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April 18, 2005
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Downhill Battle, who are famed for file sharing awareness publicity stunts, such as sending "bad behavior" coal to the RIAA and MPAA last Christmas, have launched the center piece of their summer campaign.

BitTorrent and RSS feeds offer great potential to independent television program production. Now, with the help of programmers, the Downhill Battle crew is planning to bring the ingredients together into a simple package, helping to create an independent television network of channels.

“Anyone can broadcast full-screen video to thousands of people at virtually no cost, using BitTorrent technology. Viewers get intuitive, elegant software to subscribe to channels, watch video, and organize their video library. The project is non-profit, open source, and built on open standards,” the homepage for the project homepage, Participatory Culture, reads.

The Open Source broadcast software, known as the Broadcast Machine, will be available from June and is an extension of the group’s Blog Torrent project.

Blog Torrent, although rough around the edges, has allowed bloggers to share unrestricted video files since November last year. In comparison, Google announced only two weeks ago the intention to support video blogging, but despite Google’s size, users will ultimately suffer the limitations of a centralized system.

Content from Participatory Culture's Internet TV will be received using a desktop television application tentatively known as DTV. As with the Broadcast Machine, DTV is free and Open Source.

Video is not broadcast live, or streamed, as with traditional television. Instead, DTV acts as a TiVO.

“Subscribe to a channel and video will download in the background (Channels are RSS feeds, so there's already dozens of compatible channels out there). When a new video arrives, DTV will let you know. It's that simple.

“And it goes further: you can turn off auto-download for channels that you want to browse-- pick things that look interesting and they'll go into the download queue. To keep disk space under control, TiVO-like caching will expire videos after you've watched them to make room for new stuff. Keep anything you like and build a video library. Integrated donating via PayPal lets you support creators directly,” Participatory Culture.org explains.

As bandwidth increases in size and reduces in cost, high quality streamed video will become plausible to more people. As such, this style of broadcast may fall out of favor in the future.

However, such bandwidth is not a luxury we currently share. Meanwhile, Participatory Culture gives us this tantalizing glimpse of what is to come from their offering,

“Hunching over to watch tiny web video sucks. But watching a DVD on a laptop is pretty nice, and that's what we're shooting for. This new internet TV will be fullscreen, high quality and way more fun than commercial television.”

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Community
Technology News :: Organizations/Initiatives

Participatory Culture Foundation

Downhill Battle

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