Bittorrent is a great technology for downloading large files, especially video files. It’s so good, in fact, that many ISPs estimate that between 50% and 90% of all their traffic is data being shared by Bittorrent. But Bittorrent isn’t perfect. In fact, there are two distinct disadvantages to using Bittorrent to get your video files.
The first has to do with Bittorrent technology itself. When a user wants to share a file, he uses his Bittorrent client to create a .TORRENT file based on what he wants to share. He then uploads that torrent file to a tracker, a server on the Internet that keeps track of the IP addresses of people sharing the file.
Although this is what makes Bittorrent so fast, it also creates two problems: a) you can accidentally connect to a computer owned by the Media Police, and get busted for sharing illicit files; and b) according to Bittorrent etiquette, you’re supposed to upload as much as you download. This means that a 350MB download of a TV show actually costs you 700MB in bandwidth. As a one-off, that’s not that big of a deal. But if you’re downloading 10 shows a week, it really adds up: 7GB worth of bandwidth to download 3.5GB worth of shows!
The second problem with Bittorrent has to do with most people’s Internet connections. Most broadband connections in the United States are