EZTV Allows BitTorrent Streaming

Jul 27, 2008
Updated • Dec 2, 2012
File Sharing, Internet

Ever since BitTorrent first appeared on the scene, it has become one of the most popular file-sharing methods around. BitTorrent is fast because each file is split into very small chunks and can be downloaded from complete and partially downloaded files. This protocol is especially popular for new releases.

The service has its pros and cons. While piracy is rampant, let's not forget that there are a lot of free, legally available torrent files as well. I won't go into that whole argument since this isn't the point of my post. Instead I'm going to focus on what seems to be the next stage in the evolution of torrent technology.

EZTV, a BitTorrent indexer for TV shows, has recently announced that it plans to use BitTorrent Video Streaming. They are using file-sharing technology from Tribler for this purpose. What this means is that you will be able to watch your video file while it is still downloading. That means no more waiting for those precious first and last chunks of files to download before you can preview the file.

To make video streaming possible, you will need a client called SwarmPlayer. This is nothing but a combination of a modified torrent client and VLC as the video player. Streaming torrent files will be provided in a special .tstream format but the player will also recognize and play standard .torrent files. SwarmPlayer is currently in beta mode.

If EZTV can actually pull this off, they could just start a new trend for the BitTorrent technology. The streaming obviously will not work if you have a slower connection but for people with super-fast connections, it will be a breeze. I expect other torrent indexers to start offering files in streaming format soon. In addition, the format will also have to be recognized by video players.

I'm not sure how well this will work. For one, streaming video takes up a lot of bandwidth although SwarmPlayer does claim to be bandwidth-efficient. Another concern is the possible legal issues that are going to show up. Would you be interested in torrent streaming? What are your thoughts on this technology? Let me know in the comments.


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  1. Andre said on December 22, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    The limitation for such a solution is always dependent on the popularity of the video. Anything that is currently popular will download fast, but anything else will slow based on its relative popularity. On the other hand this is probably not much of an issue, since the general idea is to limit the request to one server.

    Also, if this is done right then priority could be given to content that is in the closest networks. This would mean fetching from computers using the same provider first, and then from the world second. This should help alleviate some of the worries that ISPs have, regarding have to pay the upstream provider for data.

  2. marc said on September 1, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    waiting for mac version from http://www.swarmplayer.com to test it…

  3. jim sadler said on July 28, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Bandwidth should not be a problem for people using cable modems with the exception of the US where we allow the cable operators to constantly defraud the public by claiming to deliver high speed services while delivering less than 10% of the bandwidth that most other nations deliver.

  4. Spinner said on July 28, 2008 at 5:24 am

    I don’t really see the point of video streaming. I can just preview my file if I want to check it out.

  5. Rarst said on July 27, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    >The site says you need a minimum of 640 Kbytes for uninterrupted playback

    Kbits not Kbytes (if we are looking at same site – Swarm player sites says “at least 600Kbit”).

    Maybe fine for low quality stuff but no one should expect to watch anything usual at such speed. :)

  6. Cheryl said on July 27, 2008 at 11:47 am

    The site says you need a minimum of 640 Kbytes for uninterrupted playback. Of course, you will have a better idea only after you try it out.

  7. darkkosmos said on July 27, 2008 at 11:24 am

    @matt Any speed is fine, it will just take forever if the speed is 1kb/s. The idea of streaming is to not download the file but the file to be streamed will be a full sized file at a terrible speed. I suggest streaming of some other place.

  8. Rarst said on July 27, 2008 at 11:23 am

    >How much speed we need for streaming ?

    It depends… If it’s normal good quality video (not HD) it has around 1Mbit/s bitrate (roughly this indicates amount of data it takes per second of video). So you need to download that much + more to buffer ahead + utility traffic + upload if it’s torrent based…

    It can eat lots of bandwidth, that’s why there is so much complaining about online video from ISPs – and that’s talking about low-quality and highly compressed stuff like youtube.

    My opinion is that it isn’t really technology for today. Video via torrent boomed because it works on any speed – only affects how fast you get file. Streaming only favors ultra high speed connections.

  9. matt said on July 27, 2008 at 9:53 am

    How much speed we need for streaming ?

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