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Bye YouTube, Hello PeerTube [video] (diode.zone)
442 points by x14km2d 29 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 295 comments

I don't understand the economics of this at all. Video distribution is bandwidth heavy. If you're running your own peer tube instance the server costs are surely going to outstrip any revenue you make from it. if users have to carry that load and seed your stuff they'll have to waste their own storage. What is the incentive for anyone to do this? Exacerbated by the fact that the entire thing mostly seems to attract people who get banned from anything else so the content isn't even going to attract advertisers.

That's the thing: It doesn't have to pay off and it doesn't have to generate revenue. That's not its goal. It is not a business model.

If we want good content und independence from YouTube, perhaps it is time to see, that it might cost us a tiny bit of money each month, to uphold our freedom. One rented server can easily support many users, each of those can chip in to finance renting the server. It can be done transparently, so that users always know what they are paying for and how much is covered already for the month. It is time to learn, that we need to support what we like financially, so that people can actually live from providing us with it. As long as we do not do so, people can only provide us with their creations by generating revenue in other ways.

> That's the thing: It doesn't have to pay off and it doesn't have to generate revenue. That's not its goal. It is not a business model.

This is the answer to so much of what's wrong with the modern web. We need less business and to get more communities back into the center of the web... it should be even easier today since IaaS is so much cheaper, I think it's just a focus problem, nothing is relevant to the big sites that act as the lens to the web unless it's directly pumping money somewhere.

A large amount of small creators do this today only because YouTube is a free service. A lot of people will use their free time to make videos, but not if a portion of their disposable income has to be dedicated to hosting them.

Peertube isn't based on the assumption that as a content creator you have to run your own instance (and pay for it), but rather that a community can pool together resources as part of a non-profit organization and host many content creators at once, without centralizing everything. For example: skeptikon.fr for french-speaking science/critical content, kolektiva.media for social struggle / anarchist content, etc...

So of course content creators can chip in, eg. if they accept donations, and especially if (not on the two instances listed above) they are paid to advertise content and products. But users can chip in, too. Overall, hosting costs are cheap because:

- they're mutualized between artists - there's no tracking apparatus like Youtube hooked to a machine learning model to keep you addicted - there's no advertisement to serve or complex upload filter to make sure your public domain recordings bring money to the copyright cartel [0] - if a video becomes popular (eg. a cool livestream) a sufficient portion of people will seed it via WebTorrent (torrent + WebRTC + STUN), considerably reducing server load [1]

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27004577 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16075325 etc

[1] I've heard faithful reports from fellow sysadmins that their small VPS handled load for hundreds of simultaneous viewers on livestream thanks to a few people seeding (by just "viewing" the video in their browser with default settings) from a home fiber connection

Time is never free my friend. There’s always a cost model at play.

For most people, the time/money tradeoff isn't very flexible. Only few have the choice of working fewer hours for less money, while even fewer have the choice of working more hours for more money.

So much goodness out there exists in spite of this. Local model railroad clubs is one that comes to mind. I’d rather that than Walmart, which has mastered its cost model.

Yes. Time invested given for free at the expense of other endeavors. I’m not arguing against doing any of these things. Just simply stating that time = money. I’d rather spend my money/time on model railroad building too. z scale ftw.

I absolutely fail to see how bittorrent et al can't solve this part?

Well you are commenting this on a thread about PeerTube, so

> only because YouTube is a free service

Nothing is free, if you don't pay for the product YOU are the product.

I certainly feel like ‘the product’ of pirated software, whatever that means. At least I didn’t pay for that.

Are you drunk?

Oh please, not this crap again.

You know that YouTube belongs to Google right?

Opening the Net to commerce was digital original sin

That's right. Cos money is the root of absolutely all all evil, everywhere, for all time!

If Money=Might then your absolutely right, however i would not say forever...there is still Star Trek where one can have Might without Money ;)

> That's the thing: It doesn't have to pay off and it doesn't have to generate revenue. That's not its goal. It is not a business model.

From a purely-technical lens, that may not seem like a fatal flaw. When viewed through a whole-product lens, it is. PeerTube's anonymous, censor-proof nature is enough to attract a certain class of content that repels advertisers, but then what? Until the dark side of distributed technologies is addressed instead of touted as a feature, this doesn't have a chance of popular success.

> PeerTube's anonymous, censor-proof nature

Peertube is neither of those things. Publishing is pseudonymous, not anonymous: requires an account on the server you'd like to publish videos to, just like youtube and other video platforms. And it's only censorship-proof as much as it uses HTTPS/WebRTC to share content. I haven't seen any study of the Sybil-proofness of Webtorrent protocol, but Peertube certainly does not protect instance operator from DNS/IP censorship or from having their machines seized by law enforcement.

Peertube is based on a federated model (like email/www) where instances are "responsible" for the content/users they host, encouraging smaller, trusted communities. Search is currently being addressed via SepiaSearch (a dedicated search engine), and the joinpeertube.org/sepiasearch.org listings are seriously moderated (i once reported a white supremacist instance and it was delisted in under 24h).

Last time I checked the way that webtorrent/peertube queries for peers watching same video is centralised over websockets to a a select few webtorrent trackers, I think theirs only 2 or 3 running, meaning if you wanted to take down peertubes p2p functionality all you would have to hit would be their webtorrent trackers with a ddos and the platform would go down, I'm not 100% about sibil protections but I do know that peertubes webtorrent trackers verify the structure of an announce, and if it is in invalid format bans you from the tracker, compared to the other webtorrent trackers which are more happy to accept something less strict as an announce

> over websockets to a a select few webtorrent trackers, I think theirs only 2 or 3 running

Maybe you're talking about STUN servers? There's only 2 hardcoded STUN servers for the moment [0] indeed, but that's only for WebRTC discovery and will be easy to fix. It does not prevent server-side redundancy because every peertube instance runs its own tracker, from my understanding on the protocol (let me know if i've got that wrong), but taking those STUN servers down would indeed prevent p2p seeding, except for publicly-routable clients (not behind NAT).

[0] https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube/issues/3177

I'm reasonably confident that the protocol I was working with was json over websocket https://openwebtorrent.com/ tracker this was a few months ago now so peertube could be running something different So each peertube instance runs its own openwebtorrent compatible tracker, which then has its own protocol inforced at the wire level, compared to when i looked at the other openwebtorrent implementations depending on the server didn't enforce the wire format and you could send json over the wire, the trackers seemed to just be a sort of pubsub system where announces would get resent to other connected clients under the same infohash or whatever they used

Well. Wikipedia did.

Wikipedia is not distributed, anonymous, or censor-proof.

Wikipedia is widely mirrored, pseudonymous for writers, anonymous for readers (unlike YouTube!), possessed of internal policies against most kinds of censorship, and quite practically inconvenient to censor externally. Certainly you could do better on these axes, but Wikipedia is already getting an enormous amount of vital information to people despite other people wanting to suppress that information.

The censorship on Wikipedia is internal. Biased articles locked from public editing, delete hungry maintainers that gatekeep content away from the site. Sure some countries can block it, but the subtle internal censorship is far more damaging because it's easy for people to overlook/write off

Which articles do you mean? I can't remember the last time I saw anything other than a template that was anything more than semiprotected.

I agree that deletionism is a big problem.

Latest example I've seen is the article for Marjorie Taylor Greene. It's under "extended-confirmed-protection", listed as a "Good article". Yet starts right off with the summary, "Marjorie Greene,[3] is an American politician, businesswoman, and far-right[4] conspiracy theorist[5] serving as the U.S. representative for Georgia's 14th congressional district.[6]"

Those kind of abstract accusations do not belong in an encyclopedia article, and while there's a wealth of "citations" buried under the [5], none are anything other than news articles repeating the same accusation. It's baseless mudslinging that is the exact opposite of sticking to provable individual claims and facts, like a proper encyclopedia article should consist of.

Granted, it's not an insurmountable bar as it appears anyone with 500 edits can begin to participate. However, it shows a clear attempt to control the narrative to a specific one, and erecting barriers against changing that while officially endorsing the current one. It spans greater than just that, and seems common across other political articles on Wikipedia.

