Technology

With the SwarmPlayer you can view videos using Bittorrent swarming. Any Ogg video inside a Bittorrent swarm can directly be embedded on a webpage. Users visiting a page can view videos in mere seconds. Website visitors never need to be aware of any underlying technology, video simply works.

Introduction

The advantage of the SwarmPlayer is that webpages with popular high-quality videos are no longer very expensive to operate and difficult to manage. By combining for the first time the HTML5 <video> tag with Bittorrent streamingtechnology the SwarmPlayer makes video distribution easy. The SwarmPlayer is currently available for Firefox (Windows,Mac,Ubuntu) and Internet Explorer (Windows-only). Our code is available under the LGPL Open Source license. Download the source code. The SwarmPlayer software is developed by the P2P-Next consortium, an EU-funded project exploring with the future of television, in close cooperation with the Wikimedia Foundation. The SwarmPlayer has been presented during a special joined workshop for developers at Wikimania 2010 in Poland. A 2-page scientific article with additional technology details, titled “Online video using BitTorrent and HTML5 applied to Wikipedia”, will be presented at the IEEE P2P’10 conference at the end of August 2010.

How does it work?

Wikipedia.org has now enabled the SwarmPlayer and Bittorrent swarming for all their video content. Your can activate the SwarmPlayer by adding ?withJS=MediaWiki:MwEmbed.js to any Wikipedia page. The JavaScript on Wikipedia.org detects if the SwarmPlayer installed. If it is not installed, the video is streamed from the normal server. When the SwarmPlayer is installed the location of the .torrent is requested from URL2Torrent.net server and downloading from the swarm starts. To ensure smooth playback of any video a fallback mechanism to the normal Wikipedia video servers is implemented. The entire playback process is shown below.

Initialization of swarms

Currently wikipedia videos are being converted to Bittorrent swarms. This is a simple automatic process we call auto-torrentization. The first SwarmPlayer visitor which views a video triggers a mechanism to create a swarm of that video. Every visitor afterwards can use this swarm to stream the video. The following figure depicts this initialization process.

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