BitTorrent Inc. just released a new video streaming app called OTT News for Apple TV that promises live video coverage of the New Hampshire Primary with a team of journalists hired by the company for this very occasion. But the bigger story isn’t about Trump or Bernie, for once: OTT News uses peer-to-peer technology, instead of a traditional content delivery network, to stream live video to consumers — which may just be a first for Apple’s living room streamer.
BitTorrent released the app with little fanfare for tvOS and iOS Tuesday, as well as for Android earlier this week. That’s because the app is very much a test case for the company, which has been working on P2P-powered live video streaming in varying capacities for more than seven years.
BitTorrent Live, as the initiative was initially called, was originally the brain child of BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen, who early on realized that live streaming depended on very low latencies, something that existing P2P protocols couldn’t deliver. That’s why Cohen rewrote the P2P technology for BitTorrent Live from scratch.
BitTorrent started testing live streaming for desktop PCs in 2011, and invited publishers on its platform in 2012. But the technology required users to download a separate app in order to watch live streams in t heir browser — too big a hurdle for most consumers. BitTorrent eventually shut down its existing efforts in 2014 to instead focus on mobile live streaming.
OTT News is the first app to officially make use of this new approach, but the company is already looking for additional partners to white-label its technology for their own apps. A blog post published Monday promises that “a solution for all live news broadcasts and live streaming from events will be available this year.”