uTorrent Beta Comes With Streaming, Web Control

BitTorrent has been working tirelessly to add new features to its uTorrent client, including adding on-demand streaming and secure remote web access to the client’s browser. Now those features are available to all users for download as part of a public beta of the newest version of the peer-to-peer file sharing client.

The new beta version of the uTorrent client now includes the ability to start watching videos while they’re still downloading. Previously, users had to wait for a file to completely download before they could start watching it. As BitTorrent VP of marketing Simon Morris writes on the company’s blog, the addition of streaming “moves BitTorrent towards more of the point-click-watch experience that users have come to expect for Internet media.”

Because the bits of torrent files are not downloaded in order, but randomly from different peers, the ability to stream content was not possible. But according to Morris, the new uTorrent client prioritizes some early parts of the file to enable viewers to begin watching soon after a download has started.

In addition to streaming, BitTorrent has launched the availability of its uTorrent Web feature, which enables users to connect to their uTorrent client through a browser. By setting up a user name and password, users can manage their downloads from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection.

While BitTorrent added new features to uTorrent, the company isn’t stopping there. Founder Bram Cohen has spent the last twelve months working on a new P2P protocol dubbed Project Pheon that is optimized for live streaming, which could be used to power a Ustream-like personal live streaming service with very low infrastructure costs.

The new features of the uTorrent application were built as part of the Project Falcon, which was launched in January. Prior to this release, they were only available in private alpha and by invite only.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: New Business Models For Pay TV Services (subscription required)