By Brian Livingston
Many people who watched live streaming video of the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama on Jan. 20 may not realize that their PC was used to send the video to other PCs, too.
Clicking “yes” to a CNN.com dialog box installed a peer-to-peer (P2P) application that uses your Internet bandwidth rather than CNN’s to send live video to other viewers.
The P2P application is called Octoshape Grid Delivery and is managed by Octoshape ApS, a company based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Web surfers who visit CNN.com and select a live video stream for the first time see in their browsers a dialog box, shown in Figure 1, saying, “This site requires the Octoshape Grid Delivery enhancement for Adobe Flash Player.” The dialog box doesn’t appear when playing an ordinary video file, only when starting a live feed. (Feeds labeled LIVE typically appear in the upper-right corner of CNN.com’s home page during business hours.)
Figure 1. Users who select a CNN.com live video feed see a dialog box to install the Octoshape Grid Delivery application.