Peer-To-Peer Streaming: How Offline Audiences can Watch their Favorite Shows

By Media Entertainment Tech Outlook | Friday, September 27, 2019

Streaming services are looking to reach out to audiences that have limited connectivity to the internet with the help of advanced peer-to-peer streaming technologies.    

FREMONT, CA: The use of internet has been rising significantly, popularizing online streaming. Despite the coverage that networks have today, a large section of the global audience does not stream content from on-demand platforms owing to the high cost of data. Video streaming is data-intensive, making affordability a limitation for many. For streaming service providers, this results in a loss of potential business opportunity. Even when video platforms reduce subscription prices, they cannot generate higher viewership. However, vendors now have solutions that can help them overcome obstacles and facilitate streaming even to audiences that do not have accessibility to cellular data. Peer-to-peer streaming enables users to watch shows without using too much data. Although it sounds next to impossible, with the right mix of technologies, some companies have been able to achieve the capability.  

The technology works on the principle of sharing content through personal devices but does not require verification, authentication or pairing. The same kind of approach has also been in use for file sharing between individuals, but both sender and receiver have to be connected exclusively. With peer-to-peer streaming, the method changes slightly. Local Wi-Fi plays the role of the disseminator and transfers files into a recipient's smart device after sourcing it from users that have already completed the downloads using cellular data. If the files that an individual wants to stream are not available in the vicinity, the download pauses until Wi-Fi sources are identified again. Through this approach, streaming can expand rapidly among users who do not have reliable internet connectivity but still want to access quality entertainment. Peer-to-peer streaming allows unmatched scalability because of this innovative way of content distribution that it uses. A larger audience can be reached without much additional investment in enhancing IT infrastructure.

Content platforms are already making use of cloud technology to achieve flexibility and accessibility instead of going for legacy on-premise systems. The peer-to-peer system is just an extension of the services which can give service providers entry to new, untapped markets. Some of the concerns that streaming companies might have before developing or implementing data-less streaming services include fall in video quality, lesser control and inefficiency of distribution servers. Since files are transferred from one end-user to another on local Wi-Fi, service providers cannot guarantee high-quality videos. Enabling location-based access to exclusive content also becomes difficult as broadcasters cannot filter viewers effectively. In spite of the drawbacks of peer-to-peer streaming, the markets for the technology is expected to grow as the concept becomes popular among service providers. The inherent limitations can be overcome with the development of innovative solutions and the advancement of edge-cloud technology. Be it with a third-party solution or proprietary products, streaming companies can strengthen distribution architecture and offer viewing experience to larger audiences.

Advancing streaming technology enjoys wide popularity across the globe. Established tech-based companies have entered the digital-streaming space with their platforms, as well as exclusively-produced content that caters to online viewers, and are in the midst of developing peer-to-peer streaming. Competition is at an all-time high owing to which, stakeholders are pitching for extensive innovations. In the quest to thwart adversaries, streaming companies have been adopting cloud and edge technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. Introducing the feature of peer-to-peer transfer in streaming content can be the best strategy for companies targeting increased user-base. With mobile-edge technology at the core, new capabilities are poised to transform streaming forever.