The general idea is to use an automated mechanism to aggregate various web feeds and download content for viewing or presentation purposes.
History of broadcatching Edit
Stewart Brand later used the term independently in his 1987 book The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT to describe artificial-intelligence technology (in one application) to assist content selection ('hunting') and viewing ('grazing' or 'browsing').
In December of 2003 Steve Gillmor described combining RSS and BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing as a method for subscribing to an ongoing series of media files from a website, in an article for Ziff-Davis. Scott Raymond described its specific application for gathering scheduled programming in an article entitled Broadcatching with BitTorrent. The combination of these technologies allows a computer connected to the Internet to act like a digital video recorder (DVR) such as TiVo connected to cable.
One of the first practical implementations was released in 2004 - programmer Andrew Grumet announced the release of a beta version of an RSS and BitTorrent integration tool for the Radio Userland news aggregator here.
Today, RSS and BitTorrent based broadcatching provides a web based distribution channel capable of delivering broadcast media to a large group of consumers at a low cost. BitTorrent provides the low cost method for distributing large files to a large group, and RSS enables a website to easily provide a subscription to a series of BitTorrent files.
Uses of broadcatching Edit
Although broadcatching can be classified as a method independent of technology and implementation, today broadcatching finds much use with Internet television and Internet radio (also called podcasting or IPradio).
Broadcatching is often used in situations where multicasting may be used, but is cost prohibitive.
Broadcatching of copyrighted television broadcastsEdit
Perhaps the most popular use of broadcatching is using a BitTorrent client with inbuilt RSS support (such as uTorrent or Azureus, using a plugin) to automatically download television episodes as they are 'released' - internet users capture the broadcast as it is transmitted, then compress it (typically after removing advertisements) and send it on to others.
While this is not legal in most countries, the practice has become quite popular, particularly in countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, where television programmes produced in the US tend to be aired more than six months after US broadcasts, if at all.
- BitTorrent Publisher Accounts from bittorrent.com allow users to create broadcatching feeds compatible with utorrent and the bittorrent.com clients.
- The Pirate Bay is a prominent source of torrents which point to copyrighted material, and RSS feeds.
- X Hollywood aggregates RSS feeds from BitTorrent sites.
- VJTorrents was a free RSS Video feed of VJ Mixes performed and recorded live. Went offline May 1, 2006
- tvRSS is a torrent-based broadcatching website, that provides RSS feeds for EZTV and VTV.
- OfflineTV is a project to create an internet distribution channel for alternative news videos, relying on BitTorrent and RSS technologies.
- Electricsheep.org - Electric Sheep now offers a torrent feed to download its sheep, fractal flame screensavers.
- Torrent Locomotive provides custom search results in viewable format or as RSS. Predefined RSS feeds are available for most-recent and most-popular torrents.
- MiniNova MiniNova hosts RSS feeds of torrents of all types and searches.
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