith" is a myth as far as the end users concerned. A five Gigabyte file is going to take the space it's going to take, fast pipes or not. And in fact is going to take up more because of enforced sharing. Also why should a portion of my internet bill go towards helping out those who can afford to pipe out video content? And last multicast would have solved the problem better than faux protocols like BT.

Re:How does this compare? (1)

holyspidoo (1195369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565826)

What scares me is more and more high speed ISPs cap the upload/download limits and throttle P2P traffic.

Seeing as most high speed ISPs also have tv and phone services, am I wrong imagining a conspiracy of them not wanting P2P technologies to really get off the ground (I still consider it to be in its infancy)?

Re:How does this compare? (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565936)

It -does- appear that way, doesn't it? I wouldn't exactly call it a conspiracy, per se, but it is possible that there may be an....understanding.

Re:How does this compare? (2, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567152)

I'm not too sure about this. In reality, BT only works because not a lot of people use it. That is, not a lot on your local segment. And by a "lot" I mean as a percentage of users on your local segment.

ISPs oversubscribe bandwidth. The reason Comcast is squirming is because the average bitrate being used is higher than when they set their infrastructure up. They set up for, say, 8:1 oversubscription rates. Before BT and video downloads, this was fine and only affected geeks downloading .iso images. Now, however, people are actually USING that bandwidth they were sold -- surprise, surprise. Comcast needs to stall as long as it can until it upgrades infrastructure.

But it isn't there. We're rapidly approaching needing a 1:1 rate and the infrastructure isn't there.

In short, once a popular TV show hits, the available bandwidth will be used and it won't seem so fast. Packets will be lost and retransmission delays will occur.

Re:How does this compare? (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564856)

I'm not sure what people mean by TV nowadays. But surely multicast beats out every other method to distribute programming in the traditional scheduled sense.

Whatever happened to multicast, anyhow? (3, Interesting)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565350)

I know the idea of multicast has been around for a long time. Does anyone actually implement it? As far as I can tell, every stream I've ever watched has been unicast (although, I'm not sure how I'd know if it was multicast or not?).

I mean, I like the idea - only send the data through a backbone link once and let the router propagate copies to multiple local recipients - at least, I think that's the idea, right? Seems way more efficient than P2P which, while it will probably improve over-all speeds (and by extension, quality of service), probably also increases bandwidth use a lot too (because now, instead of my just receiving the stream, I'm also re-transmitting it to however many peers).

IPv6 multicast improvements (3, Interesting)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570284)

I know the idea of multicast has been around for a long time. Does anyone actually implement it? As far as I can tell, every stream I've ever watched has been unicast (although, I'm not sure how I'd know if it was multicast or not?).

I mean, I like the idea - only send the data through a backbone link once and let the router propagate copies to multiple local recipients - at least, I think that's the idea, right? Seems way more efficient than P2P which, while it will probably improve over-all speeds (and by extension, quality of service), probably also increases bandwidth use a lot too (because now, instead of my just receiving the stream, I'm also re-transmitting it to however many peers).

Multicast is one of the strengths of IPv6. However, nearly every last article about IPv6, including the one here recently, throws out the red herring of address space. Fsck address space. It's the least interesting, least useful and least relevant aspect of IPv6. All operating systems nowadays, except one product line, support IPv6. Drop that one product line and you can go IPv6. A good number of today's networking security problems go away at the same time, even not counting dropping that one product line.

It would make sense for BitTorrent, or a fork, to start to make use of multicast at least at the router level. Many home networks are using legacy operating systems, found on the store shelves even today, that lack proper IPv6 capabilities. Others have old LANs or routers, but connect at some point to modern IPv6 networks. No reason (that I see) the two, P2P and multicast, could not be combined.

Re:How does this compare? (2, Interesting)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565642)

I'm not sure what people mean by TV nowadays. But surely multicast beats out every other method to distribute programming in the traditional scheduled sense.
Now if they'll wrap the broadcast signal with usable markers so receivers can identify the programs, P2P participants could seed their P2P servers with whatever programs they're tuned to. As soon as a broadcast happens the programs could be available without the network having to pay for much Internet bandwidth. Mark the commercials with ID and relevance ("offer valid in region X for time period T") and those could also be properly spread also.

