Wednesday, December 29, 2004

BitTorrent, Internet TV, and personalization

Clive Thompson at Wired has an interesting article on BitTorrent, the filesharing software that has tens of millions of users and generates about a third of all internet traffic.

The entire article is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight this excerpt on using BitTorrent for watching TV:
    BitTorrent is something deeper and more subtle. It's a technology that is changing the landscape of broadcast media.

    "All hell's about to break loose," says Brad Burnham, a venture capitalist with Union Square Ventures ... BitTorrent does not require the wires or airwaves that the cable and network giants have spent billions constructing and buying ... BitTorrent transforms the Internet into the world's largest TiVo.

    If enough people start getting their TV online, it will drastically change the nature of the medium ... The whole concept of must-see TV changes from being something you stop and watch every Thursday to something you gotta check out right now, dude. Just click here.

    What exactly would a next-generation broadcaster look like? The VCs at Union Square Ventures ... suspect the network of the future will resemble Yahoo! or - an aggregator that finds shows, distributes them in P2P video torrents, and sells ads or subscriptions to its portal. The real value of the so-called BitTorrent broadcaster would be in highlighting the good stuff, much as the collaborative filtering of Amazon and TiVo helps people pick good material.
In a flood of information, we need focus. With tens of thousands of TV shows, we need personalization to filter, to help us find what we need.

See also my earlier post, "Will somebody please fix TiVo Suggestions?"

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