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Netflix Pondering Peer-to-Peer Technology For Streaming Video 114

An anonymous reader writes "The folks at Ars Technica have discovered evidence that Netflix is actively researching the possibility of using peer-to-peer technology to stream its videos to its customers. The evidence: a one-month old job listing seeking a software engineer with extensive experience developing and testing large-scale peer-to-peer systems. In addition: Netflix's admission of wanting to 'look at all kinds of routes.' A recent blog post by BitTorrent's CEO explains how, in a peer-to-peer architecture, 'Netflix traffic would no longer be coming from one or two places that are easy to block. Instead, it would be coming from everywhere, all at once; from addresses that were not easily identified as Netflix addresses — from addresses all across the Internet.'" In other Netflix news, the company has "reached an agreement with three smaller cable companies that, for the first time, will let U.S. subscribers watch the streaming video service’s content as though it were an ordinary cable channel."
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Netflix Pondering Peer-to-Peer Technology For Streaming Video

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  • net neutrality... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @11:39AM (#46848023) Homepage

    I'm going to charge Netflix for the rights to transit my network.

    • And they will pay you by not raising the price by another dollar.
    • Netflix is a really innovative company. No doubt they would develop a pricing model to reflect when a customer optionally participates in peer-to-peer sharing.
      • Netflix innovation will be directed to help its bottom line. Paying Comcast's ransom actually makes it difficult for a Netflix competitor to gain foot hold, and creates an incentive for Comcast to put up road blocks to upstarts.

        It is entirely possible Netflix would come up with a compensation model that lets people with high bandwidth connections to "voluntarily" participate in an "incentive" program and provide buffering services, traffic origin obfuscation services. But if FTC/FCC enforces strict "truth

        • How much of a television show is the same for every show? I think at least 10%. The opening theme song and closing credits take at least 4 minutes of the 43 minutes for each hour long show. Just by allowing a local cache for those times would save a huge amount of transmitted data. Than there are movies like "Blue is the warmest color". I am sure there are plenty of people who have stopped the movie just after the hot sex scenes. I am sure that they will start them over again and rewind them to the be

          • They won't give away any content for free. They are trying the Skype model. Netflix will store a highly fragmented bits of streams encoded and indexed in the box you supply. They will read and write and use it as cache to dish out to your neighbours. You will have no idea of what is in your netflix box.
      • So many Netflix customers watch via Roku / ATV / Chromecast / smart TV / Blu-Ray player... all devices with no local storage. Most of them barely have enough transient memory to handle buffering, and that's it. P2P generally requires you to have some storage space, where various uploads can be initiated as needed... it's even more necessary for streaming video P2P, which is time sensitive, as compared to raw file downloads. So I don't see how Netflix can really do anything more than offload a small fra
        • We use a Roku box, yes, but if Netflix will give us a free subscription I'd host a reasonable peer buffer/streaming service on a Linux box for them. $10/month is probably less than Google would charge for similar in my area.

    • Yes, that does appear to be the best way to punish the cable conglomerates!

    • by romiir ( 874939 )
      I couldn't agree more with this comment. If it is OK for netflix to pay network providers for peering/colocation, then we should be able to get reimbursed for hosting a netflix node even as a customer.

      Here is some food for thought:
      A bunch of cable tv channels were dropped from directv a few times fairly recently. If level 1 providers take a card from big cables deck; by offering offending ISPs just had a taste of dark fiber and all customers jumping ship they might change their tune. I'm sure other ISPs
  • I guess ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @11:44AM (#46848041)

    ... its time to revise the famous quote []:

    "The Net interprets Comcast as damage and routes around it."

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @11:46AM (#46848053)

    At least on new GoT nights this would really help.

    • by alen ( 225700 )

      HBO uses limelight for a CDN

      the people having problems are the one's using other people's logins and are probably on a different ISP and it's probably either overloading the CDN boxes or streaming from the wrong CDN box. i watch GoT via my cable box with no problems

  • by Toshito ( 452851 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @11:46AM (#46848055)

    Seriously, I already have problems keeping my connection below my monthly cap (60 GB combined up/down). I don't want to share it with other subscribers.

    • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @11:58AM (#46848097)

      This is why the stupid caps are stupid. Peering like this would actually offload the data throttling points and be very good at helping your supplier balanace the load. But because of the billing strategy the supplier is actually discouraging things that help them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      60gb is inhumane. Why would you even bother with Netflix? $8 for a few hours of streaming?

      • My down+up cap is 35GB and I still use Netflix. I'm grateful that they added a third, lower-quality setting for us Canadians.

        But if they don't offer an opt-out for P2P streaming, I'll have no choice but to cancel my Netflix subscription.

      • Things could be worse. You could be me. Rural area with only option satellite internet with a 10 GB cap.
    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      60??? Who is your provider? I though ATTs 120 GB cap was criminal. Yours is an abomination. I feel bad for you.
    • Seriously, I already have problems keeping my connection below my monthly cap (60 GB combined up/down). I don't want to share it with other subscribers.

      They're just exploring the option and there is no indication that if they ever did implement this that it would become mandatory for everyone -- you could most likely turn it off. No need to jump on the walls yet, so calm the fuck down.

    • Maybe the studios should separate licensing from distribution. You buy a license to play a certain DRM'd file for $1. Then you pay to stream it in real-time from Netflix for another $1, or bittorrent it for free - legally, since it won't play without the license. (This is all based on an imagined scenario in which DRM works and/or people choose to obey the law, neither of which is entirely true, but current systems have the same assumptions).
  • Unless they are going to reimburse customers for the extra bandwidth that the use because they are also transmitting, all this is going to do is inconvenience a lot of people as they hit their monthly caps a lot sooner... because they could now transmitting a lot of what they receive, which basically means that counting both uploading and downloading traffic, their usage will almost double.
  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @12:18PM (#46848171) Homepage

    back in the early/mid 2000's for my radio station when my Shoutcast provider disapeared. I used [] and there was also later Peercast. The streamerp2p actually worked ok but this came at a time when I lost interest in streaming with alll the laws and OMFG those geeks in their basements with their radio stations are starving the artists hysteria was in full swing. Too bad had my station up to 24 people listening at a time.

    I was going to start streaming video using Peercast with their p2ptv but never got around to that.

  • In lots of places in US Internet is Metered. Even in my neck of the woods I start getting nasty letters at 300 GB down, let alone up. Most people use very little upload bandwidth, and you can be the ISPs would notice if they started bitorrenting all their Netflix traffic. This isn't going to happen.
    • In lots of places in US Internet is Metered.

      Good thing then that metered Internet outside of US isn't as popular. Don't just stare at your own navel and realize that Netflix works in quite a handful of countries these days.

  • []
    None of the stupid irritating restrictions of the paid services.

  • ISP can just lower upstream to 1/10th what it is now, except toward "good" websites. It'll happen, just watch, this is America we're talking about.
    • by allo ( 1728082 )

      so the netflix client shares fair and the video starts lagging. the user blames his isp.

  • Yet another answer for "Why is my hard drive going constantly?"
    • by grcumb ( 781340 )

      Yet another answer for "Why is my hard drive going constantly?"

      Don't worry, they're going to name the executable 'System Idle Process'. :-)

  • I think this is more a bargaining tool to negotiating better rates at the toll booths. I'm not sure how practical this would be, but it does at least give them an option.

  • That'd really piss off ISPs. Want to shakedown netflix for money to pay for priority lanes? Tada, now you've got huge downloads with accompanying uploads coming from distributed locations and using normal web ports. Talk about a nuclear option.
  • as mentioned on torrentfreak, some shops use bittorrent for updating servers, for example, twitter and facebook:

    According to Tom Cook of Facebookâ(TM)s systems engineering group, the daily code updates for Facebook used to cause a lot of trouble until they discovered BitTorrent.

    âoeBitTorrent is fantastic for this, itâ(TM)s really great,â Cook said. âoeItâ(TM)s âsuperduperâ(TM) fast and it allows us to alleviate a lot of scaling concerns weâ(TM)ve had in the pastâ

    source: [] ....while they MAY be looking for p2p stuff for spreading video around... it is also possible job applicants would just be doing stuff behind the scenes, like theyve been doing elsewhere.

  • Fuck P2P, you still have a one to one load in the network. use multicast.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.