Hmm, by saying that the accusations are "baseless", you seem to be saying that she's not actually a conspiracy theorist. But it's not just repetitions of a flat accusation; for example, NPR quoted her as saying, "There's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it." (Evidently she's also claimed that the Clintons had John F. Kennedy Jr. killed, that Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin performed a human sacrifice in order to drink a child's blood, that the damage to the Pentagon 20 years ago was due to a missile rather than an airplane impact, and that the UN is committing genocide against white people.) Are you saying that NPR was lying in attributing that quote to her, or that she did say that but somehow is nevertheless not a conspiracy theorist? Or am I misinterpreting your claim of "baseless mudslinging"?

It seems to me that describing Marjorie Taylor Greene as a "far-right conspiracy theorist" is just as encyclopedic and verifiable as describing Charles Manson as "an American criminal who led the Manson Family" or Jeffrey Dahmer as "an American serial killer and sex offender who committed the murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys". Why do you disagree?

Peertube is closer to MediaWiki than Wikipedia. Anyone can setup an instance, and scrap/share content from other instances using URLs. Nothing is distributed, anonymous or censorship-proof... but the entire network is federated and pseudonymous.

> From a purely-technical lens, that may not seem like a fatal flaw. When viewed through a whole-product lens, it is.

YouTube is an advertising business, Peertube is software. They are like day and night different.

Peertube is developed by a community of developers, governed by a french non-profit called Framasoft. Their primary mission is community governance, establishing a legal footprint, and promoting Peertube, in the same vain as Mozilla, the Drupal Foundation and many others.

According to the Peertube website, 90% of Framasoft's funding consists of donations. Since they don't sell a service, don't have to maintain infrastructure to enable hosting of videos, they don't require a complex organization and large investments.

Sharing the costs of a common good tends to work out on a small scale, and it's a valid alternative to private for-profit initiatives. Reeading tip: ERS's "The Cathedral and the Bazaar"


> PeerTube's anonymous, censor-proof nature is enough to attract a certain class of content that repels advertisers, but then what? Until the dark side of distributed technologies is addressed instead of touted as a feature, this doesn't have a chance of popular success.

Peertube isn't a single service that contains a "certain class of content that repels advertisers". It's software that allows anyone to set up their own server and hook it up in a federated network of servers.

It's a bit like online fora. Like, PHPbb and vBulletin are just sofware. Anyone can download a copy, install it on their own server, run their own forum and develop their own community. It used to be that there were fora about anything and everything ranging from gaming, knitting, books, history to the less savory topics and themes. Few would argue that these weren't successful in their heyday.

The biggest challenge federated networks face is this: discovery of content. That's what defines how much they will appeal to a large audience.

Centralized services like YouTube are popular because they've perfected the discovery of information relevant to their audience to a fine art. YouTube becoming an ad business is a paradox: they arrived at that point because that's the only viable business model to cover the cost of centralized hosting of billions of videos, and the bandwidth required to serve billions of viewers.

Federated networks don't suffer that problem because the costs of hosting content are shared across the nodes of the network. Peertube leverages WebTorrent as their file sharing protocol. The existence of individual nodes across the network is predicated by local economic conditions. Some nodes may disappear if they can't recoup their own operational costs. But distributed character of the network implies that its enduring success is predicated by the longevity of a majority of nodes.

One could also post chunks of videos to a channel on an existing (corporate) video platform in an obscured form, such that they survive transcoding, and reconstitute them in the client. For example, invert the Pr channel, and reverse audio frames (realistically, do something better). There's your free CDN, provided by a legacy video platform in a way which (at least conceivably, if one properly tailors his approach) does not violate their ToS.

I'd be curious how much data you could store for free on Youtube given some clever steganography.

Might only take a few people noticing and reporting it, until your account gets blocked or something.

How would they notice? I'm not suggesting to publish "random noise" videos, but maybe to make abstract art video/music that could "hide" the information?

>perhaps it is time to see, that it might cost us a tiny bit of money each month

that's still "generating revenue". maybe not profit, but servers and bandwidth cost non-trivial amounts of money and somebody has to pay for that. whether it's donations, or user-fees, or ads, or private benefactors, the revenue has to come from somewhere. but if a video service has no answer as to how it can sustain itself, it's questionable whether it's worth the effort of developing it or developing your audience on it.

Use your unused upstream bandwidth. Like bit torrent for video.

So why not just make the video available on torrent?

It's even possible to streamline the experience for torrents like how Popcorntime has done. Users don't need to even be technical enough to understand what torrents are - the same way users don't need to understand tcp/ip to visit a website.

Bittorrent protocol is not supported in browsers. Peertube uses Webtorrent, which is a WebRTC port of the Bittorrent protocol. Those two networks are incompatible but the magnet hashes are the same and there is progress in desktop clients implementing Webtorrent peering.

You can try to think of Peertube as Popcorn Time with user following and channels and comments... and interop with the rest of the Fediverse.

What about Nebula or curiousitystream?

Those are commercial alternatives, with curated content. So creators can get paid directly from the subscription income. Clearly it serves a somewhat different community than the fediverse. Personally, that seems okay. There should be room for both things to exist.

i absolutely love this answer, and we need more people who think like this. props to you friend. much love, and much support. lets spread awareness to these poisoned minds.

How do we get good content from a platform that is explicitly copyleft? Will the vast majority of creators use this even as a backup?

> How do we get good content from a platform that is explicitly copyleft?

The same way we get good software from a ´community´ which is explicitly copyleft.

> Will the vast majority of creators use this even as a backup?

The best way to use platforms like Peertube and Odysee is by using it as a primary source, with Youtube and Vimeo essentially playing the role of CDN. Should the censors not like your video for $reasons they can block them 'till they turn ultraviolet but they can not deny anyone access to them. Make sure to advertise your alternative distribution channel(s), use the same channel names and video titles so they can be found through regular web search and you're set [1].

[1] that it, until censorship reaches the network layer

I think that’s a bad idea because I don’t want people to think watching video on a computer is okay.

Video (movies) should be enjoyed on a big screen with a good screen.

These platforms should give creators a way to prohibit viewing on small screens, Linux, etc.

Why does absolute size matter? Viewing angle is surely far more important, with something made for THX being optimised for 40°

And as for blocking the most popular video playing platform out there - at least for large screens - the only question would be “why”

Is this satire?

sounds like my film prof at uni

Why would copyleft have anything to do with the quality of content people upload? I am not quite following the connection there.

Most people don’t care about the license of a place to put their videos

Then why did you bring it up at all?

It’s literally all over the Peertube homepage

The license of the source code doesn't apply to the content hosted.

I know. But people who cares about the server code care more about such things. I made a copyleft movie and the PeerTube site I put it on went down forever. YouTube and archive.org remain up

> But people who cares about the server code care more about such things. I made a copyleft movie and the PeerTube site I put it on went down forever.

What does the have to do with the licence of the PeerTube source code?

There are people who like running their own linux server with their own hardware. Occasionally those people are also interesting in creating videos or have friends/family that are.

There are also people who get funded through sites like patreon, who might not care too much for youtube advertisement or YT freemium. Sometimes you even see youtube personalities switching to twitch or other platforms just in order to escape youtube and do legal activity which is just close to impossible on youtube. There is an endless stream of youtube videos complaing about youtube copyright system and how it makes their job close to impossible in some cases. Game reviews and movie reviews are two areas almost dominated by the issue of false copyright claims, which has forced some creators to abandon the platform as a revenue sources.

There is even float plane which was designed from the ground to solve the youtube problem, created by a company that fully relied on youtube for its existence. If your company existence is depended on a free service provided by someone else, you might want to reconsider how safe you should feel. PeerTube might serve a similar purpose.

On top of that we have scientists who might want to know that their research isn't taken down because of false copyright claims or fleeting politics. A company that has linked instruction videos in their books/teaching material might want to be sure that links still work 10 years from now. Activists might want to avoid the risk that their documentation doesn't go dark from a political requests or false claim. Police brutality victims might want to be sure that the copyrighted music playing in the background, placed there intentionally to get copyright claims, does not stop them from uploading videos.

