×

BitTorrent Unveils Live TV Streaming App, Plans Paid Service for This Summer

BitTorrent is finally turning its live video streaming technology into a real product: The P2P company announced a new live TV streaming app called BitTorrent Live Tuesday, which will be available for the latest generation Apple TV as well as Mac OS computers this week.

The new app carries free live streams from a total of 13 niche programmers. BitTorrent Live VP of Media Erik Schwartz told Variety that the company also aims to get bigger cable networks on board, and offer paid subscriptions as early as this summer. “The goal is to really build a virtual MVPD,” he said.

Schwartz readily admitted that BitTorrent Live’s launch package isn’t exactly mass market fare; the 13 channels include such networks as Clubbing TV, FightBox, Newsmax TV, Heroes TV and TWiT. Some of these may reside in the three digits on cable, while others aren’t carried by traditional operators at all. However, he defended the decision to launch with less-popular fare with the fact that BitTorrent is able to offer it as a free tier, something that’s absent from other new TV streaming services. “Sling TV charges you from channel one,” he said.

Part of the reason that BitTorrent can offer free streaming is that it is using P2P technology similar to the one used by its file sharing client to distribute its streams. That way, the company doesn’t have to pay for content delivery networks, and live streams are also less likely to fail under high demand — something that regularly happens to live streamed events on other services, including a Facebook Live Obama interview this week.

BitTorrent has been working on live streaming for many years, and first started testing it on PCs back in 2011. Earlier this year, it tested P2P-based live streaming on the new Apple TV with a temporary election coverage channel. Schwarz said that media companies could use BitTorrent TV to launch similar temporary “pop up” channels without having to invest in streaming infrastructure as well.

BitTorrent TV wants to offer its first slate of paid channels this summer. This may include small bundles as well as individual channels, or even pay-per-view, said Schwarz. The biggest focus will be on content that warrants live viewing, including news, sports and events, but Schwarz said that the company may eventually do deals with the likes of HBO and AMC as well: “We will carry them, but we’re not in a hurry to carry them.”

BitTorrent TV is just the latest attempt of BitTorrent Inc. to reinvent itself as a media company. The San Francisco-based company still makes most of its money with its legacy file sharing client, but has in recent years put a bigger emphasis on other projects, including file synchronization tools for enterprise users and media distribution for musicians and filmmakers. Last month, BitTorrent announced the appointment of two new CEOs and the launch of a Los Angeles office and production space to further that transition.

More Digital

  • New AirTV Mini improves cord-cutting experience

    Dish’s AirTV Releases New Android TV Streaming Stick

    Dish’s AirTV subsidiary is releasing a new streaming device designed to combine over-the-air broadcast TV with the company’s Sling TV service and other streaming services. The new AirTV Mini streaming stick looks similar to a Fire TV stick, and is powered by Google’s Android TV software. The AirTV Mini stick is 4K-capable, allowing consumers to [...]

  • BMI Promotes David Levin to Senior

    BMI Promotes David Levin to Senior VP of Digital Licensing

    BMI today announced that David Levin has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Licensing, effective immediately. In his newly expanded role, Levin is responsible for all of BMI’s domestic licensing and revenue generation, encompassing radio, television, digital media, cable, satellite and general licensing.  Levin, who will oversee teams in New York and Nashville, reports [...]

  • James Murdoch

    James Murdoch Invests $20 Million in The Void, a Location-Based VR Startup

    James Murdoch, former CEO of 21st Century Fox, has invested $20 million in The Void, a startup specializing in location-based virtual reality (VR) experiences, Variety has confirmed. The funding comes through Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, a holding company that Rupert Murdoch’s younger son established with $1 billion in proceeds from the sale of his stake in 21CF [...]

  • Norah O'Donnell's 'CBS Evening News' Isn't

    Norah O'Donnell's 'CBS Evening News' Isn't Just For TV Viewers

    Norah O’Donnell will make her “CBS Evening News” debut, of course, on TV. But that doesn’t mean CBS News isn’t mindful of the new ways in which news aficionados get their information in an era of smartphone alerts and viral tweets. When O’Donnell launches a new era at the venerable newscast this week, complete with [...]

  • Hernán

    Conquistador Series ‘Hernan’ Snagged by Azteca TV and History Channel Latin America

    In the wake of its streaming rights acquisition by Amazon Prime, epic series “Hernan” has sold to Mexican broadcaster Azteca and pan-regional pay TV network, The History Channel, which have jointly acquired the series for their respective platforms. Produced by Mexico’s Dopamine, a Salinas Group unit, and Spain’s Onza Entertainment, the eight-episode mega-series marks the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    FTC Approves $5 Billion Fine Against Facebook for Privacy Violations

    The Federal Trade Commission voted to fine Facebook around $5 billion for violations of the FTC’s consumer-privacy rules, according to multiple media reports — the biggest privacy-related fine in the commission’s history. The $5 billion figure may be a record-breaker, but it represents less than Facebook reported in net profit ($5.43 billion) for the first [...]

  • Weeknd

    The Weeknd's 'Can't Feel My Face' Crosses 1 Billion Views on YouTube

    The music video for “Can’t Feel My Face” became The Weeknd’s third video to cross 1 billion views on YouTube.  The singer achieved the feat before with “Starboy,” with more than 1.5 billion views, and “The Hills,” with more than 1.3 billion views.  The video was released in 2015 and directed by Grant Singer, who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content