Australian media start-up Blust has built what it says is the world’s first fully legal peer-to-peer file-sharing network, as Hollywood studios begin to realise the limitations of subscription streaming services such as Netflix.
GT Technologies, led by veteran telco executive Rhett Sampson, offers a patented box called Blust, featuring what he envisions is a wealth of content including true-definition 4K, UHD and HD movies, TV, AAA games, and virtual reality at any internet speed.
It’s a bold vision; Mr Sampson says the Blust box is the world’s first legal, open, Windows PC media platform and the most secure content distribution platform in the world. He says he’s capitalising on a pent-up demand in Australia for high-definition content of which viewers have largely been deprived.
According to Mr Sampson, his platform overcomes the limitations of the internet and current technology to deliver premium quality content — one with full resolution and no buffering — over existing average global internet speeds. And that’s an issue of particular interest in Australia, given we recently slumped to 51st on the Akamai global internet rankings.
The only other devices that purportedly offer similar capabilities are BitTorrent boxes doing illegal file sharing, and they aren’t as efficient. Blust gets around internet speed problems by using a combination of peer-to-peer and Content Delivery Network (CDN) technology.
“The classic statement we had from one of the studios was that the word ‘peer’ makes us nervous, but we’re coming with you,” Mr Sampson told The Australian.
“The market is starting to realise that firstly there are these very fundamental engineering problems that need to be solved, and secondly everyone makes more money on sell-through and rental than subscription services like Netflix.”
Mr Sampson ran an unsuccessful Kickstarter project in 2014, raising just $20,000 of a $1.8m target, but has now signed a deal with mwave.com.au, Australia’s largest online PC retailer, to sell Blust and get the device into Australian homes. GT Technologies says it is in talks to deploy Blust with a large Australian telco and a large media company. Mr Sampson said if the internet video streaming boom had shown anything, it was that there’s a very real challenge at the data end, with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality data files and executables bigger than even 4K movies, especially if they contained a render of the 2D movie.
“As well as significant bandwidth, AR and VR executables need significant processor and graphics grunt, traditional distribution via CDN may not cut it, so innovative solutions such as peer to peer have been used in gaming and should be applicable here. This would work well for in-cinema distribution and updates. Security of course will be critical.”
Mr Sampson pointed to a recent panel of industry heavy hitters at the NAB conference in Las Vegas, which said the Home TV experience was already better than cinema.
“Cinemas can’t do HDR and many aren’t even 4K; AR and VR will just make the experience even better for home and harder for cinemas,” he said.
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