> What is the incentive for anyone to do this?

What is the incentive for anyone to run a Tor/i2p/IPFS/Torrent seed node?

This is difficult for normies to understand, but money isn't the only thing that incentivizes people to do things. There are many people for whom "Fuck YouTube" is the only incentive required to participate.

>What is the incentive for anyone to run a Tor/i2p/IPFS/Torrent seed node?

Work. Usually for a three letter agency of some sort -at least for the first two.

The fact is most videos are unpopular, so they don't have a very high bandwidth requirement. Those that do have a high bandwidth requirement are the popular videos that will be seeded by more nodes in the network. Typically this popularity is brief, so as the popularity fades, nodes can switch to hosting other content without a dramatic uptick in bandwidth usage for other nodes. The system works as long as users typically seed approximately the same amount as they leech.

Perhaps efficiency shouldn't be the thing we optimize for in this case. If you look at the internet it's extremely inefficient, there are millions of DNS servers all kind of have semi recent information about domains. There are millions of websites mainly hosted on extremely inefficient servers. There are millions of images and other assets mainly compressed less than they should be wasting tons of bandwidth. Yet here we are, the internet works and it works great. It'd be a sad day if someone argued that we should abandon all this and give the keys to someone like Google? Because it'd be more efficient? Screw that!

The thing is that dns and static web servers are serving an absolutely minuscule amount of data while a single video on youtube is several GB in the higher qualities. No one can compete on video hosting because it is constantly at the upper limit of what is possible. It will be forever before all videos go 4k and when they do, there will be a push to have it all at 60fps and then at higher bitrates and then at 120fps.

Diminishing returns. I think most people would agree that 1Mbps 1080p AV1 looks ok (https://demo.bitmovin.com/public/firefox/av1/ -- use the quality selector and wait a while) and the vast majority of "content" doesn't warrant cinema quality anyway.

There's always some push for more quality but that doesn't mean the audience requires it. Youtube itself had horrible quality and outdated codecs for a long long time yet and that didn't stop it from getting popular. Video snobs are a bit of a niche that youtube has historically not catered for.

As far as I know, youtube has always been pretty close to the top for free video streaming quality. Sites like facebook and such compress the video far more than youtube ever has.

So yeah they were not the best video possible to create but they were the best for the internet at the time and still are. You can upload 8k HDR 60fps videos which are sized at multiple GB right now.

Once youtube has it, people are not going to tolerate 720p video from an alternative.

Hobby? Not everybody does anything for making money.

For exmaple Wikipedia, thausands of people write articles, for free, they got no money. Huge amount of open source developers publishing their work for everybody, free.

Why would you want advertisers? Advertisers are part of the problem.

A significant portion of content creators do it as a full time job. Ads is a stable revenue stream for these content creators. You as a consumer are free to move to any decentralized video platform you like, but the main bottleneck for any significant shift in market share depends on content creators, and ultimately, on advertisers.

> Ads is a stable revenue stream for these content creators.

Ads are a revenue stream mostly for the platform e.g. YouTube itself. You can have a look at this[1] or any other "how my YouTube channel makes money" video to see that's the case.

In-video ads, on the other hand, are indeed a significant revenue stream for creators, but those have nothing to do with the platform and everything to do with the single creator.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zt57TWkTF4

According to the video you linked, AdSense and in-video ads are basically tied for income (26 and 27% respectively). Both of those are significant sources of income!

In the video I linked, "Sponsored projects" is a type of in-video ads, where they build a particular PC and the video is sponsored by a hardware company, so the total for all types of in-video ads is 41% vs 26% from AdSense.

For smaller Youtubers (LTT is a very large channel) the gap between AdSense and in-video tends to be wider. I don't have hard data on this but it's the result of talking to several youtubers in person. If someone has the data, it would be cool to share it here.

Don't ignore the fact that ads also pay for video hosting resources which, for some reason, your source completely ignored.

How much would I have to pay to replace the revenue that a content creater would get from my eyeball traffic on YouTube? From what I'm reading it's less than a penny per video. I send about $30/mo to Patreon, that's enough for what, 3000 videos? I watch YouTube way too much, but I don't watch it that much.

Realistically I should be aiming to replace Google's revenue for my eyeball traffic, because that covers all of the costs as well. Still seems very doable.

It would be nice if Patreon partnered up with them and handled the transactions.

Realistically, every PeerTube viewer would also need to pay for the thousands or more viewers any creator will lose by forcing viewers to pay money and by moving to a niche platform with worse UX and no serious discovery.

That really puts it into perspective. If we each chipped in one penny per video we could replace advertisements for everyone. At least in terms of supporting the content creators.

How many videos do you watch per day? If you're anything like me, i at least skim through 100 videos a day. Likely more, depending on my free time and interest.

That's like 1-2 dollars worth of 'penny' donations per day. I'm not sure i would be willing to pay that, esp. if for videos that i'm only mildly interested in, and would not have gone to watch if it weren't free.

Most people probably don't skim through 100 videos per day.

I doubt I skim through even 10 video a day. I think people like myself are more likely the norm than the exception.

A common "digital fallacy" people make is assuming 'everyone' uses a site like they use it. Most people don't.

If all of that made-for-youtube-income ad supported shit would go away youtube would get better, not worse. I wished I could block the lot of it.

You'll have a hard time convincing any creator to cut off a revenue source like ads for ideological reasons.

it's not like the OG creators expected money from it. They did it as a part time hobby to show friends. They didn't expect to transform their lives. I get just as much enjoyment watching creators who only spend a few hours per week on their content as a hobby as those who have turned it into a giant company with employees and a studio. Actually, I get less enjoyment from those who have overly commercialized their channel.

Why does money have to touch everything? Why do I continue to make comments on HN? It's certainly not because I hope to monitize this. It's fun and you share your ideas.

Acting like removing the ability for creators to get money from ads is going to eliminate all creators is silly, so yes it's a hard sell for existing creators, and if forced upon it'll remove a lot of the profit driven creators, and I view that as a good thing.

Some of the best content on Youtube takes time and money to make - even for hobbyists and enthusiasts, and much of it would be impossible if creators were also forced to hold a second full-time job to cover their budget. I say "second" because content creation is a job whether it's compensated for or not. And not everyone who makes a living at it has a giant company with employees at a studio.

Yes it's true that not everybody who makes a living from it has multiple employees and a studio, PewDiePie is a good example of somebody who didn't ruin his channel by transforming the nature of it once he got more views.

Sure, content creation is a job whether they're compensated or not. I'm not saying that we deserve free content, I'm saying that there will always be people bored enough to create content they want to share.

Image macros are created daily but nobody is creating them with the expectation of compensation. (There are social media accounts who compile them so they can gain followers / post ads, but the original creators aren't)

People write blogs knowing they get 20 views per month. That's the voices I want to hear. Not from someone who reads a book about how to get $5k in passive income per month by churning blog posts and growing a mailing list!

The number #1 post on the front page about blogs has this comment

"As a minor counterpoint: I've come to dread blogs and newsletters because so many of them are written by grind culture freaks who only write faux-insightful SEO'd content as a way to build an audience to sell snake oil to."

Just replace blogs and newsletter with YouTube channels and that's my sentiment.

Not a youtuber, but I had a successful art/webcomic-related patreon once before deleting it precisely because of ideological reasons. (Or as I prefer to call them, ethics.)

I would much rather the old internet come back where "content creator" was never a word that existed, or could exist.

People expecting content for free is the Original Sin. Advertisers are just a side effect of peoples unwillingness to pay for their content.

There is a reason why these Youtube channels don't just roll their own platform: their content is not worth money. Same reason why no one pays for your blog. It is just not worth any amount of money.

There are many Youtubers whose content I like, but if I had to pay monthly fee (or pay per view) for their videos I wouldn't watch them. I think this was pretty much confirmed with the Youtube Red experiment. Many of the channels I follow got picked up for the program, but I have no desire to pay for the shows they produced for Youtube.

And how the ads work on Youtube makes it completely unwatchable without AdBlocking and I am not paying for the Youtube Premium to remove ads because A) it won't remove the ads and sponsorships that are embedded in the videos and B) I don't want to give Youtube as a platform any cut.