Re:How does this compare? (2, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565994)

I think the issue with multi-cast is that not everyone wants the same content at the same time. I'm thinking that for something like P2P or on demand TV to work, there would have to be an initial stream from a fast pipe to queue up enough of the program for the viewer to start watching it. Then the P2P protocol can kick in to provide the remainder of the content from the peers. That's pretty much how Blizzard has been pushing out their patches.

Why not have a hybrid approach? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566252)

I get what you're saying about the on-demand thing not working well with multi-cast, but during the initial publishing/broadcasting/seeding, it seems like multicast could help reduce the bandwidth (or at least, increase the efficiency of the bandwidth being used) to get the data out to the first few hundred/thousand/million peers.

I think the main hurdle for multicast right now, is that, well, don't most ISP's block multi-cast packets? Not sure why they do that - do they consider multicast traffic to be the packet-level equivalent of spam?

Re:Why not have a hybrid approach? (3, Interesting)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566726)

It seems to me that multicast is little understood by many people that are otherwise very familiar with unicast IP behaviour, even though there are very few concepts to grasp and implement to have a successful system. Plus it becomes self fulfilling - no multicast support because no-one wants it. No applications to drive demand because there's no multicast support etc. It's a shame because it works really well in my (VSAT) network environment.

Re:How does this compare? (1)

fasuin (532942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564902)

There is another P2P-TV project funded by the EU that is going to address your question. See www.napa-wine.eu In that project, there are Telecom Providers involved in, since they have the same fear you state: can the network survive the next generation high quality P2P-TV?

Re:How does this compare? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565138)

That depends on the details of the protocol, but in general, P2P is easier on the network. The overhead of coordinating the clients is tiny compared with all the video data going between users that are relatively close to one another (e.g. using the same ISP, meaning no external network traffic is being generated). It also means ISPs can offset the costs of bandwidth transfers by investing in local servers on the P2P network that cache the most popular content.

Re:How does this compare? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565364)

Gonna take a leap...

Maybe they could come over to here and help reduce the cost of broadband and cable service.

Plus, if P2P catches (or caches) on, then it could be likened to PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) rebates or cost offsets where the energy users return energy TO the supplier. In this case, with P2P going on, does that mean someday that not only the Set Top Boxes (STBs) of the subscribers but their COMPUTERS become resources of the ISP/content provider? If consumers purchase their own STBs, then they are helping the P2P/mesh network.

(I wonder if the ISPs/content providers will embed new subscriber duty clauses requiring the subscriber to not install firewalls or appliances that might en masse hinder the P2P/mesh... And, if so, what becomes of set top box security and computer security?)

Thus, EU *or* US-based P2P-enjoying subscribers should benefit (get/receive/demand) price reductions, improved service stability, and a guarantee against cable-co greed asking for annual price increases.

But, alas, the US-based lobbyists will conjure up an agenda to prevent consumer gains, I somehow suspect.

Re:How does this compare? (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565378)

That depends entirely on how traffic is routed, which peers you connect to and the capacity of any network segments you share.

If you have connections to lots of local peers, you will add bandwidth load to local routers. If you have connections to lots of remote peers you will add bandwidth load to the backbone of the network.

In some locations like the UK & AU, all last mile traffic is routed via the ISP's central routers even for traffic to your neighbors on the same exchange. In this case user to user traffic will still have some cost for ISP's.

Re:How does this compare? (1)

killbill! (154539) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566512)

They are looking at P2P as a way to externalize their hosting costs. Yeepee, free bandwidth. But it's a pipe dream. First, because residential broadband connections are highly asymmetrical (i.e. upload speeds suck). Second, because the people onto which those costs are being externalized (ISPs and consumers) won't let them use their resources for free.

The truth is that the infrastructure is not there. If ISPs don't have a direct incentive to upgrade their infrastructure, Internet Video on Demand is not going to happen.

So, the only sensible way to make it happen is to pay ISPs for caching the files.

There are, however, two benefits in developing a dedicated P2P network. The first benefit is scalability. If the server is getting hammered with requests (very common with RSS feeds, as everyone tries to download the latest episode shortly after it is added), P2P spreads the damage.
Second, there is a major benefit to using a dedicated P2P protocol "for authorized uses only": download services do get the benefits of P2P, and ISPs do get to throttle any other P2P protocol, and the content industry gets to say who's an insider and who's not. I suspect this is the compromise governments will push in the near future.

