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BitTorrent introduces beta of live P2P streaming service

BitTorrent has introduced peer-to-peer live streaming designed for real-time reporting.

Dubbed BitTorrent Live, the new service is meant "for anyone with mobile video or webcams, for anyone in the moment, on the ground, or on the front lines; for everyone with the need to break news or break it down in real time," the company said in a blog post.

The new system "eliminates bandwidth, cost, and infrastructure as broadcast barriers," BitTorrent said. "The more people that tune in, the more resilient your stream."

The system allows broadcasters to stream from a webcam or app like Flash Media Encoder directly to viewers, who, in turn, serve as miniature broadcasters, amplifying the original feed across the web. Users must download the BitTorrent Live plugin to watch videos streaming on the platform, and can surf the BitTorrent site to find channels to watch.

The San Francisco-based company has been working since November on the closed beta program, partnering with digital creators and broadcasters to test the system. "We've demonstrated scaling and improved stability during our invite-only period," BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen said in a statement. "[We] are excited to open our service up to anyone who wants it."

Live streaming is now available, though still in beta mode. Interested users can sign up now to become a BitTorrent Live Broadcaster.

The service will compete with the likes of Ustream, Livestream, and Twitch TV, none of which have BitTorrent Live's P2P advantage.

Early this year, BitTorrent unveiled a new service, dubbed Sync, that lets users synchronise personal files across multiple devices, similar to cloud-storage services like Dropbox, Google, and Amazon. As of January, the service was in the pre-Alpha stage, and the company was looking for volunteers to test it out. Online applications for enrolment in the program are still available.