I feel like you completely validate my point that people aren't willing to pay for content, the original sin making alternative monetization a requirement.

You're willing to watch the content, just not pay for it.

This is why concepts like PeerTube will never attract the majority of content, because it isn't free to make it, it isn't free to show it, it's only free to consume it.

If you want to look it like that wouldn't the "original sin" be making poor quality stuff and expecting someone to pay for it?

Yeah, I can watch someone pour molten metal on safety glass, that seems interesting, but I wouldn't pay for it. It isn't that interesting.

It isn't poor quality stuff. Just because you don't like the content that Youtube creators make doesn't make it poor quality

Ironically, when I go to Peertube, all the content there is objectively low quality with extremely poor production value, little to no editing, and clearly done with the lowest of budgets.

The content airing on Youtube from the top ~1000+ creators is easily as good or better than the majority of cable TV.

It's often extremely high quality content, frankly.

Production quality with fancy cameras and editing doesn't make the content good. It makes it fancy.

And yes there are some Youtubers whose I have subscribed to and their content is often great. However it is not consistently great enough to pay for it just like cable TV. And that is just the top 1% of the top 1%. Rest is at best mediocre and often just grabage.

Again, that's your personal opinion which clearly deviates from the public opinion. It's okay to not like it, but to call it bad because you dislike it is ridiculous.

We're talking about business models here, we're talking about a whole industry, and you should realize that your opinion is worse than useless, it's actively harming your ability to understand and predict

If PeerTube wants to be a 0.00001% write off for radical CopyLeftists and "Hackers" to put up some low effort, low value, "good" content then so be it but to even bring up Youtube in a conversation of yet-another-tiny-site is silly, because that concept is not competing with Youtube and could never compete with Youtube.

So my opinion doens't matter and is worse than useless, but your opinion on PeerTube's content is worth while? If my opinion deviates so much from the public's opinion why isn't Youtube pay per view? Or at least monthly subscription? Sadly most people are not tech savy enough to use ad blockers or are consuming Youtube with their mobile devices where they can't block ads.

As for PeerTube I don't care. Sadly video is currently expensive to host and only Google has the pockets to operate a site like Youtube. I won't pay for it and the day my adblocker stops working is the day I stop watching it.

People expect content for free because advertising has allowed it. It didn't start that way.

I mean, radio and TV were free OTA for decades. I don't know what you want to call the "start" of content, but ad-supported free models have been around for a very long time.

PeerTube addresses this specific problem by employing WebTorrent so that when many people are watching a video at the same time they download from each other instead of everyone using up the server's available bandwidth.

And yet, torrents are still a thing.

because people want to download illegal movies and porn, or host linux isos as a service for the commons. There's practically no commercial activity around torrents because it's an incredibly inefficient way to serve large amounts of data.

You may not be aware of this, but like everything on PeerTube, the video we are commenting on here is in fact served up via BitTorrent. I got about a third of it from the diode.zone seed, which, if I understand correctly, is paid for out of Micah Scott's Patreon.

The inefficiency of torrents on near-symmetric internet connections is pretty minor. If a 1GiB movie is on Netflix, each user has to download 1GiB of data over your internet connection. If it's in a torrent, each user has to download 1GiB of data and also upload 1GiB of data. The efficiency difference is only a factor of 2. And the 1GiB of upload bandwidth was, in many cases, idle anyway.

(Well, there's also the fact that the users are paying the cost of distributing the movie, rather than Netflix paying part of it. So you'd think that information that benefits the people who receive it, like Linux, porn, and sewing and soapmaking tutorials, rather than the people who produce it, like advertising, would tend to be distributed by torrents. But, for a commercial setup, this is a minor consideration; even ordinary hosted servers pay relatively little for bandwidth, and Netflix probably pays nothing in most cases. I suspect Micah Scott ended up paying about 10% of the cost of me watching this video, not counting the value of my time.)

So... if I watch a copywritten video on peertube, the MPAA might sue me for being a peer and distributing it?

This is actually a really important question that we need an answer to.

Legal or not, the fact that many people host and share dozens of large torrents from their home servers for free belies the claim that sharing video would necessarily be too expensive to be practical or would devolve back to turn off the century RealVideo quality.

the legality matters a great deal because if you steal the IP obviously even cumbersome technology becomes viable.

Cartels don't use drug mules because they're such a fantastic feat of logistics but because hiring a freight train is somewhat problematic

How's it inefficient?

because decentralized systems need to redundantly store data, a lot. Youtube accounts for, depending on the source 15% of global internet traffic.

The reason you can watch videos at 1080p wherever you are in the world buffer free is because the system is ridiculously optimized, cached locally, and so on. Do you want to go back to 180p because one of the two guys hosting that five year old video with 50k views you liked just went offline?

Your second paragraph disproves your first, do you realize that? Youtube caches locally in a decentralized fashion, with redundant data, etc.

IIRC, both Windows Updates as well as Steam use delivery systems that are very similar to torrents.

Blizzard used to distribute updates using bittorrent before the advent of CDNs.

To be totally fair, Akamai predates BitTorrent.

Everyone used to but almost no company does anymore. It's easier and more effective to just let each ISP cache the content of highly downloaded files.

You mean, pay Fastly or Cloudflare to run your swarm for you, instead of running it yourself on your users' computers?

Which isn't too expensive if you have paying customers. Doesn't make people angry when they are on data cap or trying to do something else on their network. Also doesn't have to deal with endless NAT and middlebox issues.

But often ISPs will willingly host the content for free since it saves them money as well. Steam and netflix have caches inside ISP datacenters.

> illegal movies

What's illegal movies?

Here's an example of a movie declared illegal in the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magnitsky_Act_%E2%80%93_Be...

The Wikipedia article doesn't mention any banning, and I can buy the film on Amazon.

Maybe Barrin92 is in the People's Republic of China, where movies criticizing the government are illegal.

> if users have to carry that load and seed your stuff they'll have to waste their own storage.

Waste? They'd be using storage that would otherwise most likely be sitting there, unused. Or in other words, wasted.

> What is the incentive for anyone to [seed content]?

The incentive is to make content you like accessible to more people. Of course you can do it in your "garage" if you have huge hard drives and good connectivity, but you can also do it as a collective by setting up your own instance and mirroring other instances aligned with your values/interests.

There is exactly zero incentive for an instance to mirror public instances where people can upload terabytes of trash content. But there is strong incentives to replicate well-moderated instances with quality content, because the cost of that is very low (you can rent a VPS with 2TB HDD for ~20€/mo these days).

> Exacerbated by the fact that the entire thing mostly seems to attract people who get banned from anything else

I don't think that's the case. For now i've mostly seen established non-profits (eg. libre software/culture NGOs and workers cooperatives) who were disenchantized with Youtube. I've seen exactly one white supremacist instance, and it got delisted from "official" instances list in under 24h.

You are too used to paying for volume. Most classic server providers give you a fixed bandwidth without additional traffic costs.

My immediate thought is that it could offer an alternative tier of support to subscriptions / patreon - i.e. people who supply a specific amount of storage / bandwidth can be considered a premium tier "fan" and get perks... exclusive gifts, services, cough content cough, moderation rights, etc.

This could be an avenue for tech savvy sex workers who need an alternative to OnlyFans.

If distribution is done like bit torrent then the users pay for it - the cost is then distributed and very low.

There needs to be some kind of peer to peer rating system so you can find content suited to you (reinforce your bubble I suppose) because there is going to be no central filtering authority, but that's part of the point.

Except users don't have to give any storage space at all.

Don't understand how this is the top comment, hello HN backdoors?

The channel in this post has 20 YouTube subscribers and no more than a couple thousand total YouTube views.

The trending page on PeerTube shows a list of videos with at most a few dozen views.

Is PeerTube supremely unpopular (seems to have been launched several years ago: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PeerTube), or am I missing something? Does it really have an order of magnitude more Github stars (https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube) than daily viewers?