Hint: we'd better start offering an open-source network that does that before the MPAA does.

Beautiful idea (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564508)

Given that TV programs tend to be conducive to torrenting -anyway-.

Lessened distribution costs, quick distribution, and a clear case for legal P2P usage that could be potentially leveraged into something useful on this side of the pond--this is perhaps the clearest win-win situation I've seen all this week.

sounds like the smart way (2, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564516)

This is best way for the ISP to provide real service is to offload the data traffic to as low a common point in the network as possible. As long as there is a reasonably sized common data set to transfer.

I can see the networks requiring clients to have a P2P client that talks to a common local network aware host. This is the best way to handle the large data needed for video on almost demand. If the IP provider could be convinced to drop seed nodes in at balance points it would be great.

I hope this reaches the UK.. (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564522)

.. because even though we're supposed to going digital as a country, I still can't get half the digital channels where I live - even with an upgraded aerial. Being able to get TV over the internet would be a great solution to this.

Re:I hope this reaches the UK.. (1)

CnlPepper (140772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566714)

The digital broadcasts are currently running at reduced power to prevent interference with the analogue signals. Once the analogue signals are turned off the digital signal power will be increased. This should solve the reception problems experienced by a lot of people.

Misleading intro (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564566)

The UK is only clamping down on ISPs who don't stop illegal downloading of commercial music and films. It doesn't target P2P directly.

Pirate Bay (1)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565046)

I wonder if Pirate Bay will be able to sue the EU for stealing the method they use of distributing TV shows.

What are "Euros"?! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22564576)

The plural for the unit of currency "euro" is "euro". One euro, two euro, one... beeeeeeeeellion euro.

"14M Euros" must refer to eiter fourteen million euro coins of fourteen Megaeuros.

Either one sounds scary.

Re:What are "Euros"?! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22564696)

The EU would appear to disagree [europa.eu] with you.

Re:What are "Euros"?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22564930)

The European Commission maintains this website to enhance public access to information about its initiatives and European Union policies in general. Our goal is to keep this information timely and accurate. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them.
However the Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the information on this site.

This information is:

        * of a general nature only and is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity;
        * not necessarily comprehensive, complete, accurate or up to date;
        * sometimes linked to external sites over which the Commission services have no control and for which the Commission assumes no responsibility;
        * not professional or legal advice (if you need specific advice, you should always consult a suitably qualified professional).

Please note that it cannot be guaranteed that a document available on-line exactly reproduces an officially adopted text. Only European Union legislation published in paper editions of the Official Journal of the European Union is deemed authentic.


tl;dr: this information may be wrong

I go around Europe a lot, and when I'm speaking English all those of any intellectual repute (read: would get it right anyway) say "two euro".

Re:What are "Euros"?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566158)

Intellectuals get it wrong a hell of a lot. I regularly hear "someone and I" rather than "someone and me" from intellectuals. More to the point, they're often likely to insist on rules that simply don't exist. I often hear intellectuals insist that a split infinitive is wrong, or "they" is an unacceptable term for a single entity of indeterminate sex.

"euro" and "euros" are both acceptable on account of both terms being accepted terms by virtually all speakers of English.

Re:What are "Euros"?! (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564852)

Eiter? Fourteen million coins of fourteen megaeuros?

Also, it would be megaeuro, not megaeuros. The plural of "euro" is "euro". One euro, two euro... fourteen megaeuro.

Re:What are "Euros"?! (1)

takev (214836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565566)

Maybe Euros are when you talk about more than one kind of Euro coin (each country makes their own version of the Euro coin).
Like "peoples" when you talk about people from more than one community or nation.

Re:What are "Euros"?! (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571542)

No, it's "euros", just as "dollar" becomes "dollars" and "pound" becomes "pounds".

Comcast (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564592)

Gee, when this technology hits the States, it will be competition for Comcast. Wait a minute, Comcast's internet service interrupts P2P traffic.

I wonder why?

