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Netflix Pondering Peer-to-Peer Technology For Streaming Video

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the instantly-generating-the-world's-biggest-population-of-leechers dept.

Movies 114

An anonymous reader writes "The folks at Ars Technica have discovered evidence that Netflix is actively researching the possibility of using peer-to-peer technology to stream its videos to its customers. The evidence: a one-month old job listing seeking a software engineer with extensive experience developing and testing large-scale peer-to-peer systems. In addition: Netflix's admission of wanting to 'look at all kinds of routes.' A recent blog post by BitTorrent's CEO explains how, in a peer-to-peer architecture, 'Netflix traffic would no longer be coming from one or two places that are easy to block. Instead, it would be coming from everywhere, all at once; from addresses that were not easily identified as Netflix addresses — from addresses all across the Internet.'" In other Netflix news, the company has "reached an agreement with three smaller cable companies that, for the first time, will let U.S. subscribers watch the streaming video service’s content as though it were an ordinary cable channel."

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114 comments

net neutrality... (5, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 3 months ago | (#46848023)

I'm going to charge Netflix for the rights to transit my network.

Re:net neutrality... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 3 months ago | (#46848095)

And they will pay you by not raising the price by another dollar.

Re:net neutrality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848445)

"Pray I don't alter it any further."
-- Darth Netflix

Re:net neutrality... (1)

Tontoman (737489) | about 3 months ago | (#46848123)

Netflix is a really innovative company. No doubt they would develop a pricing model to reflect when a customer optionally participates in peer-to-peer sharing.

Re:net neutrality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848243)

Comcast is enforcing a 300GB cap in my area. They might someday enforce that everywhere. That's about how much we use. In order to stay under 300GB, I can't seed things too much. I have to leech. I can't use netflix peer to peer as that would cause me to go over our cap. I don't think they would pay you enough to cover the extra fees from Comcast. I don't how where all that internet goes. I can't really put logging software on the router, because that would be an invasion of privacy to everyone else in the house.

Re:net neutrality... (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 3 months ago | (#46848267)

It might be interesting to see where they measure the cap. Would transfers to/from your neighbor on the next IP up count?

Re:net neutrality... (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46848427)

most of my TV is netflix and i'm under 100GB a month
unless you're a family of couch potatoes watching TV 10 hours a day, streaming doesn't use that much data

Re:net neutrality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849043)

Having a cap in data usage is absolutely fucking ridiculous these days. As a European I feel really bad for you Americans about your ISP situation. The fact is, your poor network development is reflected all over the world in certain services.

Re:net neutrality... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 3 months ago | (#46850043)

Not sure how P2P would work anyway, since it would require storing files locally and that's not the netflix way (or the way of any streaming service) and would probably cause the content providers to freak out at the thought.

Re:net neutrality... (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 months ago | (#46848259)

Netflix innovation will be directed to help its bottom line. Paying Comcast's ransom actually makes it difficult for a Netflix competitor to gain foot hold, and creates an incentive for Comcast to put up road blocks to upstarts.

It is entirely possible Netflix would come up with a compensation model that lets people with high bandwidth connections to "voluntarily" participate in an "incentive" program and provide buffering services, traffic origin obfuscation services. But if FTC/FCC enforces strict "truth in labeling" law, "6 Mbps means 6 Mbps, unlimited means unlimited" customers might save more.

But the ground reality is, if you steal a dollar or two from million people you can get away with the crime. It is when you steal a million or two from one or two people you get into trouble. So in the end customer apathy, lack of interest in saving a few dollars a month would doom the enforcement efforts.

Re:net neutrality... (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | about 3 months ago | (#46849625)

How much of a television show is the same for every show? I think at least 10%. The opening theme song and closing credits take at least 4 minutes of the 43 minutes for each hour long show. Just by allowing a local cache for those times would save a huge amount of transmitted data. Than there are movies like "Blue is the warmest color". I am sure there are plenty of people who have stopped the movie just after the hot sex scenes. I am sure that they will start them over again and rewind them to the begging of the sex scene to watch them over again. Allowing them to save parts or all of a movie would again save tremendous amounts of bandwidth. But this would mean giving away content for almost nothing and would probably destroy the dvd movie business of both renting and selling them. If I have a local cache of any content than I should be able to watch that content off line. If and when I got enough content, I might decide to quit netflix and just watch that content over and over.

Re:net neutrality... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 months ago | (#46849967)

They won't give away any content for free. They are trying the Skype model. Netflix will store a highly fragmented bits of streams encoded and indexed in the box you supply. They will read and write and use it as cache to dish out to your neighbours. You will have no idea of what is in your netflix box.

