It appears to be becoming a more common trend for business to follow in the footsteps of the pirating market, converting the established technologies to more legal and profitable uses. Napster.com being a well known example, now joined by Warner Bros. who have announced intentions to distribute movies and Television programs via the BitTorrent.com website, allowing users to download content directly to their computers.
The deal is not of hugest surprise in the light of recent offerings of Fox and NBC programs available for download from iTunes, ABC streaming programs from their site, and Online DVD rental companies offering movies up for download as opposed to sending you the film on a disc. In the UK, the BBC and ITV are offering multicast streams of their television and radio channels as they are aired. Sky have also looked at similar peer-to-peer based distribution methods as BitTorrent.
Whilst the offerings and new ways of delivering the content are beneficial to the end user, it is wise to be cautious. The current trend of broadband ISPs has been towards charging for data transferred on your line in a "Pay As You Go" manner as opposed a fixed monthly cost. This may mean that the more Television or Films you view online or download, the higher the cost to you. Not only will you have to pay to download it from the website, but you may also incur further costs to your ISP for the data downloaded. Most sites should display the size of the file to download, and this can be compared with your data allowance from your ISP.
Technologies such as BitTorrent rely on a distributed peer-to-peer delivery mechanism where everyone who is downloading the file will also be sending part of the file to you, and you to them. This would therefore mean that more data is transferred than the size of the file you actually download. Further problems could be found where some ISPs have introduced limitations on peer-to-peer traffic, restricting how fast you can download from these services, or restricting them all together. Check with your ISP if you are indoubt about this.
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