BitTorrent Live app to bring peer-to-peer live video to Apple TV

BitTorrent on your TV? It’s on the way. BitTorrent on Tuesday announced BitTorrent Live, a streaming app coming to Apple TV this week, with videos covering topics like news, sports, music, and tech. According to a blog post, the app will expand to Android, iOS, and OS X in June, and Windows later on.

Unlike the BitTorrent protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing, or the BitTorrent Sync app that streams media from your computer to your mobile devices, BitTorrent Live doesn’t rely on files that you already have or that you sniff out on the Internet. You just open BitTorrent Live and start watching content streaming from one of the channels.

The initial lineup on the free tier includes TWiT, Newsmax, and 11 other channels I’ve never heard of, like NUsicTV, Pursuit Channel, and Filmbox Arthouse. BitTorrent says more channels will come later, including a subscription-based tier, ad-supported channels, and pay per view. The app wasn’t available on the fourth-generation Apple TV’s App Store at the time of this writing, so we’ll follow up with a hands-on when it launches.

Why this matters: BitTorrent built the app on its own sharing protocol, also called BitTorrent Live, and so the paltry channel selection could be because this is more or less a demo of how live peer-to-peer streaming would work. (In fact, OTT News is already using the BitTorrent Live protocol in its own mobile app.) It’s possible BitTorrent Live could compete with live-streaming apps like Facebook Live and Periscope, giving smaller content creators easy tools for live-streaming to the masses across platforms. Or the technology could be used for streaming live TV from major creators, like the Sling TV streaming service.

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