Re:Comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22565004)

Gee, when this technology hits the States, it will be competition for Comcast. Wait a minute, Comcast's internet service interrupts P2P traffic.
EU so far doesn't allow patenting software, US is switching to "first to apply for patent".

I wonder why?
Me too, also wonder if "first to apply" can dodge prior art and for that matter how many patent trolls going to crawl out of the woodwork on this. For instance, commercial customized to the viewers statistical history, no doubt as business models are allowable to patent in the US and differentiated from "on internet" and "off internet" then why not another for "customized to the consumer TV commercial over the internet ( via P2P )". EU might could care less, at least till treaty pressure brought to bear, along with all the bribes, er political donations.

"Oh what a tangled WEB we weave,,," Sir Walter Scott adapted to fit,,

Not a problem (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566044)

All of the RBOCs will adopt this VERY quickly. Each of them would love a model of on-demand tv that leads to packets only being sent amongst their network rather than having loads go out. I am sure that once EU or whoever thinks about it, they will try to allow for optimization within an area via hints from friendly ISPs.

The end of niche programming (2, Insightful)

boundary (1226600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564602)

If it's BT based, that means the popular stuff is easier to access, and the niche stuff isn't... Doesn't sound like the quality of programming is going to improve if the only teevee seeds you can access is what the majority of cretins wants to watch.

Re:The end of niche programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22565112)

I don't think this means the end of niche shows. Yes, bittorrent scales with the numbers in the swarm. So obviously popular content will download faster than less popular content. But that doesn't mean that less popular content isn't available. The music on Jamendo [jamendo.com] isn't mainstream, but all the torrents are fast and well-seeded. All you need is a few people who care enough to seed.

As long as ~someone~ else cares about the show, you'll be able to download it, however slowly. For instance I would guess that at a minimum any show distributed by this method would be seeded by the people involved in its production. So a niche show might take a day to download instead of an hour. Waiting a day is still rather less than waiting for the niche show to appear on conventional television (which would probably never happen).

Lastly, the point of P2P is to offload the high-consumption traffic from central servers. A smart implementation would involve having the client try to join a swarm, and if no seeds are found it switches to a conventional download from the central repository. (Equivalently, the central repository would always seed every show.)

Summary (4, Insightful)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564672)

oliderid writes to let us know that, even as the UK threatens ISPs who don't clamp down on P2P traffic, the rest of the EU is going the other way.
That's a bit of a silly summary when you consider the UK probably has the biggest TV streaming project out there with the BBC iPlayer, which uses P2P technology.

It's especially silly when you consider that 'the rest of the EU' in that statement actually *includes* the UK, with funding from the BBC.

Re:Summary (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22565484)

"biggest TV streaming project out there with the BBC iPlayer, which uses P2P technology."
Actually that's not quite right.
There are two iPlayers - one is a non-streaming Windows only content downloading job and has a Kontiki P2P service hiding inside it that users aren't told about until they've used up all their monthly allowence (ahh, the UK, where 'unlimited' means 50 gig...).
The other is streaming Flash video, right in the browser, using Adobe's Player.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22567094)

At least they tell you. Here in America, they've redefined "Unlimited," but even they don't seem to know what it means anymore. Next they'll tell us that we can have 50GB, but what they won't mention is that they've redefined 1GB to mean 10MB (remember the Verizon fiasco?).

"the rest of the EU"? (3, Insightful)

elvum (9344) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564684)

There are UK contributors to that project - where does this "rest of the EU" stuff come from?

can I have my money now? (2, Insightful)

Viking Coder (102287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564718)

Download Miro. Can I have my money now? Any time a group tries to re-invent the wheel, spending a ton of money along the way, offer to solve the problem by re-branding the wheel.

wow (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564728)

Wow, 14M Euro and half a dozen universities to reimplement Miro/Democracy Player and Joost. Not very efficient those Europeans, are they?

Britain (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564736)

If I'm not mistaken the British are not trying to make ISPs combat p2p traffic, they are trying to make them clamp down on copyright infringement. The fact that the two are different is of course why the law is absurd. There will be no way for the ISPs to confirm that copyright infringement has taken place without essentially logging all of their traffic (and even then it doesn't help if the transfer is encrypted ). Thus the law would effectively force the ISPs to cut the connection of people based on mere allegations from third parties, which would in turn make them potentially liable if wrongly accused people were to go to court. Essentially the law would put ISPs in a "damned if you do , damned if you don't" situation, and this has nothing to do with the protocol, it is a consequence of a law which effectively forces the ISPs to break the law in order to follow it.