How many Netflix customers *can* P2P? (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 3 months ago | (#46848807)

So many Netflix customers watch via Roku / ATV / Chromecast / smart TV / Blu-Ray player... all devices with no local storage. Most of them barely have enough transient memory to handle buffering, and that's it. P2P generally requires you to have some storage space, where various uploads can be initiated as needed... it's even more necessary for streaming video P2P, which is time sensitive, as compared to raw file downloads. So I don't see how Netflix can really do anything more than offload a small fraction of their overall server traffic.

Re:How many Netflix customers *can* P2P? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848867)

Well how much do you think P2P "broadcasting" requires as opposed to P2P "downloading" of the entire copy. So you can still be an effective p2p broadcaster with limited transient memory.

Re:How many Netflix customers *can* P2P? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 3 months ago | (#46849921)

Not really. Most embedded devices have just enough RAM allocated for streaming buffers to hold 10-20 seconds of video, max, and in practice it may be less if they are near the limit of their ISP bandwidth. That's hardly useful for a *real time* P2P streaming system.

Re:How many Netflix customers *can* P2P? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 3 months ago | (#46849309)

We use a Roku box, yes, but if Netflix will give us a free subscription I'd host a reasonable peer buffer/streaming service on a Linux box for them. $10/month is probably less than Google would charge for similar in my area.

Re:net neutrality... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 3 months ago | (#46850013)

Yes, that does appear to be the best way to punish the cable conglomerates!

raised finger to networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848033)

Can you see the finger raised at the US networks that got the non-netruality ruling?

I really don't see why the networks themselves were not pushing for this. With massive amounts of "common" content things like netflix can really offload top level traffic by peering.

Re:raised finger to networks (2)

overshoot (39700) | about 3 months ago | (#46848125)

I really don't see why the networks themselves were not pushing for this. With massive amounts of "common" content things like netflix can really offload top level traffic by peering.

Well, to begin with both cable and phone companies would (much) rather you paid them for video service separately.

Then there's the fact that P2P takes them out of the position of selling access to you while removing their regulatory fig leaf of citing (inflated) numbers for adding bandwidth.

And that's just the first two.

Re:raised finger to networks (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 months ago | (#46848981)

Well, cable would like you to subscribe to their cable tv stuff separately, but for video over the internet, they don't want you to pay for it separately, because then the people who don't want it, won't pay for it. what they want is for you to pay for access to the "internet", where by the internet, they redefine it to mean "Comcast Internet" [or whatever company they are], and then every company that wants to be able to access their "customers", they also need to pay Comcast Internet to be able to available for Comcast subscribers to visit them.

Re:raised finger to networks (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46848251)

netflix should have done it in the first place
as it is now my kids watch the same cartoons and shows and it's the same data streamed over and over

or set up a home CDN type box where you can cache some shows to stream locally on your home network

Re:raised finger to networks (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#46848613)

Seems they might also want to look into the possibility of boxes that download in advance. I'd be happy to 'subscribe' to some of the content, or queue up for download as it would ensure optimal quality regardless of bandwidth and QOS. I know that is a pretty big departure from the simple server client approach they have built upon, but it would open new doors.

Re:raised finger to networks (1)

witherstaff (713820) | about 3 months ago | (#46848791)

I've been happy with Plex and chromecast for home media streams.

Re:raised finger to networks (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#46848901)

The VAST majority of Netfiix's weaknesses come from copyright giving absolute control of venue and all the little dirty bullshit chicanery that comes with it. If we could loosen that, a whole new world of services could be utilized on the internet, including personal CDNs

sync data between data centers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848039)

could it also be used to just sync data between data centers and not really be full peer to peer?

the draconic powers that provide the content to netflix probably dont like it that you have a copy of a product on your drive even if its encrypted.

Re:sync data between data centers? (1)

RichMan (8097) | about 3 months ago | (#46848067)

Now that netflix has exclusive shows that release an episode a week (and the whole seasona t once) there is going to be burst traffic on specific shows. It is going to really help top level bandwidth if they can offload the most popular content.

Having low level peering on popular content is good for the network as whole.

Re:sync data between data centers? (1)

CrankyFool (680025) | about 3 months ago | (#46848283)

That's what I thought at first too -- not so much between DCs (or regions, really -- Netflix is located in the AWS cloud), but rather between the CDN cache boxes (OpenConnect Appliances) located in various ISPs. Right now, they all have to download their data from central locations, but P2P would allow OCAs to chat to each other directly.