A lot of people see the usefulness of PeerTube but don't move because the creators they watch are on YouTube. It's the same for the creators, though - they can't move off of YouTube entirely, because none of their viewers will go to a PeerTube instance just to watch that one creator. Thus nobody moves to PT unless there are other factors (like extremist creators moving because their videos keep getting removed by YT).

Another major problem that prevents creators from hosting on PeerTube is that there are no ads - many see direct-from-YouTube revenue driven by Premium views/Ad views generate a significant portion of their income. Even Linus Tech Tips, with their audience of gamers who mostly running an ad blocker, sees YouTube generate 26% of their profit[0], almost exactly as much as they get from sponsors spots in their videos. If everyone were to move to PT, we'd either need an intermediary for ads, or only creators with audiences that could afford to personally finance them (via Patreon or similar) would be able to survive and make a living off of running their channel.

0: https://youtu.be/-zt57TWkTF4?t=391

This is my big pet peeve with people who describe Youtube's demonetization policies as "censorship" and propose Peertube as a replacement. I'm not going to get entangled in the question of what responsibility big social media has and what it should or shouldn't do about giving people platforms, but I will say that if you believe demonetization and being de-prioritized in youtube's discovery algorithms is being deplatformed/censored, moving to a service that doesn't really have monetization or youtube-style content discovery isn't the solution.

If you move your content to PeerTube and want both an audience and to be paid, you'll need a combination of third party services and other social media, and will likely end up with similar problems re: advertisers cutting out "unacceptable content".

I do think it'd probably be better if the content provider was divested from this layer and focused on only providing media, but Peertube doesn't really solve these social/economic problems people complain about with Youtube.

One way people could start is by uploading content on both, Youtube and a PeerTube instance and mention their PeerTube content in YouTube videos. This way they also create a kind of online backup, in case YouTube's algorithms decide to take them down.

If I am remembering right from linus tech tips, they are not allowed to try get viewers to go to an other platform. The are some ways one can indirect reference other platforms, but videos intended to get people off youtube is basically not allowed.

Oh my, I did not even know that. That's so toxic. Shouldn't that fall under some kind of monopoly law?

There are a number of prominent YouTubers who advertise their own alternative platforms fairly regularly, if "indirectly". There are also videos about LTT's own video service Floatplane on YouTube [0]

I'm guessing that either there's some clause in the YouTube partner/adsense program saying you can't just redirect your viewers elsewhere or you can't upload videos with the sole purpose of saying "go here for more videos".

That said, I'd be interested to see the details of what GP was talking about, because I believe it exists, I just wonder what the exacts are.

[0] https://youtu.be/oOOOfZWXPu4

I was going to say that digging through wan shows to find a reference was too hard but then duckduckgo gave me a hit of a HN post I made that referenced the twitter post.


And here is the wan show discussing it (thanks to a comment on HN): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKtJY6soCds&t=698s

The only restriction YouTube has is that you can’t create videos that purely say “go check us out on this other platform”, which is what they used to do for WAN show when it was only streamed on Twitch but announced on YT.

Yeah, I've seen several creators mention "extended" or "uncensored" versions of their content on another platform. Off the top of my head, Corridor Digital is one example that advertises their alternative content pretty heavily.

Linus and co founded Floatplane, which is explicitly another platform competing with YouTube. It isn't very successful, but they certainly did it.


Wasnt't that Twitch? They talk about Floatplane on YT often enough.

I think when certain very talented creators get "demonetized" and they have a bad experience with customer service trying to understand why, and maybe suspect the criteria changed without they're knowing, it's relatively understandable to over-react and say their hard work was censored, even if knowing it doesn't meet the legal standard. I wouldn't let it bother you so much.

"It's the same for the creators, though - they can't move off of YouTube entirely, because none of their viewers will go to a PeerTube instance just to watch that one creator."

Is it so hard to be on both? Something I like about YouTube compared to some other platforms is they never (to the best of my knowledge) engage in exclusives or impose exclusivity conditions. And even when they develop new features, I've rarely seen Google try to restrict those.

just upload same videos to both platforms, people will come slowly.

Only folks that can sustain themselves, like forgotten weapons, are patreon supported. But you would have to create a channel from the beginning to be patreon supported.

It's not that you have to create the channel from the beginning to be Patreon supported, but that you have to be willing to forego the additional YouTube revenue even if Patreon payment s become enough to support you.

Peertube is really just an "app" providing a simple way to host and publish your content online outside the control of "service" providers that can also easily be accessed and shared by the "fediverse" (in this case activitypub supporting federated networks of servers and end users).

You can consume peertube content with any activitypub client that supports its types. In short, peertube is an accessible way for users to publish their videos to activitypub.

Yes, Owncast [0] is another example of a media app that is in the process of adding ActivityPub protocol support [1] and become part of the Fediverse. I hope they'll be largely compatible in the way they implemented their federation support.

[0] https://owncast.online/

[1] https://github.com/owncast/owncast/tree/gek/activity-pub-1

Peertube uses very simple and straightforward ActivityStreams (JSON) properties so it's very unlikely anyone is going to make something incompatible.

However, i don't think every property is standardized yet, so having another implementation will be useful to specify everything for future implementations.

> Is PeerTube supremely unpopular (...), or am I missing something?

One reason of seeming more inpopular than it actually is, lies in that while there are many PeerTube instances, they are not all federating together. They are selective and some are not federating at all.

Also I am not sure if counting of views works all that well yet, and Likes require either signing up to individual instances, or spreading of video link via Mastodon to get liked (via ActivityPub integration).

Both the federation and the level of integration with other Fediverse apps is a work in progress and steadily improving.

Maybe the idea of PeerTube is a lot nice than the user experience? I can't say, I haven't tried PeerTube. I feel like this is pretty common when it comes to avoiding big tech though. When Github was bought out by Microsoft I went all in on Gitlab, but alas, the company I work for now uses Github. The sheer gravity of it pulled me back in.

The experience is fine, but PeerTube by definition is decentralized, so measurements won't always be indicative of usefulness...

Perhaps the most notable fact is how upvoted this article is. Shows you how much people want to believe, maybe?

What exactly is your point? That it's inferior technology because it's unpopular?

In the video streaming world, yeah that is true. These platforms are not just hosts, they are discovery platforms and if there isn't any content to discover, it isn't a good platform.

Peertube discovery is based on a "following" model based on the ActivityPub protocol. You don't need a Peertube account to follow video creators, because:

- you can subscribe to them from Mastodon or any fediverse client

- your friends on the Fediverse can "reshare" (reshare/boost) videos from their favorite content creator

There's also a "decentralized" (as in "selfhosted") search engine called SepiaSearch being developed for use with Peertube.

I can't say i'm fulfilled yet by the content available on Peertube (although there is some great quality content), but at least i'm happy i'm not being dragged into recommendation hell by a hostile machine learning model trying to maximize advertising revenues... and Peertube federation keeps growing with more and more non-profits running instances for specific interests and communities, and more and more content creators ditching the creator-hostile [0] platforms for Peertube.

[0] Some creators believe that tracking their viewers and serving them dubious advertisement is bad. Most creators agree that automated copyright strikes like Youtube is doing (completely ignoring copyright exemptions like fair use) is bad.

> The channel in this post has 20 YouTube subscribers and no more than a couple thousand total YouTube views.

...that's quite a lot even on YouTube, no? I always assumed the videos recommended for their sheer popularity were a "top 1%" sort of situation.

No, this is nowhere near a lot, even for small channels. Make a quality video about something useful and there is a good chance you get more views than this persons whole channel

Well, if you're comparing against all YouTube users, or even all YouTube users who have ever uploaded a video, then yes, it's a lot. On the other hand, compared to most content being viewed on YouTube, it's not even tiny, it's minuscule. There are many niche hobbyist communities or individual hobbyist singers getting much more than that. 20 subscribers basically means that not even your friends and family are looking at your channel.

I have a random "a vs. b" video on my personal channel with 150k views. A few thousand views is obtainable by accident just naming your video a certain way.

> 20 subscribers basically means that not even your friends and family are looking at your channel.

