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EXCLUSIVE: Stanford Researchers Launch Free TV Service To Improve Video Streaming

A team of Stanford researchers led by Francis Yan, a doctoral student in computer science, have launched a new free Live TV Streaming Service website called Puffer. It’s part of a nonprofit academic research study in the computer science department at Stanford University, working to use AI to improve Internet transmission and video-streaming algorithms. The project is advised by professors Keith Winstein and Philip Levis.

Users can stream six TV stations Bay Area locals including CBS (KPIX 5), NBC (KNTV 11), ABC (KGO 7), FOX (KTVU 2), PBS (KQED 9), and Univision (KDTV 14). Since it is part of a nonprofit academic study, it is 100% FREE and doesn’t have ads.

The ultimate goal of the study is to discover new algorithms to reduce stalls, improve picture quality, reduce startup/channel switching, and improve adaptive streaming. In our initial tests, we were able to switch channels nearly instantly and quickly reaches full quality streams.

The streaming service is limited to just 500 participants at a time, so if you’re interested in trying it out, we’d suggest signing up for a free account.

The streams are all in 1080p 60 fps and works on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge on your computer or through the browser on Android phones and tablets. Unfortunately, due to resource constraints, there are no apps for streaming media players like Roku or Apple TV.

All the work is open-source and can be viewed on GitHub.

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