However, if you look at the job posting, it mentions part of the job duties being "liaise with internal client and toolkit teams to integrate P2P as an additional delivery mechanism" which seems like it's pretty squarely about enabling P2P on the client level.

Re:sync data between data centers? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46848639)

the draconic powers that provide the content to netflix probably dont like it that you have a copy of a product on your drive even if its encrypted.

Encrypt the video stream with a symmetric cipher and change the symmetric key at each keyframe. Then stream the cipher keys when the video is played, which allows far less data use per repeated view. It'd probably be enough BS to fool the studios into thinking it's unbreakable, as this way it'd be impossible to brute-force the whole thing before Earth becomes uninhabitable.

I guess ... (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 3 months ago | (#46848041)

... its time to revise the famous quote [wikiquote.org] :

"The Net interprets Comcast as damage and routes around it."

Re:I guess ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848461)

Whoever came up with the idea of using p2p to bypass isp throttling seems to be laboring under the assumption that the ISPs will be blacklisting Netflix and anyone else who doesn't pay the racket. Why shouldn't it be based on a whitelist? Facebook, YouTube and a few other consumer fodder sites will be accessible at speeds comparable to today, anything else won't. So downloading from your peers won't help you.

Re:I guess ... (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46848649)

Facebook, YouTube and a few other consumer fodder sites will be accessible at speeds comparable to today, anything else won't.

Can Comcast whitelist all the speed test sites that pop up?

Re:I guess ... (1)

qbast (1265706) | about 3 months ago | (#46849439)

Why would they do it ? They will whitelist most popular ones and if customer complains about speed on different speed tested, they will blame the site and advise to test on whitelisted one.

Re:I guess ... (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46850207)

Here are results from ten different speed test sites showing that I'm not getting what I pay your company for. They can't all be wrong at the same time, can they?

HBO GO needs this for GoT (4, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | about 3 months ago | (#46848053)

At least on new GoT nights this would really help.

Re:HBO GO needs this for GoT (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46848263)

HBO uses limelight for a CDN

the people having problems are the one's using other people's logins and are probably on a different ISP and it's probably either overloading the CDN boxes or streaming from the wrong CDN box. i watch GoT via my cable box with no problems

There goes my subscription (2)

Toshito (452851) | about 3 months ago | (#46848055)

Seriously, I already have problems keeping my connection below my monthly cap (60 GB combined up/down). I don't want to share it with other subscribers.

Re:There goes my subscription (4, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | about 3 months ago | (#46848097)

This is why the stupid caps are stupid. Peering like this would actually offload the data throttling points and be very good at helping your supplier balanace the load. But because of the billing strategy the supplier is actually discouraging things that help them.
*sigh*

Re:There goes my subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848103)

I don't have any monthly cap, as does a lot of people, I don't care uploading if I get better quality of service in exchange. Or just any service at all in fact; Netflix is not in my country yet due to two factors: tv/film industry and delivery issues.
It seems that Netflix is currently negotiating with ISPs here (and one might take an exclusivity) to deliver its content. With a peer-to-peer technology this would likely be unnecessary. Just see how well popcorntime works !

Re:There goes my subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848247)

It is trivial to block/throttle P2P. It Netflix uses a certain port, that can be easily dealt with, either QoS, injecting fake RST packets, or just blocking P2P under the TOS agreement stating that no machine on the ISP's net can be a server, and by using P2P, a machine becomes a server. Just the ToS change would put a kibosh to this since legal rulings have always (not almost always... ALWAYS) ruled in favor of the entity forcing the user to click on the "accept" button.

So, all Comcast will do is just add a router ACL or two, or if Netflix thinks it is clever and used a different port, P2P traffic has a distinct signature. I've worked in places where people thought they were getting away with encrypted P2P, but after a little bit, they ended up getting fired on the spot once there were enough logs from BlueCoat to justify the termination.

Trivial stuff. The ISPs own the horizontal and vertical in legal and technological means.

i asume you are from argentina (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848273)

i tried popcorn time , and it works well with more than 6mbits, but not under that.

Re:There goes my subscription (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848153)

60gb is inhumane. Why would you even bother with Netflix? $8 for a few hours of streaming?

Re:There goes my subscription (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#46848193)

My down+up cap is 35GB and I still use Netflix. I'm grateful that they added a third, lower-quality setting for us Canadians.

But if they don't offer an opt-out for P2P streaming, I'll have no choice but to cancel my Netflix subscription.

Re:There goes my subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848227)

who is your provider? is neither teksavvy nor netfox in your area? netfox, in particular has some *very* affordable unlimited plans.