I agree with your interpretation overall, but there's other factors at play:

- Peertube isn't trying to force everyone to have an account like Youtube is

- the Peertube federation is much younger, and some would say it reached maturity for broader usage very recently (this year)

- view count does not account for people downloading the video directly using HTTPS direct connection and/or Webtorrent, only those using the default web client

I think there is a slight misunderstanding. The numbers from my GP were about YouTube subscribers and views, not PeerTube. The point being that this is a minuscule YT channel that is moving to PeerTube, one that is hardly representative of anything.

For comparison, here [0] is the YT channel that has moved to PeerTube, and here [1] is a random musician's channel that I happen to follow. The second is many times larger, even though it is a single person's channel.

[0] https://youtube.com/channel/UCj-eQP-Mt6Eo0mh3iwdB9Hg

[1] https://youtube.com/c/JoostLameris

Thanks for the clarifiation! I had misunderstood the original comment indeed.

Back in high school I had a "gaming channel" where I posted just random clips of my friends and I. The subscriber count peaked around 350. No idea how many views were in total. But I removed the channel years ago.

So I'm guessing as long as you post regularly you can get thousands of subscribers without much effort.

One thing I really dislike about Fediverse services is that their landing pages are always about joining/signing up. For Twitter-like applications this might be ok. But for something like YouTube, I definitely want to browse the content a bit before signing up.

> One thing I really dislike about Fediverse services is that their landing pages are always about joining/signing up.

That's because their “landing pages” (project advertisement websites) aren't instances. The home page of any instance (e.g. https://diode.zone/) will show you the content visible from that instance.

This isn’t true of Mastodon or Pixelfed instances (or wasn’t when I tried running one).

But, if you’re going to be called “join peertube” you need to have the sort of content that makes people want to join: copy about what peertube is + a list of instances isn’t that.

Most Mastodon instances have it a single click away from the sign-up page. (But yes, I agree. Mastodon isn't great, even though it's popular.)

For many people 1 click (or even an entire screen scroll-down) is too much. If PeerTube is supposed to be an YouTube alternative, you need to see videos and a search right away.

I know it's not an instance and blah-blah-blah, but those are technical details that (possible) users don't give a single F.

People shouldn't "go to peertube" to watch videos. If they have that impression, then there is a problem of communication rather than implementation.

I host a peertube instance that currently mostly contains my own videos. If I want someone to watch it, I link to the channel or the video in question. I don't say "watch me on peertube". The fact that peertube is the software that runs the service is not something a regular user should care about.

Peertube is federated using the same protocol as Mastodon, but federation isn't completely open by default. I guess this is for the better, because there is a lot of content you wouldn't want on your own instance's main feed (most instance hosts don't want porn in the middle of a feed of mostly tech videos).

Also, the UI of peertube isn't that great when it comes to following channels on other instances. If federation breaks (which it usually does) you get a nondescript error saying that something failed.

> That's because their “landing pages” [...] aren't instances

That is a technically correct answer, but it misses the point: they're asking users to sign up before they even see the product. They're expecting that the premise of the site alone is enough to entice users to join, which is very optimistic. It would be better to immediately direct the user to content, and then provide reasons for why they should get an account. At a high level, that's what YouTube does.

joinpeertube.org has a "content selection" featuring 1 video, 1 channel and 1 instance on the homepage. It also has a "browse instances" button above that and further down the page, and a search form powered by sepiasearch.org. It's already not that bad compared to many fediverse landing pages, but i'm sure suggestions are appreciated.

Just consider publishing more content on the homepage would raise questions, like what content to prioritize/ban from the homepage? There's some editorial work to delist certain instances from the instance list, but personally i'm rather glad Peertube doesn't go much further trying to recreate the whole Youtube experience where a single actor decides on what you get to see.

> personally i'm rather glad Peertube doesn't go much further trying to recreate the whole Youtube experience where a single actor decides on what you get to see.

Yeah, like I mentioned, PeerTube is currently targeted at those attracted to the premise alone. Most people don't notice things like you did, and they're not going to interpret the apparent lack of features as a plus. If it's going to gain mass-adoption, it really needs to work on first impressions.

I've just opened the YouTube frontpage from a private window to see what it's like. There is literally nothing on there I'd want to click on. I think the value of YouTube is in 1) being able to link to a video 2) subscribing to creators and having them in your feed and 3) related videos. But none of that is the kind of browsing around you can do from the frontpage.

Not sure what you mean, the homepage of YouTube immediately shows you a grid of videos and an interface for exploring other categories/genres if they're not interesting to you.

If you find anything interesting in there, it means Google is successfully tracking you across the web to know your habits. Try from a fresh browser/computer and you'll see all recommendations are commercial trash-vertisement with no human/scientific/political interest.

Some of these suggested videos may be fun to watch but Youtube has become really bad over the years to discover interesting, not well-known content. Now they're trying to maximize ad revenue, and the recommended videos have suffered as a consequence, only pushing top-popularity content pushed by "content creation industry" with very little quality.

> Try from a fresh browser/computer and you'll see all recommendations are commercial trash-vertisement with no human/scientific/political interest.

...so they're not interesting to you. I see several news and music-related videos that I might watch. Like I said, YouTube presents you with a set of videos you may be interested in, and even if you're not, it also gives you tools for finding videos yourself (e.g., through tags & categories). The moment you start watching videos, it starts refining recommendations and funneling you towards more content.

By contrast, PeerTube's homepage is pretty bare. I don't even know what the interface would look like if I did sign up.

PeerTube does not have enough bandwidth to work.

Try PeerTube. Here's a cat video. Posted 1 week ago, 38 views, duration 10 seconds.


Even as the only watcher, and with gigabit Internet both ways at my end, it stuttered, then stalled completely.

For short videos, you'd be better off putting them on a shared hosting site as .mp4 files.

Peer to peer video hosting is just not a good idea for bandwidth reasons.

So what's different between Peertube and Youtube, is that Youtube is a single entity with considerable hosting/network resources. They are building their own CDN (developing points of presence across continents), which makes their infra expensive to run, and also reproduces real-world power imbalances such as access to Youtube being real slow (or even impossible) from some countries/regions (eg. sub-Saharan Africa).

Peertube, on the other hand, encourages distribution of content in a peer-to-peer manner. As a person, you can use your favorite Webtorrent [0] client to help seed content from far away servers to your neighbors. As an instance operator, you can opt-in to seeding for another instance (with a disk quota limit) from your own network, helping videos published on the other side of the world reach your local audience.

Example: take three hypothetical FLOSS-oriented instances floss.fr (France) floss.cn (China) and floss.ml (Mali). If those instances all "follow" one another, with sufficient disk quotas, all videos will be replicated across the 3 servers, and video streaming will be smooth from those 3 locations (and neighboring regions).

In all cases, even when initial streaming is slow, Webtorrent scales well because most clients (unless they opt-out) will seed videos via Webtorrent protocol (WebRTC + STUN) so as a video becomes more popular it becomes easier/faster to access without placing the infrastructure/economic burden on the Peertube instance. Clever stuff.

[0] There is a reference Webtorrent client, but libtorrent recently started implementing Webtorrent support so that should become more broadly available "soon".

Worked fine for me with maybe one stutter. Anyway, that's once instance of PT, there are others. E.g. I've never noticed any issues with https://watch.ocaml.org/

Both the videos referenced above worked smoothly for me. I’m on a 30 mbps cable Internet connection.

I guess it depends on the peers.

I have 600 down and it was still choppy on the first load.

I feel like there's a poor buffering algorithm involved. It was a bit choppy for me even though the playback bar indicated that the video had loaded well ahead of time.

Downloading that video with wget took me 0.4 seconds.

Connecting to peertube.tv (peertube.tv)||:443... connected. HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK Length: 1058937 (1.0M) [video/mp4] Saving to: ‘de5a56e4-036c-4536-b1a6-4ac45b872516-576.mp4’

de5a56e4-036c-4536- 100%[===================>] 1.01M 2.79MB/s in 0.4s

It also depends a lot on the remote instance, which can be someone's personal PC on a low-bandwidth line. It sure helps if there's more people seeding via the webtorrent integration. I guess the latter will be more of a benefit once PeerTube instances get more active users.

It's working better now, with 144 views. Do more views cause more replication?

