Video-on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu have greatly diminished the need for piracy on the internet, but even so the BitTorrent protocol is still alive and kicking. A new streaming app being dubbed as the ‘Netflix for pirates’ is taking the BitTorrent transferring protocol to make movies and shows readily available for streaming.
When people search a torrent sites for a movie, they must first select the torrent file that has a decent amount of seeding, but even then the download time might be several hours. That’s why a bunch of developers are collaborating in a project called ‘Popcorn Time’, which basically takes the BitTorrent protocol and uses it for streaming movies and shows. The biggest impact here is that instead of waiting for a torrent file to finish downloading, the viewer can immediately stream their desired content via a pretty interface.
Popcorn Time is essentially a browser that’s been reworked to specifically stream content from popular torrent sites like YTS, which specializes in hosting high-quality video torrents. The video streaming app even gives you the ability to turn on subtitles and choose your desired resolution.
“The technology behind the app is very simple. We consume a group of APIs, one for the torrents, another for the movie info, and another for the post. We also have an API for subtitles. Everything is automated, we don’t host anything, but take existing information and put it together,” said Sebastian, the pioneering web developer that concocted the idea.
According to Sebastian, 20 more developers have hopped aboard to collaborate on the project since the code for the app was put on Github. As for the price of the app, he says it will be totally free and stay open source so anyone can tinker with it.
The question now is, is the program legal? In most countries that are strict about intellectual properties, it is definitely illegal. When users launch Popcorn Time, it will immediately give users a notification to indicate that the program ‘downloads and seeds movies using torrents, which may not be legal’ in the user’s country. Moreover, the people behind the project will not be ‘responsible for any problems that may arise’.
Services and programs like Popcorn Time are what they are, and ideally if one was to use such a service they need to connect to it via a VPN service. Sebastian claims that he won’t run into any legal issues with authorities, but users on the other hand may want to proceed with caution and use a VPN to maintain anonymity.
“We don’t expect legal issues,” Sebastian said. “We don’t host anything, and none of the developers makes any money. There are no ads, no premium accounts, and no subscription feeds or anything like that. It’s an experiment to learn and share.”
The ‘Netflix for pirates’ app is currently in beta, and is available for Windows 7 and up, OSX 10.7 and up, and Linux. If you need a fast VPN to stream those movies, check out our article.