BBC goes torrent

Written by Ryan Garside

December 21, 2006 // 12:17 p.m.

Tags: #azureus #bbc #bit #bit-torrent #file #news #online #p2p #sharing #shows #stream #televisions #torrent

The BBC is teaming up with Bit-Torrent client, Azureus, to make hundreds of television shows available to people worldwide.

This means that users will be able to download popular shows like: Little Britain, Red Dwarf, League of Gentleman, Doctor Who and Fawlty Towers no matter where they are for a small fee. What’s most impressive is that the BBC isn’t going to just dip its toes into this project but is instead going to offer hundreds of shows from the very start. This gives the service a much better chance of taking off and becoming successful.

The move by the BBC is a response to the huge increase in websites that offer free downloadable TV series. Currently, by using video-share websites like YouTube, you can easily watch BBC shows like Match of the Day for free. A quick search on Google will find other sites which offer downloadable BBC television on demand for free. By enlisting the help of established Bit-Torrent software creator Azureus, which already has over 130 million downloads of its bit-torrent client, the BBC hope to distribute high quality video in a completely legal manner.

How exactly the content will be secured is unclear at the moment and the biggest fear for both the BBC and Azureus must be that the high quality downloads will end up being available on the illegal file sharing networks. If the BBC is to secure the files with something similar to the Windows Media Player DRM they could be making a big mistake. As soon as someone hacks it, they will be able to rip all of the content and then make it available on the net for free. Brave or stupid BBC?

Currently there has been no announcement on the pricing system. Expect a similar price list as to what Apple uses for distributing television. A couple of pounds for a TV show or something similar. The BBC will actually be distributing the shows through Zudeo, a spin-off program powered by Azureus.

Will you use this service to download BBC classics? Which show would you most like to see on this service? Let us know in the forums.
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