Downloadable NerdTV

NerdtvlogoRobert Cringley, who less than a year ago said “most of the video bloggers will be blogging to themselves(link) is now getting ready to produce his own downloadable TV show called NerdTV that will be distributed through PBS web site using Bit Torrent, a network of distributed servers (Robert’s “poor man’s Akamai”) . . . and under a Creative Commons License. He will also send out an audio-only podcast. Coming Sep 6.

Link: PBS HT: Betachurch

Question: Where would a church go to find really really cheap bandwith if it wanted to create compelling media for the internet?


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Keith Rowley says:

    Probably to thier members computers and high speed internet accounts. Bit Torrent works – if I understand it – much like a file sharing program. In that a large file is split into many pieces and when a user downloads the file, as soon as a piece is done downloading, it is made available to be downloaded from that persons computer by another person. So this in essence means that the bandwidth of all the members of the church who have hi speed internet accounts, and for that matter of all the people who are downloading the video, can be leveraged and combined. So a program like bittorent would work well for this.

  • andrew jones says:

    Yeah – I have used Bittorrent and have even blogged about its connection with “seeding” churches here and i think you are right – as you download, you are also uploading to others at the same time –
    but then why is Robert so worried about bandwith costs? He still needs a regular network of servers, i guess, to seed the movies.
    Where is Will Samson when we need him?

  • There is a more easy way if you put your material under a cc-licence. You can upload it to and have it hosted there. Ourmedia uses the space and the bandwidth of the Internet Archive (, the brilliant project by Brewster Kahle who wants to store all media/knowledge. He’s doing fantastic stuff like scanning tones of books than going to africa with a van where kids can choose books they are interessted in and then get them printed for free. You can listen to more from him at
    So, if your willing to licence your material with creative commons, check out unless Bittorrent becomes a little easier to handle for non-geeks.

  • Keith Rowley says:

    Yes, you have to have servers to start the seeds, and with Bittorrent a person who downloads something often only stays an uploader for a relativly short time.
    However I still think it should be possible to leverage the combined bandwith of the people in the church with hi speed internet. Possibly using some modified form of peer to peer software combined with a Torrent like controller that can find and pull all the different pieces of a large file then make sure it downloaded correctly.
    No matter what distributing bandwith seems like the way to go to me. Either that or find a host that is very close to a data center and will let you have lots of bandwidth for cheep.

  • will says:

    Wow, all manner of thoughts running through my head on this question.
    The first and easiest answer to this question is that there is tons of bandwidth available – for a price. The two costs generally incurred are either 1) paying someone to help you manage this bandwidth or 2) managing the task of finding and keeping technically sophisticated members.
    A more technologically advanced congregation could create their own p2p network. Bit Torrent has proven what is possible if people are willing to cooperate. But many congregations would be prohibited by cultural assumptions far more than they would be by technical restraints.
    A church could use one of the free sites like What I fear there is that those sites will have problems with posterity. While I love those sites and have used them in the past, I do wonder how long they will sustain themselves.
    In the end I fear that this is a situation where there will continue to be the technological “haves” and “have nots” for a while. I would love to see foundations with funds put some of that money behind bandwidth and disk space, but that has not happened.

  • andrew says:

    i have used many times to download video loops and Cory Doctorow (boing boing) told me in London [ooops – sorry to name drop] that he recommends uploading video files with them – especially historic video
    i understand Google will let you upload your movies with them and also charge m oney (or not) as people download them. I guess they will make money on the advertising . . . but who really wants to give Google more power??????
    if anyone was interested in creating a p2p network that would allow us to share files and cover bandwidth, i would like to know.

  • To clarify, BitTorrent seeds are not servers, but users who have a complete version of the file. Unless the site is absolutely slammed with traffic, there isn’t a bandwidth issue with BitTorrent because no one downloads the file directly from the server – in fact, the file is never uploaded to the server, either.
    To effectively seed, all you’d need to do is give out DVDs of the video, have people put it in their torrents folder, and leave their torrent file open.
    I will set up a church video torrent site if anyone is interested. I’ve been itching to play around with it.

  • andrew says:

    thanks justin – let us know the link.

  • Here you go:
    You can register yourself, or login as user “test” with password “test.” Andrew, go ahead and register and I’ll make you an admin.
    I put one video up (a Leno clip that Real distributes from its site, which I’ll probably have to eventually take down because it’s questionble legally), and I can apparently download it using Azureus. I’m a little uncertain about that, though, because I’m also the seed. Azureus says it’s using the urbanmonastery tracker, though, so I think it’s working.
    I’ve installed Broadcast Machine, a tracker that is based on BlogTorrent. If you don’t have a torrent client (most people don’t, though 65 million people do), there’s a one-step .exe file that will install a very simple one that will let you download the file.
    Right now, server seeding is turned off, which means a) no bandwidth crunch on my server, and b) someone has to be connected at all times for someone else to download. Keep this in mind if you upload something for others to download.
    I would greatly appreciate it if people would upload stuff and test it (even if it’s a silly clip of you goofing off with your digital camera) and seed for a while, so we can see if it works.
    If there is interest, I can register a domain for it, but I already have about 35 domains so I thought I’d recycle/reuse/reduce my registrar fees. Any thoughts? Email me at justin dot baeder at gmail dott com.
    Thanks for suggesting this, Andrew. Peace.

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