Monday, November 23, 2009

P2P 2.0

Oh no, just as we thought it was safe to watch internet video, P2P has reared its ugly head again, but perhaps this time with purpose.

P2P was a dismal failure for both the BBC iPlayer and for Channel4's 4OD, being quietly dropped from both deployments; now it's making the Sky Player service unusable (unless anything has changed since I dropped that service a couple of months ago). You can find out more about why P2P 1.0 didn't work here.

But it's back, with another classic iptv moniker attached - multicasting. Now, multicasting - sending one stream to many viewers as opposed to one stream to each viewer - has issues of its own, the main one being that it requires IPv6 to function - and the internet world is still stuck with IPv4.

Adobe's new Flash Player - a radical re-working of the world's most popular browser plug-in - provides support for P2P multicasting. To those of us who live and breathe internet TV, this is actually quite exciting, especially as a server, rather than a client technology (I've long been a fan - and customer - of Velocix, recently acquired by Alcatel, who take a similar technological approach within their CDN network).

Here's a full presentation on the technology from Adobe's Matthew Kaufman: