Thursday, October 30, 2008

Filesharing by subscription

Since long, I've been a huge fan of podcasts, to the point that I don't listen to much music during the days, there's just too much interesting podcasts I want to hear. This is all fine and dandy, except for video. I still get the Swedish news through "podd-tv", but what's offered as pod-tv is pretty limited, both because it demands a lot more resources to distribute and it seems content owners are a lot less relaxed about releasing video for download than they are about audio.

So, what to do if you want to follow The Daily Show, your absolutely friendliest and most amusing newscomedy show ever, you have a computer connected to the TV, you're hopeless about watching shows as it airs but there is no-one willing to offer what you want for legal download? Well, you circumvent it. If you imagine a podcast, that's an "RSS feed" but except for only being able to download a file linked from each item, your software downloads a .torrent metafile which is then used to download the actual file using P2P Bittorrent. It's called broadcatching, it is a super-cheap way for anyone to distribute content without buying all the bandwidth which would be necessary to provide the content to each of the clients. It's still a little bit messy, not many programs provide the feature, but it's very flexible and useful.

To get this straight, this won't plug into iTunes or your podcast software, but currently into your Bittorrent client. Several articles online suggest using either of several RSS plugins for Azureus / Vuze but since that was crashing and has become super-bloated since I last touched it, I prefer µTorrent even if that means running it under Wine (which to my surprise works excellently!).

What you need to broadcatch is of course some RSS feeds, for example those of the Pirate Bay. Pick the one of the category you want to watch, and here's the little quirk from regular podcasting, create a filter to catch only the content you're interested in, and just relax as your favourite shows arrive while you're sleeping! (Some shows you want to activate the downloads manually for, when there are duplicate or bad releases)

In other news, again proving Bittorrent as a strong option for distribution of large content when you just can't afford (or want to spend your money on something better) to pay for all the bandwidth, check out how the newly released Wikipedia Schools Edition DVD shares the load as it is released on Bittorrent.


Martin said...
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Martin said...

Nice post!

Do you know any Mac clients that support this?

Carl-Johan Sveningsson said...

Thanks! :-) Well, uTorrent under wine or probably worse - Vuze, I've run them both. Otherwise there's clearly a lack of understanding for how useful filtered RSS can be for bittorrent, but maybe it's gonna come. Otherwise my new favourite OS X torrent client is Transmission

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