Norwegian state TV sets up BitTorrent tracker

The Norwegian state broadcaster NRK has decided to set up their own BitTorrent tracker.

The Norwegian state broadcaster NRK has decided to set up its own BitTorrent tracker, and it also plans to offer content through this form of distribution, it said on Sunday.

NRK started looking into using BitTorrent for distributing content after seeing how much of its own programming was becoming available via file-sharing sites. To see if BitTorrent could be used, it conducted an experiment in January last year, which proved successful, according to Eirik Solheim, project manager at NRK's development department.

BitTorrent isn't just a popular way of downloading content, but it is also robust and a cheap way for NRK to distribute programs, according to Solheim. Traditional download methods have proven difficult to use because of the large files and extreme load on the servers, as evidenced by a test with HD content, he said in an interview.

NRK's tracker will be based on the same OpenTracker software that The Pirate Bay has been using for the last couple of years, the broadcasting company said in a statement Sunday.

NRK set up its own tracker to get more detailed statistics and data about how this technology works. The content will be made available without encryption.

The first show available via the tracker is the popular "Der ingen skulle tru at nokon kunne bu" or "Where no one thought it would be possible for anyone to live", which follows the lives of people living in remote places in Norway. NRK has the rights to distribute it via BitTorrent, according to Solheim.

Getting the rights to distribute unprotected content via BitTorrent has proved to be more difficult than via, for example, streaming. NRK produces a lot of its own content, but it still has to get the rights, say for music, which has proved especially challenging, according to Solheim.

But Solheim is optimistic, and thinks it's possible to find a solution where NRK gets the rights it needs and the rights holders get the compensation they want.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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