[opendtv] Re: The New Laws of Television

  • From: Kon Wilms <kon@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 22 May 2005 19:47:54 -0700

On Sun, 2005-05-22 at 21:28 -0400, Tom Barry wrote:
> To really make this sort of "hyperdistribution" (neat word) work 
> over the Internet I still think they should make a version of Bit 
> Torrent that works well using multicasting.  For popular shows 
> this would still commercial allow appointment TV with vastly 
> decreased bandwidth requirements.

This makes no sense. You propose using the internet to duplicate what
you can already do with a broadcast station, i.e. mass distribute
content to 1~n receivers -- without any of the associated multicast
routing problems along the way. 

Why not use the more likely candidate in a more ingenious way.

You can't just say 'it will be faster if we stuff multicast in there'.
No, it won't. It may even be worse. Bittorrent's strength is in the fact
that clients have different blocks, which allows them to swarm content
amongst each other. Your data rate remains high because the file is the
network and as peers complete blocks the network topology for the file
in terms of bandwidth changes, so it is possible to constantly optimize
the download rate amongst peers. With multicasting, this is not the case
since all clients (should) get the same blocks, and arrival time (or
even arrival) is not guaranteed. You may have a network outage at a
point in the network and subsequently request a chunk from a neighbor.
The chunk starts transmitting and at the same time the outage is
resolved. What do you do now? How do you cope with packets not stomping
each other? Multicast routing protocols won't solve these issues for
this particular distribution model.

> This wouldn't be full HDTV but should at least compete well with 
> the current efforts from the broadcasters and would work already 
> for many broadband customers.

Compete with them using what content?

> Of course all this assumes the cooperation of the prime content 
> owners, which is maybe unlikely.  Otherwise it will probably have

You answered your own question.
> to wait a bit for better anonymous hyperdistribution technology 
> and continue to use pirated media at first.

Better than what? You can already bittorrent anonymously using Tor or
other anonymous proxying and services.

Everyone screams 'lets bittorrent' like its 1997 and the dot bomb boom
is upon us, but why is it that no-one brings up the two problems all of
these unregulated distribution mechanisms share:

1. You *cannot* guarantee any arrival time for the content on the
'network', so it makes the distribution mechanism useless for prime time
content unless the content owners start seeding themselves. Which
defeats the purpose. A cheap distribution mechanism for content owners?
Think again (and definitely not if the movie or show is sub-par)!

2. You *cannot* guarantee any delivery bitrates or content availability
on the actual 'network' (even after you have seeded it), because the
delivery of content is based on the popularity and willingness of the
users to seed the network after they have completed their downloads.
This means that content owners need to provide hubs to keep the network
seeded. Which once again, defeats the purpose. Reruns? Forgedaboutit!

The original article is just another hype-fest that doesn't take into
account the technical implementation problems faced here. More kool-aid,


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