It’s weird how almost socially acceptable pirating video content has become. It is wrong of course, everyone seems to know that, but for some or other reason, just about everyone that does pirate can come up with some sort of reasoning that it’s a justifiable thing to do – at the drop of a hat.
Now I’ve seen mention of something called Popcorn Time for probably at least a year now (if not longer), but have never really bothered to make the effort to see exactly what this is all about. However, after a recent article on TorrentFreak made mention of this uber piracy vehicle yet again, I thought it best to go and have a look for myself – you know, to get a first hand view.
The verdict? Wow. Now there’s a major problem for anyone who wants to make a living by producing and selling video content!
In the past, there was always some sort of friction that made piracy not the easiest option around. In the old days of “Sneakernet”, well, you a) needed friends with content and b) needed someway of getting that content on your machine.
Then of course came the Internet and with it the likes of Napster, eDonkey2000, news groups, IIRC, and those with enough technical know-how could get material just fine, though of course with plenty of application and file handling slog.
Today’s current favourite, in the form of BitTorrent, still requires pirates to search for material via dodgy sites, download them via clients and then move them across to media players – in other words, still not quite as easy as simply turning on your DSTV, firing up Netflix, or simply walking into a video store.
But Popcorn Time changes all of that. It removes all friction that comes with piracy, making it so simple that even a completely technologically challenged newbie could do it without any hassle at all.
At the heart of it, Argentinian-made Popcorn Time is a multi-platform, open source BitTorrent client that includes an integrated media player – thereby acting as a free alternative to subscription-based video streaming services.
Its interface presents thumbnails and film titles in a manner similar to Netflix, with this list of media fully searchable and categorized. To play a television episode or movie, a user simply clicks on a title in order to initiate the file download via the bitTorrent file-sharing protocol.
As with other BitTorrent clients, as soon as Popcorn Time starts to download a film, it also starts to share the downloaded content with other users (in technical terms, it seeds the torrent to others in the bittorrent swarm.), continuing to make the downloaded content available to others until the movie is deleted – which is normally done automatically but only when the application closes!
And not just that mind you – it’s also rather clever.
By forcing BitTorrent chunks to be sequentially downloaded, Popcorn Time allows you to watch a video file whilst it is still busy downloading, meaning that there is literally none of the classic wait time a pirate faces in first having to download and then move around content.
Also, it’s easy to use, well written, features an intuitive, beautiful interface,and is available for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux and Android.
No wonder content holders are so twitchy about it.
Without a doubt, Popcorn Time MORE than deserves the current giant sized target on its back – because there is absolutely no way content studios can let this one walk around freely for very long!