A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

BBC & ITV trial multicast 

I hadn't seen anything about the BBC's multicast technical trial, but then again my reading/browsing is not that structured. I found the BBC's trial through their Backstage mailing list.

I'm sure that you all know what multicast is (see Wikipedia) and what interests broadcasters like the BBC is that it massively cuts down on the bandwidth that is needed at their end as they only need send one stream of data (rather than a stream for each end viewer). The downside is that it relies on routers along the way propogating the multicast and that doesn't happen automatically. I remember Reuters wanting to do this 10 years ago and Cisco pushing the fact that their carrier grade routers could handle it.

Trouble was (and is) that the technology tends to be proprietary to each vendor.

For these reasons, the BBC trial only works on some ISPs networks, but is now available for most of their output (in the UK only) which is a big step up from their trial of the Olympics two years ago.
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