Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th Mar 2014 16:01 UTC
Multimedia, AV

One thing that iTunes, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have proven is that content makers can fight piracy by providing a better, easier service to paying customers. But what happens when piracy fights back with something just as convenient?

A new app called Popcorn Time raises that very question. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux, Popcorn Time lets you stream the latest movies - including American Hustle, Gravity and Frozen - with just a couple clicks. The software uses BitTorrent to find and download movies, but eliminates the usual hassle of wading through sketchy torrent sites and waiting for the file to finish downloading.

Basically, it's the version of Netflix that you've always wanted - and maybe have been willing to pay extra for - but that Hollywood may never allow. It's also a flagrant enabler of copyright violation, at least in the United States.

It's the perfect product for movie lovers. It has a super-simple interface, completely abstracts Torrents away, works on the three major desktop platforms, and with one click and just a few minutes of waiting, you're watching a high-quality movie streamed through BitTorrent.

The entertainment industry could have built this years ago. Except, they were too busy suing the shit out of the very people they should have been serving to realise all the technology they needed already existed. Had the entertainment industry not been the only industry in the world that is protected by a huge, special legal framework, they would have been forced to innovate much sooner - and they most likely would have built this a decade ago.

Order by: Score:
Microsoft was the first !
by Kochise on Tue 11th Mar 2014 16:40 UTC
Kochise
Member since:
2006-03-03

Their update system use a service called "Download Background Intelligent Transfer Service" (BITS) that is loosely something inspired from BitTorrent.

But your conclusion about "more prone to trial than to evolve" is true. The most scary thing now would be this application to be open-sourced...

No more control and/or censorship over it !

Kochise

Reply Score: 1

RE: Microsoft was the first !
by silviucc on Tue 11th Mar 2014 18:22 UTC in reply to "Microsoft was the first !"
silviucc Member since:
2009-12-05

Apparently it's on github and you can check out the source and build the thing:

https://github.com/popcorn-time/popcorn-app

Reply Score: 10

RE: Microsoft was the first !
by mith on Tue 11th Mar 2014 23:00 UTC in reply to "Microsoft was the first !"
mith Member since:
2007-03-15

Well... it actually is opensource: https://github.com/popcorn-time/popcorn-app

Developed using node-webkit.

Reply Score: 2

YTS aka YIFY
by SunOS on Tue 11th Mar 2014 16:47 UTC
SunOS
Member since:
2011-07-12

I like the idea but I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole due to it using YIFY encodes, which are an abomination; 1 GB for 720p movie, 2 GB for 1080p movie...

Reply Score: 4

RE: YTS aka YIFY
by galvanash on Tue 11th Mar 2014 21:40 UTC in reply to "YTS aka YIFY"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I like the idea but I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole due to it using YIFY encodes, which are an abomination; 1 GB for 720p movie, 2 GB for 1080p movie...


Sure if you want to download them for later viewing. But they are streaming this stuff over broadband. YIFY encodes are ideal for streaming - not everyone is on google fiber...

Besides, as bad as some of YIFY's encodes are, I would wager most of them have better quality than what you see streaming HD over Netflix.

Reply Score: 3

RE: YTS aka YIFY
by Ultimatebadass on Wed 12th Mar 2014 08:38 UTC in reply to "YTS aka YIFY"
Ultimatebadass Member since:
2006-01-08

Depends on what you're looking for at the moment. Most movies are shit anyway, I can't be bothered to download a bluray iso of some HollywoodActionMovie 6 i'm going to watch once while drunk on a Saturday evening and delete. In those cases a <2gb 1080p is more than enough.

Reply Score: 3

Maybe a good push
by franksands on Tue 11th Mar 2014 16:47 UTC
franksands
Member since:
2009-08-18

I live in Brazil and use iTunes and Netflix as much as possible. However the catalog in both products are much smaller than their US counterparts. Maybe this is a good push to give a better service.

As a matter of fact, the existence of "Brazil store", "US Store", etc is ridiculous, why do I pay aproximately the same price and receive less service. It would be much simpler to have one global store and everybody could access it.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Maybe a good push
by phoenix on Tue 11th Mar 2014 17:22 UTC in reply to "Maybe a good push"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

unblock-us.com
Sure, it's an extra $5 a month, but you get control over what you watch on Netflix. Change your DNS settings, and then it's a simple website/mouse click to pick which Netflix catalogue you access (Brazil, Canada, US, UK, whichever you prefer).

Netflix doesn't care much, as they still get their $8 a month from you.

If you just want the US catalog, you can just grab the DNS IPs off the unblock-us.com website. They don't hide them. They do change them occasionally, though.

Edited 2014-03-11 17:23 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Maybe a good push
by pandronic on Tue 11th Mar 2014 19:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Maybe a good push"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

trickbyte.com

Works just as well and it's only $3/month

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Maybe a good push
by Ishan333 on Tue 11th Mar 2014 23:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Maybe a good push"
Ishan333 Member since:
2012-06-27

Why pay for something as trivial, check Mediahint.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Maybe a good push
by pandronic on Wed 12th Mar 2014 13:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Maybe a good push"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Unfortunately, I need it to work on my TV and mobile devices, not only on my computer.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Maybe a good push
by CapEnt on Tue 11th Mar 2014 17:29 UTC in reply to "Maybe a good push"
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

Region segregation are another courtesy of movie/music industry, and to a big extend, by the lobby of regional content providers in each country.

Each country has his own legislation for that matter, with varying degrees of liberalization.