If you're with one of those wireless providers, then I sympathize and understand, so disregard the above...

Re:There goes my subscription (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#46848301)

Nope, there is only two options available: Télébec or no Internet at all.

Re:There goes my subscription (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 3 months ago | (#46848537)

Nope, there is only two options available: Télébec or no Internet at all.

Well, look on the bright side. At least it's all in Canadian French so you there's no reason to use your internet, you can't understand it. :-)

Option 3: move (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46848657)

Option 3: Find a job in an area that has better Internet options and move there.

Re:Option 3: move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849611)

I did that. I moved to an area with an awesome cable ISP.

Comcast bought them.

Re:There goes my subscription (1)

hambone142 (2551854) | about 3 months ago | (#46848291)

Things could be worse. You could be me. Rural area with only option satellite internet with a 10 GB cap.

Re:There goes my subscription (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 3 months ago | (#46848213)

60??? Who is your provider? I though ATTs 120 GB cap was criminal. Yours is an abomination. I feel bad for you.

Re:There goes my subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848241)

lol - how is life in the third world?

Re:There goes my subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848253)

You'll know soon enough, in case you haven't figured that out yet.

Re:There goes my subscription (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 3 months ago | (#46848257)

Seriously, I already have problems keeping my connection below my monthly cap (60 GB combined up/down). I don't want to share it with other subscribers.

They're just exploring the option and there is no indication that if they ever did implement this that it would become mandatory for everyone -- you could most likely turn it off. No need to jump on the walls yet, so calm the fuck down.

Re:There goes my subscription (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 months ago | (#46848709)

Maybe the studios should separate licensing from distribution. You buy a license to play a certain DRM'd file for $1. Then you pay to stream it in real-time from Netflix for another $1, or bittorrent it for free - legally, since it won't play without the license. (This is all based on an imagined scenario in which DRM works and/or people choose to obey the law, neither of which is entirely true, but current systems have the same assumptions).

Oh! (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#46848089)

So now that the FCC drops net neutrality, Netflix is going to play ball with the ISPs? They've basically been DOSing the ISPs local loops for nearly a decade, blaming the ISPs and now they have the brilliant idea that maybe they should address the insane amount of bandwidth they're eating up? How much do you want to bet they stop being such assholes about peering agreements now as well? Maybe a client that caches data to? Who came up with these brilliant cost saving ideas?!?!

I fully support net neutrality but Netflix is the primary reason the FCC dropped it. I would have much preferred that they passed regulations requiring content providers to work in good faith with ISPs to ensure they were using data in the most efficient way possible (which is how almost everyone else behaves naturally) but instead we had this profit hungry company back the FCC into a corner until they took the easy way out. Instead of sharing the sandbox, it's now whomever has the most moneys sandbox. Thanks netflix.

Re:Oh! (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 3 months ago | (#46848155)

So now that the FCC drops net neutrality, Netflix is going to play ball with the ISPs? They've basically been DOSing the ISPs local loops for nearly a decade, blaming the ISPs and now they have the brilliant idea that maybe they should address the insane amount of bandwidth they're eating up? How much do you want to bet they stop being such assholes about peering agreements now as well? Maybe a client that caches data to? Who came up with these brilliant cost saving ideas?!?!

I don't think you understand how Netflix works -- they don't push movies over my broadband connection without permission. Instead, they send me content that I asked for -- which is the entire reason I have a high speed internet connection in the first place. If I wasn't watching streaming video, instead of a 25mbit cable internet connection, I'd have a 3 - 6mbit DSL connection for less cost.

If the cable company can't afford to handle the traffic with their infrastructure, then they ought to increase their rates. I'm happy to pay the cable company a fair price for internet service, but I don't want to pay it in hidden charges for all of the bandwidth heavy websites I use, I want to see exactly how much internet service costs so I can shop around to different providers and to make it more likely that a competitor will step in as the price of service increases.

They've basically been DOSing the ISPs local loops for nearly a decade

Why do you think the local loop was the bottle neck? Netflix speeds increased literally overnight after they paid Comcast to upgrade the internet connection at the peering points, no local loop upgrades needed.

Re:Oh! (5, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 3 months ago | (#46848173)

They've basically been DOSing the ISPs local loops for nearly a decade, blaming the ISPs

BULL, FUCKING, SHIT!!!

The ISPs customers paid for internet access. They sent out requests for packets and got them back in return as the internet is intended to work. Netflix did the exact same thing on their end of the pipe. Netflix and their consumers are NOT responsible for managing how their ISPs provide the service they've already PAID for. If the ISPs oversold capacity and delayed infrastructure improvements then that is their cross to bear.

