BitTorrent Preps February Launch
The site will feature music, music videos, TV shows, movies, and gaming –- all delivered via the BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol.
BitTorrent spokeswoman Lily Lin says the company's Website will undergo a redesign, featuring "first-run movies and TV shows" when it launches later in February.
"It's going to be a totally different interface and look and feel," Lin says. "It's going to be different than anything else out there."
BitTorrent already features movie trailers, music videos, and casual games on its site.
In March, BitTorrent said its store would launch by the end of 2006. But the process of signing up content owners to sell their video via a legitimate P2P network took longer than expected. (See BitTorrent to Open Video Store and BitTorrent Video Store Delayed.)
BitTorrent was persistent and eventually signed up some 20 such deals. In the summer, it picked up Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. Then in late November, the startup announced arrangements with a group of content owners including 20th Century Fox, Nickelodeon, and MTV2.
Music industry veteran Nick Tangborn has been brought in from the music part of CNET's Download.com to manage music and video content deals with the record labels.
Could the company go one step further? One source thinks BitTorrent could be developing a consumer box that would bring BitTorrent movies to TV sets. Lin says her company will partner with hardware vendors but is not working on its own branded set-top box.
BitTorrent is perhaps the best known of a wave of companies trying to legitimize and profit from peer-to-peer file sharing. Another is Azureus, a company whose founders developed the BitTorrent software package of the same name. Azureus hopes to offer high-definition video on the Internet, using software that for now is being called Zudeo.
Yet another example is Oversi Networks Ltd. , which is developing P2P video servers. (See Oversi: Set-Tops Next Stop for P2P Video.)
Despite P2P's reputation as a vehicle for pirated content, many believe it remains the most efficient means of distributing large files. BitTorrent uses a method known as swarming, where small pieces of the file are gathered from the PCs of users who already have the content, then reassembled on the downloader's PC. Swarming is far faster than a download from a single server.
BitTorrent the protocol was created by Bram Cohen in 2001; he and partner Ashwin Navin created BitTorrent the company in 2004. In December, the company announced a $20 million funding round, its second, from Accel Partners and DCM - Doll Capital Management . (See BitTorrent Bags $20M.)
— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading