From Colin Mann in London
P2P-Next, a pan-European conglomerate of 21 industrial partners, media content providers and research institutions, has received a E14 million grant from the European Union. The grant will enable the body to carry out a research project aiming to identify the potential uses of peer-to-peer (P2P) technology for Internet Television of the future. The partners, including the BBC, Delft University of Technology, the European Broadcasting Union, Lancaster University, Markenfilm, Pioneer Digital Design Centre Limited and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, intend to develop a Europe-wide 'next-generation' Internet television distribution system, based on P2P and social interaction.
According to the partners, the project will run over four years, and plans to conduct a large-scale technical trial of new media applications running on a wide range of consumer devices. Should the initiative prove successful, the creation is envisaged of a platform that would enable audiences to stream and interact with live content via a PC or set-top box.
The partners also intend to allow audiences to build communities around their favourite content via a fully personalised system, and suggest that the technology could potentially be built into Video on Demand (VOD) services in the future. Plans are underway to test the system for major broadcasting events.
P2P-Next confirmed that the project has an open approach towards sharing results. All core software technology will be available as open source, enabling new business models. P2P-Next will also address a number of outstanding challenges related to content delivery over the Internet, including technical, legal, regulatory, security, business and commercial issues.