Here's a simple thought experiment: If Netflix was replaced with 1000 independent video streaming sites producing the same aggregate volume of traffic would it be fair to single any one of them out to degrade service? Would it be fair to extort them all to double dip on both ends of the pipe? As a lazy ISP who would you then blame for your failure to provide the services your customers already paid you to provide?

Re:Oh! (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46848279)

the internet has been using CDN's and direct peering for years to push video and other data intensive content
netflix not only used to pay a CDN to deliver their content, limelight, but as soon as they let their CDN contract expire they came out with super HD

go google it, it's all on industry sites and blogs. every video provider is responsible for their content delivery and netflix screwed their's up because they spend too much on content.

the way some of the dummy cord cutters are ranting comcast should be running fiber to my house if i decide to set up a cat video business because it's on the internet and comcast is responsible for everything on the internet

Re:Oh! (1)

bmo (77928) | about 3 months ago | (#46848295)

dummy cord cutters

Cable company (probably Comcast/TW) shill spotted.

--
BMO

Re:Oh! (-1, Troll)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46848355)

time warner cable can't broadcast every channel in HD. lots of them look like crap and yet something like 1% of people out there demand every single netflix stream come in crystal clear

someone call the whaaaaaambulance

Re:Oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848563)

So because cable companies suck when it comes to doing their job in providing TV service , we should excuse them for sucking at their job when it comes to internet service. That makes perfect sense.

Re:Oh! (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46848595)

i'd rather pay $100 a month for TV/Internet or $50 for just internet and get my current service than pay twice as much because a small minority demand more bandwidth

i'm at 15/1 now and time warner upgrades the network every year or two which is fine by me. just because a few people want to have 4 people streaming netflix in HD at the same time doesn't mean i have to pay for it

Re:Oh! (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 months ago | (#46850011)

95% of your Internet cost has nothing to do with bandwidth. $1 will get you about 1.3TB of transit, assuming evenly distributed over the entire month. Bandwidth is the smallest portion of your bill. If you really want to save money, tell your ISP to drop customer service, that's costs ISP magnitudes more money than bandwidth.

Complaining about "heavy" Internet users causing prices to be higher is like complaining that your new car comes with an owners manual and you don't need one so you should get it deducted from the price.

Re:Oh! (5, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 3 months ago | (#46848181)

If I buy 10 mega bits up and down. I expect the ISP to deliver that or I call it fraud.

Re:Oh! (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46848459)

there has never been a consumer ISP service with guaranteed bandwidth 24x7 for every single customer

Re:Oh! (1)

DJ Particle (1442247) | about 3 months ago | (#46848739)

Actually, Comcast tech support has told me point blank that I'm guaranteed at least 12M down and 3M up. Actual speeds right now are about 18M down and 4M up.

Re:Oh! (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 3 months ago | (#46848883)

Actually, Comcast tech support has told me point blank that I'm guaranteed at least 12M down and 3M up.

The tech is speaking with the voice of inexperience. If he says you're "guaranteed 12M down and 3M up" those are the thresholds Comcast has set for "acceptable" service on your package, which I assume is advertised higher than that. If you're below those thresholds they will begin their normal troubleshooting/field tech process. But they are going to be going by the average of your connection speed, and if a tech cannot resolve the issue they will eventually either tell you to "this is how it's going to be" or downgrade you to a speed package they can support.

When issues go beyond the modem, and replacing of coax and splitters from the pole and through the house, and up to a "line issue" they start looking at cost of line/node upgrading verses number of subscribers this issue is effecting -- and they may decide it's not worth the trouble.

Re:Oh! (1)

genner (694963) | about 3 months ago | (#46849433)

Actually, Comcast tech support has told me point blank that I'm guaranteed at least 12M down and 3M up.

The tech is speaking with the voice of inexperience. If he says you're "guaranteed 12M down and 3M up" those are the thresholds Comcast has set for "acceptable" service on your package, which I assume is advertised higher than that. If you're below those thresholds they will begin their normal troubleshooting/field tech process. But they are going to be going by the average of your connection speed, and if a tech cannot resolve the issue they will eventually either tell you to "this is how it's going to be" or downgrade you to a speed package they can support.

When issues go beyond the modem, and replacing of coax and splitters from the pole and through the house, and up to a "line issue" they start looking at cost of line/node upgrading verses number of subscribers this issue is effecting -- and they may decide it's not worth the trouble.

Yup
3 words....permanent bandwidth exhaust.
I still can't believe there isn't a consumer advocacy group trying to end this practice.

