Blog of the Bittorrent Applet

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Music Streaming on BitLet!

Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to announce you a great addition to BitLet.
After some weeks of work, the set of applets that dwell has a new component: codenamed westream, the new applet allows you to listen music you're streaming using BitTorrent. And it runs, as always, directly from your Java-enabled browser!

At present, westream supports OGG and MP3 encoded audio files, but we are already planning to add support for different file types.

Westream works in a way that's extremely similar to the first BitLet applet: you just have to point your browser to, paste a torrent url in the text box, and click Play.
The applet will scan the torrent for files that are suitable for reproduction and provide you with a web interface to control playback and volume.

Please keep in mind that audio quality, plus the number and duration of the gaps during playback heavily depend on the health status of the torrent you're streaming. If you want to test it with downloads with at least one reliable seed, click here to try it with the new Mininova featured torrents system.

And now, allow us precise a couple of a technicalities...

We understand that some people might consider this an unfair increase in the number of leechers, but we tried to design the streaming library with the original torrent philosophy in mind:

[...] a method of distributing large amounts of data widely without the original distributor incurring the entire costs [...]

It would have been easy to design the streaming client to be extremely selfish, and make it care only for its needs. Ideally, we tried to avoid it: westream should behave as most torrent clients, with a slightly different piece choosing strategy.

As you might imagine, since we're streaming audio files, we prefer to download the parts of the torrent that immediately follow what you're currently listening to, as this is essential to attempt to allow gapless reproduction.
This, however, is not the only criterion we use when choosing which pieces to download.
As any kind torrent client should do, we tend to give a high priority also to less common pieces even if, in some situations, it could degrade the quality of the streaming experience. (As you can see, we are interested in good karma.)
In addition, we always attempt to complete the pieces we started to download: since each peer announces to others only the pieces it has completed, we try to complete each piece we start so to be able to serve them to other peers as soon as possible.

We hope you'll appreciate our efforts. ^__-

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