BitTorrent today has announced that it is bringing a new app to the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV that allows users to stream a variety of videos and music, mostly from independent and generally unknown artists and filmmakers. The app doesn’t let you access the insurmountable amount of illegal content available on various torrent sites, but rather on-demand streaming content that’s perfectly legal.
The app, called BitTorrent Now, will act a lot like other streaming services. Users will open the app and have the ability to choose from all kinds of content. Some of it will be free, some will be paid, and some will be ad-supported. but all of it is entirely legal and will have been uploaded by its creator.
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In addition to supporting standard video and music, BitTorrent says the app will also support VR content and generally any other formats, as well. Essentially, what BitTorrent the company is trying to do is distract its name from the reputation that has become associated with torrenting and work towards offering a platform where independent artists can share their work.
This is BitTorrent Now: a platform that’s powered by awesome people like you. This is last record store; live from your TV, from your phone, from San Francisco, to Moscow, to Sao Paulo. And this is distribution built by and for creators; the Internet’s original, and outside, voices.
BitTorrent is using its Bundle format for the BitTorrent Now app, which basically means that users can be required to do something, like sign-in or pay, before viewing the file. Bundles allow creators to have greater control over their content, where it is shared, and who sees it.
At launch, BitTorrent Now actually isn’t even using any peer-to-peer technology like torrents generally do. All content is being streamed directly from BitTorrent’s servers to the end-user. The company says that this is temporary, however, and that it is working on developing peer-to-peer components (via The Verge).
Obviously creators could upload their content to a service like SoundCloud, YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook, but BitTorrent says that the biggest selling point of the platform to creators is that there are no restrictions. They can upload whatever they want, in whatever format they want.
“One of the best things that we’ve seen over the course of building this project, and one of the things that makes me mad optimistic about creativity as a whole, is that some of the most streamed and most downloaded projects are from independent collectives,” says Straith Schreder, BitTorrent’s VP of creative initiatives. “Being able to shine a light on some of these creators [and giving them] agency to connect with a passionate global base of film and music fans is really important.”
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