Re:Oh! (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 3 months ago | (#46849143)

nor was it in the advertising that they would intentionally slow given types of content down to extort payments from various companies.

For example, if youtube paying comcast? Because there's probably more youtube video flowing through the pipes then netflix.

Perhaps I'm ignorant here, but it looks like comcast is running an extortion racket.

Re:Oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850055)

there has never been a consumer ISP service with guaranteed bandwidth 24x7 for every single customer

My ISP claims "dedicated" bandwidth for all users. I asked a Sr network admin what they meant, and he said they design their internal network to handle all users at the same time. I asked him how they handle trunk bandwidth, he said they have enough bandwidth on their trunk for roughly 3x peak usage. And I still pay less than Charter.

Burst billing (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46848695)

You're buying something more along the lines of (tiny print) 10 kbps service burstable to (huge print) 10 Mbps.

Re:Burst billing (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 3 months ago | (#46848955)

It needs to be stated in the advertising.

Re:Oh! (4, Insightful)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 3 months ago | (#46848183)

Holy crap, which ISP's stock are you holding onto praying it goes back up?!? If ISP's had increased their capacity like they were supposed to YEARS ago and stopped over-selling their intentionally crippled network there wouldn't be a problem. Split the ISP's from the content providers and maybe North America won't be stuck in the technological dark ages for the next generation as well.

Leech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848447)

Split the ISP's from the content providers and maybe North America won't be stuck in the technological dark ages for the next generation as well.

Why do I have this urge to put a leech on the cable coming into my house to improve performance?

Re:Leech (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 3 months ago | (#46848853)

Why do I have this urge to put a leech on the cable coming into my house to improve performance?

Don't bother, there's already one at the other end.

Re:Oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848221)

Hi there corporate shill! You consider netflix delivering data that one of your customers asked for a denial of service? Do you even know what a DOS actually is? Obviously not! More likely your company is butthurt about the Denial of Revenue due to cable cutting and the loss of PPV income due to Netflix and Amazon. How dare your customers utilize the internet service they paid for. How dare they expect you to make capital expenditures to keep up with the improvements in technology. Of course, your industry would be more than happy to try and turn back the clock to keep everyone using the internet the same way the were in the year 1999 to keep raking in maximum profits with zero capital investment while continuing to hike rates 6 to 10% per year.

Re:Oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848235)

Have the ISPs worked in good faith on anything? They certainly didn't when they were given billions of dollars by the government to upgrade and expand the networks. If you have to work with lying cheapskates, you have to act like them at least a little or you'll be chewed up and spit out.
 
What I'd most like to see is a law banning ISPs from being content providers. It's basically the same thing as when movie studios owned the theaters. Barring that, I hope content providers like Netflix can work to provide bring new cable or other options into existence. Something like Netflix partnering with Google to expand their service areas more quickly would be good (if not as good at requiring content and delivery companies be separate.)

Re:Oh! (2)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 3 months ago | (#46848457)

They've basically been DOSing the ISPs local loops for nearly a decade, blaming the ISPs and now they have the brilliant idea that maybe they should address the insane amount of bandwidth they're eating up?

They did pay. Netflix payed Cogent for the amount of data they uploaded. You paid Comcast (or whoever) for the amount of data you downloaded. Your movie data has been paid for -- twice-- and never forget it.

Now, Comcast might have promised you an "all you can eat" unlimited Internet connection, but by God you paid for it, and Comcast can either deliver or just give you your money back. Note I'm not saying that connections should be unlimited -- in fact, I think end users paying per GB is fair -- but the nature of these contracts is determined by the ISPs making the offer. If Comcast are writing cheques their network can't cash, that's between their shareholders and their competition.

The real issue here is the Peering agreements between the very largest ISPs. They agreed back in the 1980s to not charge one another and simply switch to a user pays cash model. This would encourage ISPs to try and host as much content as they had users, promoting both the creation of servers and content as well as connections and end users. It's a system which has functioned astoundingly well for 30 years now.

Comcast now wants to go back on those peering agreements essentially because it is too lazy to compete. Comcast will not a) Try to make Netflix offers so that they are hosted on Comcast's Network in the first place, b) charge end users the real costs of the GB they download or c) cut the pensioned executive fat out of their operation so that they can actually deliver what the customers paid while still making money.

If Comcast succeeds in the US with this, they will have effectively broken the Internet. We will go from the Network we have to a closed off, content delivery system like cable, possibly seeing the internet fragment into a collection of internal corporate networks -- a situation more likely each days as IPv4 addresses run out. The Internet is now in danger of regressing to the original conceptions of a world wide computer network, first imagined in the 1960s,and bearing no resemblance to the open, imaginative, uncontrolled and informative network we have today. This danger is the result of the greed of companies like comcast, and the simplistic emotional arguments that constitute the current level of discourse around this, probably the most pivotal social and economic issue of our times.