Not in a federated (server-to-server) manner: that part is purely opt-in as instances follow one another.

But clients do seed videos by default. You can opt-out of that in the video settings, and if your browser doesn't support WebRTC it will not seed anyway (simply download video over HTTPS).

I believe it is more simultaneous viewers that counts, and they start to upload as well as download while watching (and you can also opt-out of that).

It's not P2P, it's federated. Anybody can host an instance and probably that one has low bandwidth and isn't mirrored by other instances.

Instances like https://tilvids.com/ or https://video.ploud.fr/ have better bandwidth.

>It's not P2P, it's federated.

It's both. PeerTube instances federate with each other, but the video player uses P2P to spread the load between viewers.

Some of the instances choose not to federate with others. For example https://tilvids.com/ Here they explain why: https://mstdn.social/@tilvids/106902477087882284

I'm not sure webtorrent have a way to do peer exchange without centralised trackers like e.g Bittorrents PEX does, so if the core websocket trackers go down, are peers still able to share lists of known peers with each other or is the peer discovery centralised to the webtorrent/websocket trackers?

https://tilvids.com/ has some buffering but was much better compared to other links in this page. I guess the other sites dont have lot of peers in Australia.

Even if a specific video doesn't have a lot of peers, people can setup a server close to you to replicate popular instances you'd like to ease access to.

So you could have a peertube.au instance dedicated to seeding content from other instances on an opt-in basis (instance following other instances, and giving them a certain disk quota).

300mbit connection here, US east coast: Stuttery mess

Oh wow that is shockingly bad. The 10 second video buffered out 5 times while I tried watching. I am on a gigabit fiber connection.

Same experience here on that video.

Ran fine for me first time.

If you want PeerTube to become popular, make it easier for people to upload videos. At the moment it's too confusing and complicated; no content creator cares what "instance" means and they never will. No one who creates an account and finds that "uploads are not allowed on this instance" or encounters some similar problem is going to waste any more time trying to use it. If you leave it the way it is now, it's always just gonna be by nerds for nerds. And more people are going to be enslaved by Big Brother who controls YouTube. So please make it accessible to normal people.

Peertube was born from a french non-profit (Framasoft) as part of their "Degooglizing internet" campaign. It's intended to be deployed to empower existing communities to share videos, rather than as a generic video upload service.

It's just like you create a blog: you need to find a host for it and most websites don't allow you to just start uploading content.

A growing number of non-profits are starting to embrace it and for that usecase Peertube is perfect. If there's no peertube instance for your community/usecase, you could start one with a few friends/neighbors.

See also why PGP failed.

I was wondering who they were and why they were self-saboting. Then I saw that it's a channel with 20 subscribers on youtube with view numbers in the single digits for some videos. So somebody went from not being watched on youtube, to not being watched on peertube.

How did this even make it to the front page?

Peertube is interesting tech, and YouTube's de facto monopoly on video hosting is less than ideal. Especially considering that it's owned by the world's largest attention harvesting operation.

> de facto monopoly on video hosting

How do people believe this is even remotely true?

I have so many options to host videos, least of which is just housing itself on my own damn server!

I don't know if the complaint here is that no one else will do it for me for free, or that no one else will just hand me viewers for free.

> I don't know if the complaint here is that no one else will do it for me for free, or that no one else will just hand me viewers for free.

Devil's advocate: Which paid video-website with community created content the size similar to Youtube may I join?

That's where the "de-facto" monopoly claim comes from, I guess.

It’s not literally just hosting. That’s not that hard. It’s distribution, discovery, promotion, accessibility. Right now, if you want your video to be seen, you need to be on YouTube.

> I have so many options to host videos, least of which is just housing itself on my own damn server!

Peertube is precisely about hosting videos on your "own damn server". Except Peertube is designed in a way that fellow instance operators can seed your content, and that clients viewing a specific videos will also seed it. This means your server can now serve video to more remote places, and will be more resilient to view peaks (a very small VPS with limited bandwidth can handle hundreds of parallel views).

If you don't go the Peertube way, you are usually giving up on serving video to remote areas where you don't have good connectivity to, and crossing your fingers so that your videos don't become too popular. Or you end up building your own mirroring/CDN infrastructure like media.ccc.de and others do, but by then the costs and complexity are much higher than operating a Peertube instance.

> > de facto monopoly on video hosting > How do people believe this is even remotely true?

I think if you add "...that people actually visit and watch", it's more accurate. Sure, I can host my own videos or put them on Vimeo or PeerTube - but YouTube is going to get me more eyeballs more quickly (assuming I play the promo games.)

They mean if you care about reaching wider audiences, we are aware of the various options to upload videos of those nights when you felt adventurous

> world's largest attention harvesting operation.

I don’t think Facebook owns YouTube :)

Facebook is nothing comparing to Google, they have an OS and a browser remember?

But how does Google “harvest attention?”

I believe the distinction they are trying to make, if any, is harvesting attention vs harvesting information. Fair enough, while Google as a whole is more on harvesting information (I would say Facebook too), Youtube employs a bunch of dark patterns to make users remain on the site.

At the end of the day, they go hand in hand, those ads need to be served.

oh dear

The points made in the video are valid regardless of how many viewers their channel has.

Every little bits count

This forum will launch anything decentralized or federated onto the front page.

I would guess that is because of high levels of interest in decentralized / federated web technologies then. In any case I am with that crowd too.

The submission links to 4:19 into the video, probably unintentionally?

Sadly peertube seems to have to buffer from the beginning to play from this position.

> Sadly peertube seems to have to buffer from the beginning to play from this position.

That's weird. What browser are you running? Is it downloading video directly from the server or is it doing WebRTC P2P download?

The former (direct download) is intended as fallback mode and i believe it uses HLS chunking which may or may not be well supported by your browser.

The primary motivation of most creators is to make money. What is PeerTube paying per view? 0$?

Why would any creator spend all that time and money making content to give away for free? Do you give away your daily work for free? They can easily use something like Patreon or one of the many pay-only tube sites if they're giving up on ads and asking for donations/subscriptions/etc.

I mean, I'm not against the idea, it just seems to fundamentally misunderstand why creators choose youtube. If Youtube paid $0/1000 views... the majority of the top 1000 creators would be gone overnight.

Personally, I do tons of things for free because I enjoy doing them. Nobody needs to pay me to play my piano, paint a painting, or run a D&D campaign, and all of that takes effort and skill. I remember the old days of YouTube when most people making videos were doing it for the joy of it, not profit. I understand that doesn't scale forever, but at the same time, there's a vast range of video creation that doesn't need to be profit-driven, or can easily be crowd funded.

I understand the point of big budget video creation, but that's not most creators, just like most companies aren't Google and shouldn't be trying to solve their problems that are a 1000th the size with Google-scale solutions.

Simply, there is a place for small budget videos. I'd even argue that the majority should be small budget, and that advertising and budget inflation have on average been more bad for YouTube than good.

> The primary motivation of most creators is to make money.

Most creators/uploaders do not monetize their works. This is just the tiny minority that Youtube highlights to keep their business flowing. A lot of content is produced by amateurs and non-profits, and Youtube does them a huge disservice by displaying ads (which they don't benefit from), tracking their viewers, recommending bad-quality/outrageous content (eg. conspiracy videos), and copyright-striking their videos even when it is clear no law was violated (eg. fair use).

> Why would any creator spend all that time and money making content to give away for free? Do you give away your daily work for free?

I definitely would not give my work for free for companies to profit from, but i'm happy to engage in free labor for non-profits and for my peers. This is a well-known paradox in the libre culture/software, especially with non-copyleft licenses (eg. MIT) which enable a for-profit to siphon of volunteer work without ever contributing something back in return. See also: OpenSSL maintainership "scandal" back in the day.

> If Youtube paid $0/1000 views... the majority of the top 1000 creators would be gone overnight.

Would that be such a loss? Looks like these channels are just outrage/advertisement machine with very little content creation going on... at least form an outsider's perspective.

Good point.

Well, creators can still point to their Patreon (or Liberapay) without problems. I see many creators relying more on Sponsorships and other income streams as significant (apparently YT doesn't pay that much unless you're incredibly popular).

