Hollywood looks to BitTorrent for distribution

Hollywood is anxious to embrace BitTorrent as a method of movie distribution, according to the father of the Internet, Dr Vinton Cerf.

Cerf, who wrote the original TCP/IP protocol and is currently chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), told a roundtable on Internet governance in Sydney this week he had recently discussed peer to peer file-sharing program BitTorrent with at least two interested movie producers.

"I know personally for a fact that various members of the movie industry are really getting interested in how to use the Internet--even BitTorrent--as a distributed method for distributing content," Cerf said. "I've spoken with several movie producers in the last month."

However Cerf was adamant the entertainment industry still did not understand the online environment. "They are only just now starting to come to honest grips with the possibilities of using the Internet," he said.

The ICANN chairman was particularly enthusiastic about pointing out what he said was a flawed perception about the Internet's ability to deliver movies in real-time.

"People think of video and they think of real-time, watching it as it's coming out [downloading]," he said. "But most video doesn't have to be watched in real-time. With PRVs and those other things it doesn't have to be watched in real-time."

"It doesn't matter whether it's delivered by a real-time video stream, or a trickle-charge thing that drops packets into a file like BitTorrent. Who cares? At some point you get the whole file and then you watch it. You don't care how long it took to get a file before you watch it."

Cerf concluded that too many people got caught up in the real-time functions of the Internet, rather than realising only a very small number of Internet applications actually needed real-time capabilities.

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