PeerTube — Decentralized Video, Powered by ActivityPub and WebTorrent

Building a decentralized YouTube competitor has remained a pipe dream of the federation community for some time. Now, that dream is becoming a reality thanks to the efforts of the PeerTube project.

The project’s developer, known by the handle “Chocobozzz”, describes PeerTube as:

Decentralized video streaming platform using P2P (BitTorrent) directly in the web browser with WebTorrent.

As a bonus, it is possible to embed PeerTube videos directly into your Mastodon timeline.

PeerTube just implemented ActivityPub into their platform, opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to federating videos.

For now, the platform only allows instance admins to decide which instances to follow, but in the future that may change.

You can watch a quick video here to see how the federation component works.

“We can’t build a FOSS video streaming alternatives to YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo… with a centralized software. One organization alone cannot have enough money to pay bandwidth and video storage of its server.

So we need to have a decentralized network (as Diaspora for example). But it’s not enough because one video could become famous and overload the server. It’s the reason why we need to use a P2P protocol to limit the server load. Thanks to WebTorrent, we can make P2P (thus bittorrent) inside the web browser right now.” — PeerTube Project Readme

Development of PeerTube is sponsored by Framasoft, a non-profit that promotes, spreads and develops Free Software. If you want to support this project, please consider donating to them.

Sean Tilley

Sean Tilley has been a part of the federated social web for over 15+ years, starting with his experiences with back in 2008. Sean was involved with the Diaspora project as a Community Manager from 2011 to 2013, and helped the project move to a self-governed model. Since then, Sean has continued to study, discuss, and document the evolution of the space and the new platforms that have risen within it.

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  1. Ken Code says:

    Peertube v4 and higher is awesome. Great p2p tech.

    Like you said Sean, P2P is the best way to go because otherwise the server load is way too high for most people.

    Just fyi, there’s also a free plugin for Peertube server now called “Hive-Tube”. Any video or podcast etc that you upload, or import from Youtube (and other sites) can be auto-monetized, providing you (and even your viewers/listeners if desired) with passive income. See for details.

  2. Danyl Strype says:

    This is really exciting. I can’t wait to see PeerTube hit 1.0, and integrate federated commenting that integrates with the fediverse.

    I can’t wait to see MediaGoblin integrate ActivityPub, and hopefully WebTorrent. I hope to see other free code video hosting software like Plumi and MediaDrop do the same.

    Not sure how federated video search will work yet — that’s the killer feature of GoogleTube in my opinion — but once the other pieces are in place, I’m sure it will come.

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