All around the world ISPs have discovered that Bit Torrent is taking a toll on their networks, and have started to restrict the traffic, especially during peak times. What this means for the average user that uses torrents is that downloads could be slow or even worse stop all together during peak times. It also means that you may not be able to watch your favorite TV show when you want to. There is an alternative: watch TV online via streaming technology.
What is shaping, exactly?
Shaping, put simply, is the restriction of certain traffic. This may occur during peak times or all the time. How ISPs do this depends on their technical people, but they target the items that are putting the most load on their network, and Bit Torrent is at the top of the list at present, since it is putting the most load on networks. As an example, Comcast in the United States, still allows torrent users to download shows but they do not allow seeding. Whereas Atlantic Broadband restricts Bit Torrent bandwidth, effectively slowing down downloads. They are well within their rights to do this, because they have to cater for all users and during peak periods, especially, they could restrict certain traffic.
How do you get around shaping?
There are a couple of ways to get around shaping, actually. The first way is the encrypt your torrent to fool the ISP. You have to be cluey to do this, but it is possible. The other way is to find an alternative way of getting the data to your computer.
Streaming and why the ISP's see it as different.
Without getting too technical, to an ISP video streaming looks like normal traffic. The computer language it uses, known as Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), is very similar to HTTP protocol which most websites use in one form or another. Because it is so similar they don't focus on it the way they do with Bit Torrent. For all intensive purposes streaming is invisible to the ISPs and it therefore flies under the radar.
What are the disadvantages?
There are some disadvantages to using streaming, as there are with any alternative technologies. During peak periods, the same time the ISPs are madly shaping their traffic, it is possible that the image will be jerky or lower in quality. During off peak periods this shouldn't be an issue.
How can I use streaming to watch TV online?
There are two main ways you can use streaming to watch a TV show online. The first is via the network's website, if you are in the country of origin for the show. The other way is to use a client, which is actually very similar to using a client to download via Bit Torrent. Once the client is on your computer you can pick the channel you wish to watch. The great advantage in going with a client is that you can watch TV shows online in real time, and you aren't restricted to the country of origin. Be careful, though, there are two types of clients, on type uses torrenting methods and is known as Peer to Peer TV or P2PTV, and the other is a streaming client. The one you are after is the latter, because it's the one that gets around shaping.
Streaming is most probably the best way around ISP shaping if you want to watch TV online. If your ISP does restrict traffic, consider this alternative, and I'm sure you'll soon be back to watching the TV shows you want to watch.
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