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    Torrent Streaming Coming to Apple TV & iOS

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    Before we start, let’s get one thing straight — torrents are LEGAL. They’re a perfectly valid way of sharing stuff over the Internet and are as legal as Google Docs or Dropbox.

    What’s illegal, though, is sharing of copyright material (books, movies, music, etc). And because the most common way to share these forms of media is through torrents, they end up getting a bad name.

    Torrents are just an instrument. What you do with that defines you, not the instrument.

    Ok, so now that we’ve established that, let’s get down to the business.

    Movies and TV shows are huge files, especially with the True HD and 4K videos that are doing the rounds these days. To share such large files over traditional cloud services would be a pain in the ‘ass-terix’.

    That’s why torrents are the favoured method of sharing these files. Because peer-to-peer sharing simplifies transfer. And now, it’s about to become even simpler.

    The Pirate Bay (TPB), recently rolled out a streaming service that is currently in beta. Just to clarify, the service isn’t being offered from TPB directly. Instead, it comes to users through a browser plugin. Called “Torrents Time”, this plugin lets you stream torrents from your browser.

    There are two distinct advantages of Torrent Time:

    1. It eliminates the need of a dedicated uTorrent/BitTorrent client.
    2. It supports casting to a TV, so that you can bypass the computer altogether and watch videos directly on your LCD. Netflix much?

    However, there are a few things to keep in mind about the drawbacks of the plugin as well. To start off, it keeps you exposed to the same security issues as a normal torrent client does. Even though you’re not using a torrent client, the plugin will effectively turn your browser into one.

    Which leads us to our second concern: You will still be “seeding” data back to the pool of others connected to that file. You will be — if only unwillingly and unwittingly — contributing to piracy.

    As for those of us from the Apple ecosystem, the news goes a step further.

    BitTorrent Inc. has just released a new video streaming app called OTT News for Apple TV and iOS.

    BitTorrent had started testing live streaming protocols as early as 2011. At that time, it was only for desktop PCs. They opened up the platform to other publishers in 2012. But that time the plugin technology wasn’t as well developed. So they required users to download a separate app in order to watch live streams.

    That need to download another app proved to be too big a hurdle for most consumers. The project was eventually shut down by BitTorrent in 2014. The company at that time started diverting funds to develop mobile streaming apps.

    Coming back to OTT News app, BitTorrent states that BitTorrent Live has been “undergoing real world tests with a number of broadcast partners and OTT News is the latest.”

    Although OTT News is one of the first apps to use Live on a public portal, BitTorrent is actively pushing for broadcasters to sign up. In a blog post, BitTorrent promises that “a solution for all live news broadcasts and live streaming from events will be available this year.

    It’s hardly been a month since Netflix came on, and already it is looking at some steep competition. For a market like India, where internet speeds are not suitable for live streaming, P2P sharing like Torrents Time and OTT might just click.

    Having said that, it is still too early to predict anything. The video streaming sector has just hatched out of the egg. For now, we’ll have to wait and see how it develops.

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