Brilliant! (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564750)

Now if only I had mentioned this earlier to somebody... I could have gotten a big payout, or at least had a frivolous lawsuit.

Slovenia (1)

simgod (563459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564774)

Our national broadcaster (Radio-Television Slovenia) already provides its programme via the proprietary p2p technology called Octoshape [octoshape.com].

Why p2p? (4, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564838)

Mr Ahola said peer-to-peer was crucial because, without it, broadcasters trying to serve large audiences would likely be overwhelmed as the numbers of those watching TV via the net grew.

Translation: if the broadcaster externalizes the delivery cost, the broadcaster comes out ahead.

Unfortunately this is horribly inefficient. You're not only shifting the cost to the ISPs closer to the viewers, but you're multiplying it. A hundred viewers will receive a hundred separate transmissions of the exact same gigabytes. Not to beat a dead horse [slashdot.org], but it would be vastly more efficient to have your content be cacheable, as well as using multicast when possible.

But why care? You've externalized that; the increased inefficiency is somebody else's problem, right?

No, it's your problem, because the "somebody else" is going to come looking for you. This is why the network neutrality debate is happening. The "somebody else" is going to want to shake you down. And their view is somewhat justified: your decision to use inefficient delivery, is costing them extra money. If you were more responsible, the conflict could be avoided.

But suppose the ISPs don't shake down the broadcasters, or are unable to. (I don't know it will happen, but I can sure easily imagine Europeans winning their network neutrality war at the legislative level.) What then? They're still going to get compensation from someone. Guess who is left? The ISP users.

Kill p2p for large content delivery. Kill it now, before it gets more entrenched. You, the viewers, are going to pay for this inefficiency. Unless there's some massive technological leap that creates a wealth of truly cheap (not cost-shifted or otherwise subsidized) bandwidth, then you can't afford it. You waste, you pay.

Re:Why p2p? (2, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565166)

Or potentially the demand could drive widespread investment in the appropriate infrastructure, and research into ways to make it still faster.

If the companies serving the customers cannot handle the demand, then that's their problem. Perhaps they should not advertise services that are beyond their capability to provide?

As-is, though, it is entirely possible to build infrastructure that can handle this traffic, and to do so relatively cheaply--optical fibre isn't -that- expensive, and the plastic type is getting cheaper these days.

Re:Why p2p? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22565542)

Or potentially the demand could drive widespread investment in the appropriate infrastructure, and research into ways to make it still faster.
Sure. And if you cut off everyone's legs, there will probably be a boost in wheelchair development and manufacturing.

But we'd still be better off keeping our legs anyway, and internet users would be better off using pretty much anything other than p2p for mass distribution of data.

Re:Why p2p? (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565612)

Right, then, he that knows: if you're so sure that P2P is truly the least optimal method for mass distribution of data, what is the most optimal method of distribution, and how would you propose popularizing said method--and convincing everyone else that it is, indeed, the best way to go about things?

Why Television? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22567950)

For the mass distribution of video the best method is the oldest. TV!

Re:Why p2p? (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565168)

We can always hope that the broadcasters will kill this model, since it takes away their content presentation monopoly. How long until every TV show would be available as "seinfeld - original feed, 30 min" and as "Seinfeld - commercial free, 22 min".

Re:Why p2p? (2, Insightful)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565222)

I don't actually understand why you think p2p is incompatible with cacheable content. Let's say I run their p2p software. When I want to watch something, it downloads to my local media player from the closest p2p point. If I have already watched this show before, I am the closest server. No traffic. Or if my neighbor has watched it, he's the closest server. A single-link download, minimal traffic. For more obscure shows, I travel farther away, until I hit the original seeder. Looks like caching to me. You want to add multicast over the internet? What would that look like? Repeating a multicast is not free, and any time someone on a different subnet asks for it, it must be repeated. The only person who is better off is the original broadcaster, the backbone still carries the traffic.

