Generally overlooked last week at NAB2007, the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters, was the demonstration by Microsoft Research and partner Skinkers of LiveStation: Interactive live TV on the PC that works! The Gartner Group’s Allen Weiner explains:
Certainly not as physically large as the display at the large broadcast engineering booths at the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB2007), but of perhaps greater significance, is LiveStation. LiveStation is an effort from U.K.-based Skinkers, a firm that builds and manages RSS delivery ecosystems. It is alpha-testing a new system for delivering an unlimited number of live TV channels to the desktop. The solution is software-based and is built on top of Pastry, a peer-to-peer technology developed by Microsoft Research primarily in its Cambridge, U.K., labs. This flavor of P2P is secure and robust, requires less server-side infrastructure, because of its ability to optimize the network, and is suited for live streaming, while most P2P applications are focused on the on-demand streaming market.
The demo of LiveStation, which showed a good-quality picture from the BBC in the midst of a bandwidth-hogging tech show, has another thing going for it – its ability to leverage Microsoft’s new Silverlight platform to create “content experiences” based on LiveStation’s streams. Has interactive TV finally found its way to the consumer?
There’s more by following the link including that Microsoft is an equity partner in Skinkers. If you want to try LiveStation for yourself, you can apply here.
S. “Soma” Somasegar (Microsoft Corporate VP, Developer Division) posts in his weblog that Microsoft Research has developed peer-to-peer file sharing technologies codenamed “Avalanche” (details in the post) and that the Developer Division “has a pilot project under way using Avalanche to download CTP bits for our Most Valuable Professionals.”
Commercial use of P2P for file distribution seems to be all the rage these days. Just recently, both Warner Bros./AOL and NBC Universal/Wurld Media announced commercial services where, in order to get video files, the end user must participate in a P2P network. There’s nothing the matter with that, but one wonders how many simultaneous P2P clients the average user can tolerate.