As a technology widely used by pirates, BitTorrent gets a bad rap, but it doesn’t deserve it. BitTorrent Inc. has been trying to prove this for years, releasing useful syncing solutions, photo apps, and Web browsers. And now the company is behind a new way of looking at election news.
OTT News was released for the Apple TV yesterday, following releases on both iOS and Android earlier in the week. Here OTT stands for both Over The Top — the term the acronym is usually associated with — as well as On The Trail, given its focus on election coverage.
BitTorrent is calling OTT News a “test case for live streaming,” in a blog post on the company’s website. While most streaming apps rely on content delivery networks (CDNs), OTT News uses BitTorrent Live, which is built to allow large audiences to view low latency streaming video without the need to rely on a CDN. This allows for teams with much smaller budgets to reach wider audiences.
The OTT news team of Alicé Anil, James Reinl, and Doc Stodden have been providing coverage of the New Hampshire primary. A mix of live coverage and pre-recorded segments have been aired, and the team covered the primary results live on Tuesday.
While the older BitTorrent protocol is being used for streaming by Popcorn Time and Torrents Time, the protocol’s inventor Bram Cohen realized that it wouldn’t be capable of the low latency needed for live streaming. As a result, Cohen rewrote the code for BitTorrent Live from scratch, Variety reports.
OTT News is only the beginning, according to BitTorrent. The company says that “a solution for all live news broadcasts and live streaming from events will be available this year.”
While OTT News originally launched as invitation only — presumably to ensure that there wouldn’t be any unforeseen technical difficulties as the audience grew — the app is now available to all via the App Store and Google Play, as well as the Apple TV App Store.