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.