BitTorrent-based file sharing looks set to become even more mainstream thanks to a new technology that might encourage more major content providers to get on the P2P bandwagon.

The Dutch torrent tracker Mininova is testing a BitTorrent application that is capable of streaming video instantly, rather than waiting for entire files to download before beginning playback.

Unclogging the internet's arteries

At the heart of the trial is software from Tribler that uses peer-to-peer file sharing to effectively broadcast live video without the need for dedicated hardware. There are already versions that run on Windows, Mac and Linux.

As if to prove the appeal of Tribler's new approach to file sharing, the university group is at the core of the P2P-Next project that recently received a €19 million (£15 million) research grant from the EU and various partners, including the BBC.

P2P-Next aims to use file sharing to create a better method for broadcasting online video to millions of users without clogging up the internet, a scenario that is increasingly likely as bandwidth demands increase at breakneck speeds.