Popcorn Time may revolutionize movie streaming

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 11, 2014
Updated • Jul 22, 2019
Music and Video, Video
|
28

According to Google, piracy is all about availability and pricing, and while I do not agree with the company often these days, I have to admit that they nailed it this time.

If you are not living in the US, you do not get access to Hulu, Pandora, and other streaming services. While Netflix and Amazon Instant Video are expanding, their services are limited to select countries too.

Additionally, an increase in services fragments availability significantly leading to a situation where you either have to subscribe to multiple services to watch the bulk of shows or movies, or ignore a part of the shows and movies instead.

What remains is not pretty. You can watch movies on Television when they air, which can be a year or more later after they are available on streaming sites in the US, buy the movie as a DVD, Blu-Ray or streaming video, and that is about it.

There are workarounds to make Hulu or Netflix work for people outside of countries where the service is offered in, but that requires the use of additional software and maybe a fake address and may not be perfectly legal because of it.

The Internet on the other hand makes available all movies and television shows on file sharing websites. Not only are the video files made available on sites such as The Piratebay, they are also offered in various qualities, from low definition videos for mobile phones and slow connections to 1080p or even 4k versions for users with fast connections.

Popcorn Time is an Open Source project that is available as a beta version for Windows, Mac and Linux. What makes it interesting is that it makes available that movie database to users from all over the world.

Start the program after you have installed it on your system and the program presents a list of popular movies to you. You find 2013 and 2014 smash hits listed here, from 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle to Gravity or Reasonable Doubt.

The left sidebar displays a search and genres that you can click on. Each genre lists select movies in the same way as the main page of Popcorn Time does.

If you only click through the categories though, you will miss out on movies, as it limits the display somewhat. The search is where all the power is at.

Search for Star Wars, and you get all six episodes of he series. Do the same for Star Trek and you get all Star Trek movies from the very first in 1979 to the most recent in 2013.

No matter what you enter, the program will return a clean list of matching movies to you.

When you click on a movie, information about it are displayed. This includes a short plot description, if subtitles are available, the quality it is available in, its health, and the playing time.

watch-movies

When you click on the watch it now button, a buffering video progress bar is displayed.

Popcorn Time uses torrent files to make available the movies which means that it can take some time before the actual movie starts to play.

Note: The program may not be legal in your country. It depends on local laws. If streaming movies via BitTorrent is illegal in your country, then what you do with the app is too.

The process should not take longer than a couple of seconds on fast connections, but if you are on a slow connection, it may take more time than that.

Revolution

Popcorn Time demonstrates how easy movie streaming services can be. From its vast assortment of available movies to the concentration on features that matter, such as subtitles or qualities, it is all there.

While it could and probably will grow over time, for instance to add movies to favorites or mark them as watched, it is near perfect in its current state.

Plus, and that happens rarely, I'd gladly pay for it.

Problem

Now, the main problem is that using the app is not legal in most countries due to the sources it uses and the lack of distribution rights.

While it demonstrates streaming done right, users of it can get in legal troubles as torrent files are being used for that which may be monitored by rights-holders or companies that monitor BitTorrent traffic.

Closing Words

If all movie studios would create an app like Popcorn Time in a joint venture and offer it to a worldwide audience for a subscription fee, I'd sign up for it immediately if the price is right.

For now, it is a proof of concept that demonstrates how a good movie streaming app that is available to a worldwide audience could look like.

Update: The developers of the application have shut it down, and it appears that it cannot be used anymore to establish a connection. Since it was an Open Source project, there is still the chance that someone else will fork it and continue to work on it. For now though, it is dead.

Update 2: The project got resurrected, new clients coming soon. First previews released, you can grab them here.

Update 3: The developers launched Butter Project in 2015 in an attempt to create Popcorn Time but without the legal implications. Nothing has come out of it until 2019 (the time of this update) though.

Summary
Popcorn Time may revolutionize movie streaming
Article Name
Popcorn Time may revolutionize movie streaming
Description
Popcorn Time was an open source project that aimed to bring all TV shows and movies to users in a single application.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. ilev said on July 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm
    Reply

    Beware of http://loginhelper.com/web-browser-maintenance/

    WOT warning.

    Warning: Keep out. IP/Hostname/Website created in order to perpetrate fraudolent activities against users. For any question, reference to this user: http://www.mywot.com/user/915771.

    Fraudolent activity detected: Phishing-Activity “

  2. Fine citizen said on July 27, 2012 at 10:17 pm
    Reply

    hehe, I saw 1100hp Ford GT with a cute blonde video :p

  3. ilev said on July 28, 2012 at 5:46 am
    Reply

    “the excellent Web Browser Maintenance” ?

    It is a malware site flagged by WOT.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 28, 2012 at 9:10 am
      Reply

      Well since it is my site I’m pretty sure it is not a malware site.

      1. ilev said on July 28, 2012 at 9:59 am
        Reply

        Martin,

        Nevertheless WOT flags it.

        Maybe you should take action with WOT.

        Warning: Keep out. IP/Hostname/Website created in order to perpetrate fraudolent activities against users. For any question, reference to this user: http://www.mywot.com/user/915771.

        Fraudolent activity detected: Phishing-Activity ”

        http://www.mywot.com/en/scorecard/loginhelper.com?utm_source=addon&utm_content=warn-viewsc

      2. ilev said on July 28, 2012 at 10:00 am
        Reply

        Martin,

        Nevertheless WOT flags it.

        Maybe you should take action with WOT.

        Warning: Keep out. IP/Hostname/Website created in order to perpetrate fraudolent activities against users. For any question, reference to this user: http://www.mywot.com/user/915771.

        Fraudolent activity detected: Phishing-Activity “

      3. Martin Brinkmann said on July 28, 2012 at 10:49 am
        Reply

        Those are untrue I have requested a review.

  4. James said on December 31, 2012 at 8:37 pm
    Reply

    Martin,

    I tried this out and while I appreciate the sleek and intuitive design, I think YouTube needs to pick a theme and stick with it. I love having distinct categories tucked away at different corners, so this looks a bit disorganized for me. Do you know of any Userscript I can use to revert my YouTube homepage back to classic view?

    Best,
    James

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