Re:Oh! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#46849783)

Netflix is also a competitor. A successful netflix means fewer people paying for cable television.

Re:Oh! (2)

jonwil (467024) | about 3 months ago | (#46850307)

Everything comes down to the fact that Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Cox, Charter and the other big ISPs ALL sell both transit (i.e. internet access) AND content (i.e. "TV" whether that be delivered by cable, fiber or otherwise) and are willing to do everything in their power to make sure that you have to keep buying your content from them and not from someone else (otherwise they would become dumb pipes and lose most of their control)

Re:Oh! (1)

dissy (172727) | about 3 months ago | (#46848745)

Wow, I think I just felt two brain vessels pop from the sheer concentration of stupidity and lies.

So you can get your so claimed non-existent caching servers right here
https://www.netflix.com/openco... [netflix.com]

You could also get free peering agreements with netflix, with more info at that same URL.
If offering free peering is being assholes about things however, I'd hate to see the cruel names you throw out at netflix when your own ISP tells you to go fuck yourself with your netflix peer...

If your ISP can't afford the internet bandwidth for one copy of a stream, in order to send that cached copy to each and every one of their customers an infinite amount of times... Well hopefully you can see why the ISP would get the blame here.

Also you really should do something about the guys in your home holding a gun to your head and forcing you to demand netflix send data to you. Would you like us to contact the police for you?

Re:Oh! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848873)

So now that the FCC drops net neutrality, Netflix is going to play ball with the ISPs? They've basically been DOSing the ISPs local loops for nearly a decade, blaming the ISPs and now they have the brilliant idea that maybe they should address the insane amount of bandwidth they're eating up? How much do you want to bet they stop being such assholes about peering agreements now as well? Maybe a client that caches data to? Who came up with these brilliant cost saving ideas?!?!

I fully support net neutrality but Netflix is the primary reason the FCC dropped it. I would have much preferred that they passed regulations requiring content providers to work in good faith with ISPs to ensure they were using data in the most efficient way possible (which is how almost everyone else behaves naturally) but instead we had this profit hungry company back the FCC into a corner until they took the easy way out. Instead of sharing the sandbox, it's now whomever has the most moneys sandbox. Thanks netflix.

I pay for internet service with a cap of 500 gigs per month. If I want to use half of that to stream Netflix, that's my business. If my ISP fucks with my access to Netflix without disclosing that possibility when I sign up for service, they are guilty of false advertising which is illegal. Doing away with net neutrality helps give them the legal loopholes needed to get away with it, because it is essentially redefining what "internet access" is.

I see a flaw.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#46848113)

Unless they are going to reimburse customers for the extra bandwidth that the use because they are also transmitting, all this is going to do is inconvenience a lot of people as they hit their monthly caps a lot sooner... because they could now transmitting a lot of what they receive, which basically means that counting both uploading and downloading traffic, their usage will almost double.

I used P2P streaming (2)

future assassin (639396) | about 3 months ago | (#46848171)

back in the early/mid 2000's for my radio station when my Shoutcast provider disapeared. I used http://www.streamerp2p.com/ [streamerp2p.com] and there was also later Peercast. The streamerp2p actually worked ok but this came at a time when I lost interest in streaming with alll the laws and OMFG those geeks in their basements with their radio stations are starving the artists hysteria was in full swing. Too bad had my station up to 24 people listening at a time.

I was going to start streaming video using Peercast with their p2ptv but never got around to that.

Metered Interent (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 3 months ago | (#46848231)

In lots of places in US Internet is Metered. Even in my neck of the woods I start getting nasty letters at 300 GB down, let alone up. Most people use very little upload bandwidth, and you can be the ISPs would notice if they started bitorrenting all their Netflix traffic. This isn't going to happen.

Re:Metered Interent (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 3 months ago | (#46848299)

In lots of places in US Internet is Metered.

Good thing then that metered Internet outside of US isn't as popular. Don't just stare at your own navel and realize that Netflix works in quite a handful of countries these days.

Re:Metered Interent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848771)

Wow. You are just a barrel of monkeys, aren't you?

Re:Metered Interent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850071)

Dear lord! 300GB?! I upload that about every 3 days!

Already been done... Popcorn Time (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 3 months ago | (#46848665)

http://www.time4popcorn.eu/ [time4popcorn.eu]
None of the stupid irritating restrictions of the paid services.

