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Netflix may one day be run using WebTorrent technology

Netflix and other streaming services like it are crowning achievements of modern web standards and technology; able to stream pedabytes of data to consumers around the world, simultaneously and (mostly) without difficulty. However it faces the same problems as other large online entities, colossal web-traffic bills and the inerrant security issues of a centralised location. WebTorrent could fix that.

WebTorrent is a technology being developed by Stanford University graduate Feross Aboukhadijeh and it works by utilising BitTorrent's dispersed computing model, with standard internet browsing. Instead of a central host delivering all of the files to every visitor, each visitor takes on a portion of the site and helps disperse it, thereby making a site faster and more robust against attack with every visitor.

“WebTorrent is the first torrent client built for the web,” Feross said in a chat with TorrentFreak. “It’s written completely in JavaScript – the language of the web – and uses WebRTC for true peer-to-peer transport. No browser plugin, extension, or installation is required”


This is a technology that could really help larger online entities, especially those that stream a lot of data – like Netflix. As it stands, peak hours can slow these services down, but with WebTorrent, larger numbers of users just means more uploaders, which should result in a faster service for everyone, as more and more people connect.

It could even be made more local, with those on the same ISP able to stream or share content with one another without it leaving the network, corralling and managing network traffic in a much more useful manner than it is currently.

And the technology already works. A quick visit to the WebTorrent homepage has a break down of how it can work with a live demonstration of video streaming via a peer-focused network. Netflix is also actively looking into the technology and has even advertised a job position with it named in the description. This is something it will be trialling in the future.

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KitGuru Says: It will be interesting to see what copyright lobby groups think of website content being ‘shared' among streamers to aid proliferation.

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  1. Yeah and destroy my router with multiple connections and upload bandwidth. No thanks.

  2. hmm, I can see how this benefits Netflix et al, but I can’t see how it benefits the end user. Basically it turns the viewers into the content hosting cloud. So my device presumably has to store the data and my upload bandwidth gets milked, while Netflix take my subscription money and reduce their costs? No thanks.

  3. Maybe Netflix et al. would reduce rates for people participating in their CDN…. hmm… i doubt it

  4. Exactly what I thought.. I love torrents and the way they share. but netflix is not people sharing shit. It is a business. Is the price going to be reduced? I doubt it

  5. “pedabytes” ?? is that Rolph Harris’ measurement of what he can store on a late 90’s PC ?

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