According to Cisco’s June 2016 Visual Networking Index report, live video streaming accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic today, and it is expected to jump to 82% by 2020. (1)
Content Delivery Network (CDN) plays an important role in the video streaming ecosystem. It provides the backbone infrastructure to deliver the video streams to the end viewers.
The company’s mission is to leverage the decentralized blockchain structure to create the first Decentralized Streaming Network (DSN) whereby video viewers are incentivized to share redundant memory and bandwidth resources to address today’s video streaming challenges.
Theta claims that one major limitation of today’s CDN networks is the so-called “last-mile” delivery problem. The CDN providers build data centers called Point-of-Presences (POPs) in many locations around the world. However the number of these POPs are limited and will not always be close enough to the viewers. This will lead to choppy streams and frequent rebuffering. (2)
According to Theta, another concern is the CDN bandwidth cost. For popular sites, the CDN bandwidth cost can easily go up to tens of millions of dollars per year. Theta is addressing these problems with the following solutions:
First, viewers’ computers are geographically much closer to each other than to the CDN POPs. This reduces packet round-trip time and improves the stream delivery quality, and thus addresses the “last-mile” delivery issue.
Second, with sufficient amount of caching nodes, most viewers will receive the stream from caching nodes, this will help streaming sites reduce their CDN bandwidth cost.
Third, caching nodes also reduce round-trip time making foveated streaming technology practical. Foveated streaming means that instead of streaming the entire video in full resolution, the technology reduces the image quality in the peripheral vision outside of the zone gazed by the fovea in order to reduce bandwidth requirement.
Theta Protocol and use of the token
The Theta protocol builds upon the following concepts; Reputation Dependant Mining, Global Reputation Consensus and Proof-of-Engagement.
Reputation Dependant Mining
The caching nodes play the role of miners in the blockchain. They validate transactions and attempt to add new transaction blocks to the blockchain based on Proof-of-Work. The miners with higher reputation score will have a higher block reward. To obtain more mining rewards, miners not only spend computation power to mine blocks, but also relay video streams to downstream viewers to maintain and increase their reputation scores.
Global Reputation Consensus
This is a scalable mechanism for the Theta network to reach the global consensus on the reputation scores for each caching node, and thus the global consensus on the amount of mining reward for each block. Sharing more bandwidth consistently improves your reputation, which means you earn Theta Tokens at a higher rate.
Viewers can earn tokens as rewards from advertisers in exchange for their attention to video streams and by providing Proof-of-Engagement. This brings benefits to viewers and to advertisers as it provides them with a reliable and verifiable engagement measurement of the delivered video streams.
Theta claims in their whitepaper that within the Theta network, advertisers can directly target viewers at a lower cost, viewers earn Theta tokens for their attention and engagement with video streams, and influencers earn Theta token as gifts directly from viewers.
Sliver.tv is the company behind Theta. They have been at the forefront of developing next-generation video streaming technologies for VR and spherical 360° video streams since 2015. Since launching last year, Sliver.tv has broadcast numerous global esports tournaments in 360º VR in partnership with premier brands including ESL One (4) , one of the largest eSports organizations in the world and DreamHack, one of the largest LAN-parties in 2010. (5)
Sliver.tv launched its Watch & Win esports platform in July 2017 and the virtual token designed around esports content streaming and fan engagement. Since launch, the company has attracted millions of esports fans circulating over 1 Billion virtual tokens by actively participating and engaging with live esports matches. This positions the company as one of the largest esports streaming sites built around a virtual community today.
Sliver.tv’s live esports streaming content will be the first Dapp application to be built on top of the Theta network by Q4 2018. They are also planning to market music, TV/Movies, Education, Enterprise Conferencing and peer to peer Streaming.
Team and advisors
The founding members of the Theta network includes members of the Sliver.tv team.
CEO: Mitch Liu He is the cofounder of Sliver.tv, Gameview Studios and Tapjoy. He has a BS in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT. (6)
CTO: Jieyi Long He is also the cofounder of Sliver.tv. He got his BS in Microelectronics at Peking University and his PhD in Computer Engineering at Northwestern University. (7)
Head of Product & Platform: Ryan Nichols He is also the Head of P&P at Sliver.tv. He designed and launched virtual currency systems for a variety of platforms and he was the UI Director of WeChat USA. (8)
Head of Corp Development: Riz Virk He was the executive director at Play Labs @ MIT. He received a BS in Computer Science from MIT.
The first one of the advisors to mention is Steve Chen, he was the co-founder and chief technology officer of YouTube. Steve developed the company’s data centers and helped build YouTube into. Another Advisor is Justin Kan, He is known for founding Twitch, a video game streaming platform acquired for $970mm by Amazon in 2014. There is a list with more advisors on the website of Theta.
On the website of Theta, there is a list of strategic partners. The strategic partners are the firms that participated in their private sale of tokens. Some of the strategic partners are also equity investors in the company alongside Sony and Samsung.
They are using the following companies for their services; Goodwin (law firm), M&H (law firm), AndersenTax (accountant) and Blond 2.0 (PR firm).
SLIVER.tv has raised over $17 Million in venture financing from notable Silicon Valley VCs, leading Hollywood media investors, and marquee corporate investors including GREE, Colopl, Samsung Next and Sony Innovation funds. Additionally, the company has Chinese investors and partners including Heuristic Capital Partners, ZP Capital, Green Pine Capital Partners, and Sparkland.
’18 March: Theta tokens full integration into Sliver.tv platform
’18 Spring-Fall: Native Theta Blockchain development
’18 Q4: Planned native Theta network launch on new blockchain and the token swap between ERC-20 tokens and Theta tokens
’19 Q1: Theta network goes live for caching and mining nodes
’19 Q3: Theta network debut of premium on-demand content