Microsoft brings you… live television

8 07 2007

Interesting post from Erick Schonfeld, Microsoft Research and UK company Skinkers are testing p2p software called LiveStation for streaming live television to PCs (a Mac version is also being developed) using Microsoft Silverlight. The technology was first unveiled at NAB in April and is due for full release in October.  There’s nothing particularly new about streaming live TV over the web: in the UK Channel 4 already simulcasts a proportion of its primary network schedule via the 4oD service; ITV is working on similar plans for ITV Broadband; the BBC began live simulcasting of its News 24 network in May; last week Zattoo announced the launch of a UK localised version of its service (which re-transmits TV channels with a 1-second delay); whilst this is something JumpTV has been doing for a while.  But using p2p as a means for live streaming is a more efficient means of distribution bandwidth-greedy TV. Microsoft, Skinkers and any broadcaster partners they eventually sign up will need to do much to educate ISPs on the benefits of this technology, given that regular access to it by an end user on a fixed cap broadband plan will likely result in additional usage charges.

Here’s an interview with Matteo Berlucchi, CEO and co-founder of Skinkers, plus some coverage on arstechnica.

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