Zattoo Launches Peer-to-Peer IPTV Service

Peer-to-peer is coming to IPTV thanks to rollout of a new service by start-up Zattoo.

Launched last week at the Streaming Media East confab in New York, Zattoo’s IPTV service promises to better field live long-format Internet television using P2P networking.

In P2P networking, content is served and stored between user computers, rather than a central server. That can cut down on transmission delays, particularly during usage peaks, because it eliminates the bottleneck at the server.

Zattoo’s first peer IPTV broadcast launched in Switzerland in conjunction with the World Cup soccer championship series now under way.

With digital-rights-management security and a network optimized for streaming video, Zattoo claimed that it can offer consumers a way to watch major TV channels in one channel. For broadcasters, it can increase the scalability of service tenfold while cutting streaming infrastructure costs. And because no part of the encrypted video is stored on the network, the system will appeal to content owners, according to Zattoo.

A big selling point for Zattoo is that by using its P2P networking scheme -- developed by researchers and software engineers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor -- it can cut costs for providers.

"Our streaming network solves that problem by reducing broadcasters' costs by a factor of 10, making it compelling for them to switch to our technology and broaden their service offering," said Sugih Jamin, chief technology officer and cofounder of Zattoo. "Also, Zattoo's proprietary P2P streaming technology ensures a video delivery and smoothness that has until now been impossible to achieve."

Zattoo’s plan is to launch more P2P IPTV channels in Europe, as well as Asia. If all goes well, that could lead to launches in North America, as well.