Dave from EEVBlog is extremely transparent on YT income, worth checking out:


It seems LBRY gets around this with micropayments. Could be an interesting avenue for PeerTube. Maybe you could "charge micropayment credits" and those would be redistributed to creators according to your likes/dislikes/subscriptions.

There is Lbry as an alternative to YouTube as well. It seems interesting. https://lbry.com/

That looks like another cryptoscam powered by blockchain. What are these ecological consequences of their using a BTC-like protocol? What happens when their 10K transactions-per-second blockchain is overwhelmed?

Before you think of how awful this site is, remember youtube in the beginning as well. This could be a great alternative, especially if they don't remove people without a good explanation, sell your personal info or try to sway an opinion.

What really interests me is, how I can host a PeerTube instance, without getting into all sorts of responsibility issues, like people uploading videos containing illegal stuff (upload filter laws). I would love to give my server something to do, but with the current law, I simply do not want to be responsible for what people upload and spread via my instance and my server. Does PeerTube offer me a way of reviewing videos before they can be found and a way of telling people, that they are responsible themselves and have that accepted by law? And how do other instance admins manage this? Does anyone here have that experience?

I think the usual approach is similar to any other service hosting: don't do open registrations unless you feel like dealing with the moderation and legal consequences.

Have a contact form where people can request an account. Create accounts for trusted peers. I'm unaware if Peertube has a "moderate first" setting but it should not be hard to implement... it's just not the assumed usecase of Peertube so far.

When using such federated platforms, do you leak your IP address to other people viewing the content?

For Peertube specifically yes, if you're seeding it (opt-out if your browser supports it).

However, this concern is mitigated because Peertube uses open standards, so it's very easy to use various proxying services for privacy concerns. It's unlikely that any such 3rd party clients will ever get blocked.

Comparing to Youtube: a single malevolent company tracks everyone's actions for nefarious purposes, purposefully changes internal "protocol" regularly to break 3rd party clients (youtube-dl, Newpipe) and blocks scrapers and other archival systems.

Overall, Peertube has much more privacy-friendly capabilities than Youtube ever will have.

Yes, It currently displays the following warning:

> Friendly Reminder: the sharing system used for this video implies that some technical information about your system (such as a public IP address) can be sent to other peers.

GitHub issue upon which this banner was decided upon[1]

[1] https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube/issues/316

If WebRTC is activated in your browser and webtorrent (https://webtorrent.io/) is being used by the instance, yes. However, you could say the same for Zoom or most video calling platform, if I'm not mistaken.

Most video calling platforms only expose you to the actual people you are calling which is generally a non issue. Torrents have a public list of all content and all hosts with what content they hold. This is required for peer discovery and it means that a malicious party can just suck up the whole DHT and create a database of every video each IP address watched.

Funny story : I tried going fullscreen at the exact moment when he's showing his YouTube metrics which he blurred for legal reasons. But I thought it was an issue with the player which wasn't able to download the video at a sufficient quality. So I was like "yeah, it's crap, I can't see sh*t; YouTube's better".

Why don't we just use BitTorrent for videos? Popcorn time works reasonably well and we don't need a social layer, there are already plenty of them. I d like to see everything that i like being seeded with care by its owners

Because people don't care about the actual videos, it's the social aspect drives these sites. You could upload a video of paint drying and get an active comment thread going on some sites.

Maybe. But you can have that even if YouTube was just a frontend for torrents. I care about some of the videos, eg lectures interesting conferences etc,

>Why don't we just use BitTorrent for videos?

PeerTube uses BitTorrent under the hood.

Not exactly, no. It uses Webtorrent, which is a WebRTC-layer port of the Bittorrent protocol. The Webtorrent and Bittorrent protocols are incompatible, despite hashes being the same.

With libtorrent starting to support Webtorrent, we should "soon" see a new generation of torrent clients who can bridge the gap between those two protocols.

Thank you for the clarification. I will research these differences and libtorrent more.

The main reason is because Bittorrent doesn't have a "social networking" layer like ActivityPub fediverse has, for user/channel following, comments, etc... We could (should?) build a Popcorn Time "social" UI using RSS feeds and some semantic metadata to discover content, but that just isn't there yet. You suggest we don't need it, but what do you use for that purpose?

Peertube reuses an established social networking protocol, adding Bittorrent-like P2P video seeding on top (using Webtorrent protocol, not Bittorrent), taking the best of both worlds in a "low(er)-effort" manner.

> but what do you use for that purpose?

twitter . or fb or mastodon or whatever. social and video are orthogonal problems to solve (utube didnt start as a social network)

In absolute, they are orthogonal problems. But as soon as your video platform has user accounts, playlists and comments, they become the very same thing: a PubSub platform with users exchanging different types of contents.

Many of the popular centralized platforms we have today became popular due to integration with standard 3rd-party tooling such as email, RSS... Now that youtube has shut down RSS feeds, i need an account an API key to simply download videos from my favorite artists... or i can parse the website like youtube-dl but then i need to upgrade my code (or dependencies) every few weeks because Google intentionally broke it to prevent 3rd party clients from existing at all.

With a service like Peertube, i can hit the public API directly, and the API is the protocol. So there is technically very little difference between making a Mastodon or Peertube client, and that's why they can talk to one another. But that Mastodon can interact with Peertube is not only useful to users, it's an overall very good indicator that Peertube can be interfaced reasonably-well with other tools/systems because it's a website and websites are intended to be parsed, if only by a web browser.

So i don't really understand your point. Are you against social networking as part of a video platform, at all, and just want a raw content-addressed storage pool of videos (Bittorrent)? Do you personally not wish to use 3rd party integrations (like Mastodon comments)? If so, why is it a bad thing for others?

These days most video content would be consumed on mobile devices which are particularly bad for p2p tech.

It does use Webtorrent by default (it can be turned off).

Not that it seems to do much. Every time I have used it I have only been connected to the server peer. I doubt there are many people with an active tab open for a particular video.

It may be because noone else was watching that video, or because your browser doesn't support WebRTC, or because your browser blocked the 3rd party request to the STUN server for peer discovery. In any case, the server could and should have other peer instances seed its content ; if that's not the case, you could contact the instance admin and suggest they get that kind of replication going to ease distribution.

Popcorntime does not have channels unfortunately

Apart from the awesome technology, there is some great content in those instances. It's quite hard to discover genuine and exploratory DIY on youtube, small artists, etc.

PeerTube, you need to remove view counts. They broadcast to new users how few people are at this party and how lame it is, let’s go back to that YouTube party.

> how lame it is

How so? Just because something is not popular (yet?) doesn't mean it's lame. Also, view counts on a single instance are not representative of the entire federation.

Although i agree removing view counts would be good, because it produces bad incentives to artificially inflate your view count (which i've never witnessed on Peertube instances so far, but is possible).

It’s not that I think it really is lame, just demonstrating the thought process of your average user clicking on a PeerTube link.

Ah, makes sense thanks for the explanation!

If my favourite youtubers started posting exclusively on peer tube I wouldn't mind at all. One has outright stated he suspects he'll be cancelled at some point, and already dual uploads. And I check his instance fairly regularly.

To break it down further - it's not much of a deal breaker to go to "coolvideoguy.com" instead of searching "cool video guy" in the youtube search bar.

I guess it depends on how you consume media.

A big part of what I consume on YouTube is on my TV, thanks to subscriptions to channels. Since there is no Android TV app for Peertube at the moment, the only way I would watch content from a Peertube channel would be on my computer. Which is not how I like consuming this content.

You probably have a web browser on your TV that could go to any peertube instance. Even if it doesn't support WebRTC, plain HTTP streaming would be used as fallback. Also NewPipe client on Android has Peertube support.

Slightly off-topic, but do you think having a computer you don't control running in your TV is such a great idea? It sounds like an IoT/security nightmare, unless you can flash a system you control on there.

I love peertube and spend a lot of time these days watching videos on it, perhaps moreso than youtube now.

This video is not very good however, there's something not very stimulating to the imagination about moving from youtube yet still using shallow buzzwords like "content creator", "monetise", "open source".

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