BitTorrent Live leverages the much maligned BitTorrent peer-to-peer technology to stream video content more efficiently, or at least in a manner that reduces the exceptional load video streaming can place on the content originator. Clients can discover other clients viewing the same content, and stream that content from other clients in a peer-to-peer fashion, distributing the load of broadcasting video streams, and reducing the need for infrastructure such as Content Delivery Networks.
This is especially interesting when combined with features such as Local Peer Discovery, which aims to increase overall network efficiency.
Local Peer Discovery is a mechanism by which peer-to-peer (P2P) applications can discover other clients consuming identical content within a local network. Communication can take place far more efficiently between two machines on a LAN than with machines out on the internet… Effectively any number of machines would be able to watch on a local network, while only one copy of the playing video would need to enter the network from the outside.
BitTorrent Inc. have published a technical article for those interested in the implementation details.
The new protocol demonstrates the innovative potential of peer-to-peer technologies beyond familiar and sometimes controversial applications such as file-sharing.