Well, BitTorrent has gone mainstream, in a sense. In the never ending me-too, I’m like iTunes world, BitTorrent has launched their site so you can rent movies and music. I’m trying it now, but downloading a free movie, "Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women" (it was the first free download that I say). First, BitTorrent is at a disadvantage because of the lack of net neutrality. I’m a Time Warner cable customer in the Carolina’s, bot torrent traffic has QoS slapped all over it. In other words, TWC recognizes torrent related traffic and then limits your bandwidth for the duration of that torrent traffic. I guess nobody can say for sure but whenever I have a torrent going, even when it’s low transfer rates or I’m just seeding at 30k, my bandwidth is gone,proven by tests at speedtests and dslspeed test sites. And as soon as I close my torrent app, give it two or three minutes, my bandwidth is back. But just like any other company, TWC is no different, just because you pay for a a service, doesn’t mean they’re obligated to provide it.
Also, another shortcoming for BitTorrent, right now, I’m downloading this movie at ~24.5kB/s because there are only 6 seeds. In order for torrents to work effectively, you need a lot of seeds, the more the better. So if you rent something that is obscure, there won’t be as many seeds and it could take days for your download to complete.
Right now, I think the environment is not in BitTorrent’s favor for it to be successful commercially. The telcos and phone companies have the upper hand because they own the lines, so they control the distribution, or even if something can get distributed. Also, why spend $3.99 to download a movie rental that you have to watch on your PC, when I could use Netflix on a flat subscription to watch as much as I can within a month (3 at a time)? Don’t get me wrong, I wish them the best of luck but I don’t think it will be all that successful at this time.