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‘Netflix for pirates’ brings streaming video to BitTorrent users

Updated Mar 10th, 2014 1:16PM EDT
Netflix For Pirates Streaming Torrents

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If Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus are any indication, torrenting isn’t quite the destructive force many groups have made it out to be. Torrenting is a popular alternative to legal streaming, buying and renting, but the abundance of poor quality torrents coupled with the unfriendly method of acquiring movies and TV shows through torrenting has kept a majority of viewers glued to their TVs, browsers and tablets. If watching a ripped movie was as easy as logging into Netflix, would the tides turn in the favor of torrents? The creators of Popcorn Time want to find out.

TorrentFreak has drawn our attention to what could be the most legitimate threat to the online rental and streaming services yet: Popcorn Time, an open source project which makes “the experience of watching torrent movies as simple as possible.” If you live in a country where downloading copyrighted material from third-party sources is illegal, Popcorn Time could be a risky proposition, but the ease of use is astounding.

Find a movie you want to see on the surprisingly well-designed UI, pick a streaming resolution and hit play. Once you’re done watching, the file will be stored on your computer until you restart, at which point all traces of the torrent will be “gone for good.”

“We don’t expect legal issues,” says Sebastian, a designer from Argentina. “We don’t host anything, and none of the developers makes any money. There are no ads, no premium accounts, and no subscription fees or anything like that. It’s an experiment to learn and share.”

If Popcorn Time can stay out of trouble, Netflix and its ilk might have some proper competition from the torrent side of the market. Even if the torrents on the service are taken down, the program itself would likely remain intact. The team doesn’t have any plans for a mobile conversion, but the desktop is being updated regularly. We can’t recommend that you try Popcorn Time for yourself, but it’s a fascinating development in the torrent conversation.

UPDATE: Altered some language to better clarify that BitTorrent is in no way associated with Popcorn Time or its designers.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.