Getting started with PeerTube

Fediverse TV

Article from Issue 269/2023

PeerTube, the Fediverse's video platform, offers a decentralized, open source way to watch videos and live stream your own content. We'll show you how to get started and even set up your own instance.

The Fediverse community is building a parallel Internet based on ActivityPub, a W3C-recommended standard for social media, and PeerTube [1] is the Fediverse's video service for individuals, communities, and other organizations.

As with Mastodon, it would be understandable to think of PeerTube as a Fediverse drop-in for the popular closed, proprietary alternatives such as YouTube. And, sure, you can use PeerTube that way, but you would be ignoring its merits and how it can deliver video streaming that takes control from powerful corporations and puts it into the hands of users.

Running a service that delivers video on the scale of YouTube requires an immense amount of bandwidth and storage, unless you decentralize the whole thing. To be clear, PeerTube does not offer an amount of media on the scale of YouTube. However, PeerTube does offer an ingenious way of growing the resources it needs along with the amount of media it serves. By using peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, PeerTube shares the load over instances (servers run by PeerTube community members). Counterintuitively with instances, the more viewers a video has, the lighter the load on the server where the instance is hosted, because the load is spread over more nodes in the network. In addition, PeerTube's federated nature makes it possible for one instance to offer its visitors a much larger catalog of videos than it could if it were isolated and relied exclusively on its own storage.


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