Why knowledge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22565996)

OK so does anyone want to explain the differences to the guy above between P2P and multicast and hopefully don't use any cars to explain things.

Re:Why p2p? (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571566)

Plus if the ISP want's to cache, they can run their own P2P node(s). They could even configure it to freely seed to any internal peers, while blocking or otherwise limiting external peers.

Not so. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566104)

First, the last thing that any major isp wants to do is provide the caching even if more efficient. Nor would I want them to. Imagine if another Yahoo or MSN could cache your data. They would quickly turn it over to Chinese or US gov.. Instead, a better model is to move to having the ISP provide hints of its area. Then allow those that systems that are closet dish it up. Of course, that should be up to the bit torrent client, not via an intercept server (akin to a squid intercept). But if I were looking at a pure tv download, heck yeah, I am going to try and get the systems closer to me (network wise, that is).

Re:Why p2p? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566496)

This is why the network neutrality debate is happening. The "somebody else" is going to want to shake you down. And their view is somewhat justified: your decision to use inefficient delivery, is costing them extra money. If you were more responsible, the conflict could be avoided.

Your argument would apply just as well to shaking down anyone because they're causing your users to use bandwidth at all. Even if they used the most efficient technology, the ISP could still say "Your video service is causing our users to use more bandwidth. This must be stopped!"

See: Valve (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570044)

What you say is exactly true. Valve Software realised this years ago and have figured out a pretty good system (note: not perfect) for their content distribution. They have an extensive content server network [steampowered.com] which allows for easy distribution of their bits; ISPs can set up their own Steam content server caches to save heaps of bandwidth.

Nothing to see here (1)

Apoorv (1019864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22564972)

Notice the order of listing - "Ultimately, there will be P2P-Next clients for the Mac, Windows and GNU/Linux, as well as a dedicated hardware Set Top Box client." EU is anti-OSS?

Miro is Trying to do this (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565034)

Miro is already doing it. They could work more on their interface to make it friendly on the TV.

Miro! Miro! Miro! (1)

TheMCP (121589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565284)

The solution they're trying to create is called "Miro" and it's available free now. Can I have the 14 million euros now that I've solved their problem?

I can't see this becoming huge... (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565480)

I can see this surviving for some programs, for many programs, in fact. The system I envision is one where the P2P is limited to subscribers of the ISP (of course, there will be people to find out how to get around this part,) and because the traffic stays within the ISP's lines, then it helps alleviate the fears about the internet backbones being too saturated.

However, there are too many programs that people want to watch *right away.* Remember, contrary to the /. meme, loads of people watch sports events, and love it or hate it, programs like American Idol "rely" on interactive viewers. Delaying the "broadcast" by 3 hours because of availability of peers won't affect programs that people regularly record (e.g. the evening news, the latest episode of Doctor Who, etc) but it will affect programs whose main draws are that they're live and/or interactive.

Please embrace and extend, without extinguishing (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565664)

Miro is around, if it is not good enough, hire someone to fix it -- or can they not afford someone to fix it?

One to rule them all. (1)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565820)

Instead of using Usenet news, Bit-torrent or Multi-cast, why can't we combine the features of all of the available protocols?

Usenet news is not real-time, and Bittorrent is too inefficient, Multi-cast is not supported by all ISPs.

Upgrade Usenet news to handle real-time channel subscriptions, bandwidth slot allocation, add multi-cast options, and support p2p style channel discovery.

Bandwidth allocation determines what you are guaranteed to see real-time, everything else is done on an available bandwidth basis. What I mean is if you are watching a show live, it is guaranteed not to have gaps, but if you want to download 5 stream sections you missed from last week, the server might not have the bandwidth to serve you all 8 of them real-time, so would instead download them at slower speeds, allowing you to continue watching the two shows you had scheduled for real-time viewing.

Having the multi-cast part of the protocol optional allows smart ISPs to lower their bandwidth requirements, while still allowing adoption of the protocol regardless of what the hostile or clueless ISPs support.

P2P additions: This gets around channels not supported by the local ISP. So they don't want to support Usenet+? Fine, subscribe to an external premium encrypted Usenet+ server and they will be be punished by having their bandwidth support costs increase. Conglomerate the different sources together into one view similar to the way some newsreaders will combine messages from different servers.

