Gary Flood writes: "This is the story of how one of the West’s most respected content brands turned to technology first pioneered by pirates to offer what could be one of the most far-reaching commitments by a major broadcaster to on-demand TV. ...¶... The specifics of the project are relatively straightforward. The BBC–home of TV properties like Eastenders, The Office, and BBC World–is to market-test technology that could evolve into a something it calls MyBBCPlayer. This new service will allow viewers (U.K.-only, to start with) to download BBC content legally. This will comprise the most recent seven days of programs, plus some episodes of popular shows before they are broadcast on the TV network. Other features being discussed include a simulcast capability where viewers can record programs on one channel on the Web while simultaneously watching another major channel on their TV. Meanwhile, a portion of the BBC's vast archive of audio and video material may also be accessed via MyBBCPlayer. The software may also let viewers to buy items via the BBC Web site, which would be a big leap from the current public service features of the BBC’s online sites. ...¶... The underlying technology platform on which MyBBCPlayer and IMP are built is provided by U.S.-based firm Kontiki. The company’s peer-to-peer solution is increasingly being used as weapon of choice for delivering large media files over IP, according to Kontiki CEO Todd Johnson. 'We are unique in using a legal way to use peer-to-peer–buttressed by rights protection–to make mass consumption of these kinds of properties a reality,' he claims. ¶ The advantage of P2P for this application is that it avoids the need to pump out huge files centrally; instead, a network of collaborating computers team up to share the workload with the content neatly splitting into many component pieces, all reassembled at the user’s PC after locating the nearest and easiest nodes from which to retrieve the next needed element. This way quality of service isn’t constrained at any point during the delivery chain. 'At peak periods this means successful delivery even with relatively modest amounts of backup infrastructure,' Johnson says—acknowledging that this is exactly how 'pirate' services like Gnutella and Grokster have been moving content for quite some time. ..." Link: streamingmedia.com.