Re:Already been done... Popcorn Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848825)

Yes, this. I've long maintained that Netflix membership fee is simply a tax on those too stupid to figure out how to use torrents. Now it seems to be getting even more true - paying for the right to be a peer. Retarded.

Simple fix (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 3 months ago | (#46848755)

ISP can just lower upstream to 1/10th what it is now, except toward "good" websites. It'll happen, just watch, this is America we're talking about.

Netflix Bay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849003)

(runs)

Oh No (1)

deadcrow (946749) | about 3 months ago | (#46849237)

Yet another answer for "Why is my hard drive going constantly?"

It gives them an option (1)

nbritton (823086) | about 3 months ago | (#46849265)

I think this is more a bargaining tool to negotiating better rates at the toll booths. I'm not sure how practical this would be, but it does at least give them an option.

Here Come The Lawsuits... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849435)

So what will Netflix do to protect it's customers that aid it in this peer-to-peer idea? And I mean protect them from lawsuits from the likes of RIAA, MPAA, or even the movie studios themselves? We have seen such lawsuits before, i.e. "The Hurt Locker" and more recently with "Dallas Buyers Club" (I think those titles are correct).

Does Netflix even have license to distribute this content via peer-to-peer? No license generally means lawsuit, potentially "open & shut" due to "breach of contract", or at least protracted public scrutiny.

What protects peer-to-peer participants from getting caught up in the "yes it's a form of broadcast / no it's not a form of broadcast" type of lawsuit that Aereo is currently facing in the US Supreme Court?

Then there are issues with geographical boundaries for content distribution that many licenses impose. Only recently Hulu started to block access via known VPN services under the premise that content from Hulu was being sent outside the US, and I believe it is due to Hulu not having license to send such traffic outside the US.

The legal ramifications of Netflix distribution via peer-to-peer are mind boggling...and potentially scary.

I sure don't want to end up in court trying to defend myself against a peer-to-peer sharing lawsuit.

Re:Here Come The Lawsuits... (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 3 months ago | (#46850349)

Firstly, any content Netflix distributes in this way would almost certainly have DRM still applied to it and the Netflix client software would make sure that the end user had the right to purchase that content before playing it (and would still have to pull the keys from the central key server in doing this)
And secondly, they wouldn't roll this out unless they had approval to do this from the entities providing Netflix with content.

Tech is there, and company also: Octoshape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849461)

Octoshape has the technology and has been doing p2p video transmission for the last 5-6 years. Specially good for hits, events and GoT premieres; since it takes the stress out of the source and keep traffic "inside" ISPs.

I have nothing to do with the company, but always wonder why didn't take the world by storm; maybe because thet were based in north europe.

cheers

Re:Tech is there, and company also: Octoshape (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 3 months ago | (#46849969)

VUDU was doing real time P2P streaming in 2007, and 1080p P2P streaming since 2008. The technology worked great. The problem was it required devices with HDDs, and so it was the matter of a small startup with limited capital trying to sell their own hardware, which is very difficult. Not to mention the cost of CDB bandwidth and storage dropped drastically in the late 2000's, making the P2P play solution financially rewarding given the complexity and disk space requirements for peers.

The current incarnation of VUDU is a pure streaming service after a pivot to embed the software in all consumer devices and grow the customer base enough to actually make money.

stab ISPs in the eye (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 3 months ago | (#46850139)

That'd really piss off ISPs. Want to shakedown netflix for money to pay for priority lanes? Tada, now you've got huge downloads with accompanying uploads coming from distributed locations and using normal web ports. Talk about a nuclear option.

Bittorrent for software updates (1)

lemur3 (997863) | about 3 months ago | (#46850163)

as mentioned on torrentfreak, some shops use bittorrent for updating servers, for example, twitter and facebook:

According to Tom Cook of Facebookâ(TM)s systems engineering group, the daily code updates for Facebook used to cause a lot of trouble until they discovered BitTorrent.

âoeBitTorrent is fantastic for this, itâ(TM)s really great,â Cook said. âoeItâ(TM)s âsuperduperâ(TM) fast and it allows us to alleviate a lot of scaling concerns weâ(TM)ve had in the pastâ

source: http://torrentfreak.com/facebo... [torrentfreak.com] ....while they MAY be looking for p2p stuff for spreading video around... it is also possible job applicants would just be doing stuff behind the scenes, like theyve been doing elsewhere.

Re:Bittorrent for software updates (1)

lemur3 (997863) | about 3 months ago | (#46850175)

oh fer fucks sake, slashdot mangled that to all hell.

what year is this again?

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