Encryption: Not sure how to leverage this in a useful way, but should be a way to enable it. Doing it securely would negate multi-casting (I think).

Advantages:
- Backwards compatibility: Any old newsreader can still use the service.
- More efficient than Bittorrent when multi-cast is being used.
- Unlike pure multi-cast, old data is cached, allowing you to get something that you missed.
- Pre-scheduled broadcasts can be preloaded at off peak hours.
- Reruns or repeats within a certain amount of time don't need to be resent.

p2p slander attack on legal content distribution (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565886)

The fact that governments and corporations seem to think that P2P is an inheritetely dangerous technology which can only be used illegal shows how ignorant they are how little they know. P2P has as we know many legitimate uses, like many technologies. It can be used to legally distribute content. It is similar to another term, file sharing, being labelled as evil, illegal, etc, when the internet could not function without it, since every web server and mail server uses some type of file sharing. It is clearly wrong to go after entire technologies, due to a small few who are abusing them, It is like banning kitchen knives because they can be used as a weapon.

I am concerned that one reason they do not like p2p is it decentralises legal content distribution, such as open source software, and threatens the big media monopoly. P2P can be used by independant artists to distribute legally their own music, and in a way where it is within the means of anyone due to the small amount of resources it requires, and perhaps the big media companies do not like the idea of their monopolistic position being challenged. The big media companies want to be the one and only place to purchase and market music and i do not think their real concern is illegal filesharing, but instead, the idea that they no longer are in the position to control what music can be distributed and to block and allow artists access to a market, and that artists no longer have to go through their monopoly.

P2P sues reality for defamation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22569608)

Pfft! Me thinks you protest too much. I rather doubt the "defense" of P2P is because the audience has suddenly developed warm feelings towards Blizzard or LinuxISOBay has suddenly spiked due to Linux sweeping past Windows and Macs on a daily basis. Were are the daily defenders of other delivery means like Usenet and FTP? As for your last bit of nonsense. Well wishful thinking is cheap and so far reality doesn't agree with your premises no matter how much you all run them up the flagpole.

Seriously?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566012)

So many problems with this that satellite based systems can solve cheaper and easier.
If only groups came together to work with satellite providers to create more on-demand systems.

Sky in the UK broadcasts ungodly amounts of bandwidth each day and has no impact on the rest of the internet system.
There is already a good few channels that have on-demand shows, i don't see why it can't be expanded to do this, the Astra system should be able to handle it quite easily.

Why break the arms of a wheelchair user when you can give a sprinter the TV shows to deliver? (biceps captcha, haha)

BBC Also Involved in this Too (3, Interesting)

PhillC (84728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570408)

For a little more information, here's a BBC announcement about P2P-Next last week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/02/p2p_next.html [bbc.co.uk]

The most interesting quote in this short blog post is at the end:

"This isn't yet a project that TV viewers will see and it's never going to replace the BBC's consumer offerings (e.g. iPlayer); it's a test bed for new ideas, allowing us to collaborate with colleagues across Europe, and to hone and develop technology which could help shape the TV of tomorrow."

Re:BBC Also Involved in this Too (1)

peppy (312411) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570682)

The BBC along with other UK radio and TV stations are also trialing multicast with a number of ISPs:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/multicast/ [bbc.co.uk]

As other people have pointed out in the discussions above this is a much more efficient method of distribution.

You cant fight the Eu (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570872)

It is a very fortunate coincidence that those who are manning the eu bureaucracy behave like they are reincarnates of those people who have brought the age of enlightenment.

regardless of how some control freak governments here and there try to strangle them, eu protects and sees that the innovations and progress is preserved. this is just one more example.

How is this different from SQUID (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571548)

It seems all they are doing is using P2P as a cheap alternative to creating their own distributed hosting service. How is this different than using the Squid cache servers to do the same thing? Or for that matter -- how expensive is it really going to be to run 100 servers to simply act as distribution points?

I don't see the benefit of going with P2P versus going with something else. P2P has an awful lot of crap on it: porn, virus, spam, bots. Somewhat useless for a real network. I gave up on it years ago because it took forever to actually find anything and then it was difficult to even retrieve.

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