Thursday, February 28, 2008

European P2P Standards Effort

A European organization called P2P-Next, consisting of 21 organizations, has received a €14 million grant from the European Union to carry out a research project aiming to identify the potential uses of peer-to-peer (P2P) technology for Internet Television. The partners, including the BBC, Delft University of Technology, the European Broadcasting Union, Lancaster University, Markenfilm, Pioneer and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, intend to develop a Europe-wide Internet television distribution system, based on P2P and social interaction.

The organization states that “The P2P-Next project will run over four years, and plans to conduct a large-scale technical trial of new media applications running on a wide range of consumer devices. If successful, this ambitious project could create a platform that would enable audiences to stream and interact with live content via a PC or set top box. In addition, it is our intention to allow audiences to build communities around their favourite content via a fully personalized system.

This technology could potentially be built into Video on Demand (VOD) services in the future and plans are underway to test the system for major broadcasting events. We will have an open approach towards sharing results. All core software technology will be available as open source, enabling new business models. P2P-Next will also address a number of outstanding challenges related to content delivery over the Internet, including technical, legal, regulatory, security, business and commercial issues.”

I think that this effort could be very important in delivering Internet content to set-top boxes supporting TVs. A standardized approach that addresses video encoding and content security, among other issues could be a significant enabler for Internet delivery to the TV. A standard content security system could go a long way toward making the Hollywood studios more comfortable with offering their content over P2P networks.

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