For Brazil, it is know to have a very strict and complex legislation, being overprotective of their own internal "artist market", for the sake of "protection of national culture".

You, as a brazilian like me, know very well what that means: regional TV station, content providers, radios, actor guilds, national cinema producers, etc., that dumps lots of subpar products and services at extortion price and monopolize content production at the entire country, and also do his best to lobby foreign competition out through legal barriers.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Maybe a good push
by Treza on Tue 11th Mar 2014 19:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Maybe a good push"
Treza Member since:
2006-01-11

Note that description of protectionism matches the USA as well:
Poor average quality, strong lobbies, artificial barriers to foreign productions, media control...

There is no such thing as a free and unbiasied market in media and culture. Don't be so harsh against your country trying to do the same thing as the USA.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Maybe a good push
by Treza on Tue 11th Mar 2014 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Maybe a good push"
Treza Member since:
2006-01-11

[Continuing my comment above]
There is also all the bullying by USA foreingn affairs, abominations like ACTA. Obviously media corporations would like to deliver content worldwide and pay taxes nowhere.

A bit like Microsoft which prefer people using pirated Windows than using anything else, these corporations prefer pirates to local productions and productions from other countries.

For example, the hugely acclaimed Miyasaki studio Gimli had to get through Disney to reach international audience.

So, Netflix can't deliver content worldwide and must adapt to local reglementations ?
Great !
Super Great !

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Maybe a good push
by smashIt on Tue 11th Mar 2014 20:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Maybe a good push"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

For example, the hugely acclaimed Miyasaki studio Gimli had to get through Disney to reach international audience.


must be an us-thing
in europe (at least in the german speaking areas) ghibli is distributed through unversum film

Edited 2014-03-11 20:56 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Maybe a good push
by cmost on Tue 11th Mar 2014 23:41 UTC in reply to "Maybe a good push"
cmost Member since:
2006-07-16

Or you could simply install and configure a VPM that would give you a U.S. IP address and thus access to all of U.S. netflix content. Simple.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Maybe a good push
by karunko on Wed 12th Mar 2014 13:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Maybe a good push"
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

The VPN part is easy, but I thought you need a Credit Card or PayPal account associated with a domicile located in the U.S. to register?


RT.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Maybe a good push
by pandronic on Wed 12th Mar 2014 13:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Maybe a good push"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

PayPal yes, but Credit Card no.

Reply Score: 4

Old enough to remember Napster
by bolomkxxviii on Tue 11th Mar 2014 17:39 UTC
bolomkxxviii
Member since:
2006-05-19

I wondered how long this was going to take to arrive. It is Napster all over again. I hope the results are the same. Napster forced the music industry (kicking and screaming) into the download age without DRM. I hope Popcorn Time does the same for Video.

Edited 2014-03-11 17:39 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Old enough to remember Napster
by WorknMan on Tue 11th Mar 2014 17:52 UTC in reply to "Old enough to remember Napster"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I wondered how long this was going to take to arrive. It is Napster all over again. I hope the results are the same. Napster forced the music industry (kicking and screaming) into the download age without DRM. I hope Popcorn Time does the same for Video.


Yeah, I kind of rolled my eyes when people started freaking out about the whole Netflix paying Comcast for fatter pipes, and how this could lead to fewer options for consumers. In the end, the pirates will always set these guys straight. And that's good news for those of us who'd rather consume our content legitimately.

Reply Score: 3

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

In the end, the pirates will always set these guys straight. And that's good news for those of us who'd rather consume our content legitimately.


(At least for us) It's not about piracy or being cheap so much as it's about convenience. We pay for cable, but we torrent all our shows. Why? Because the torrents don't have commercials, XBMC has a nicer interface than the PVR from Shaw, and it's nice being able to watch on more than just the one TV.

That, and we still buy blank CDs and DVDs for other purposes and the Canadian media industry charges a levy on all that because they might be used for storing "copyrighted material obtained illegally". So we download our shows and whatnot. We've already paid for it twice over.

Edited 2014-03-11 20:35 UTC

Reply Score: 6

OfficeSubmarine Member since:
2006-12-14

XBMC is why I pirate material I'm legally entitled to as well. There's some hacky workarounds, but frankly I'm not going to allow myself to be punished by an inferior user experience because I'm paying to support the people creating it. XBMC's just amazing, and I refuse to give up and use multiple subpar dedicated programs or hacky addons within xbmc. At least if piracy can give me a single unified and superior experience. I'm still paying, even though it worries me that I'm essentially voting with my wallet to keep things the way they are. But still, I'm pirating with a clear conscience while also annoyed that I need to.

That said, it goes to show how effective all the protection these services have actually are. I used to be able to access all the major commercial streaming services through xbmc. Now the only ones that still work are the minor players like crunchyroll. Has it kept me from pirating any of their exclusive content? At worst by a day or two.

Worse, I imagine people like us who continue to pay for the services we're not using are a minority. They're shotting themselves in the foot by tightening things up so much that it drives people off.

Reply Score: 3

Phloptical Member since:
2006-10-10

I wondered how long this was going to take to arrive. It is Napster all over again. I hope the results are the same. Napster forced the music industry (kicking and screaming) into the download age without DRM. I hope Popcorn Time does the same for Video.


Napster (and their ilk) forced the music industry into oblivion by opening the doors for all the other copycat apps to finish it off like a feeding frenzy. Sure it was cool at the time....fight the power, and all that nonsense. But eventually you get what you pay for.

Since the product today is in effect, free, it's not worth making. And certainly not worth paying for. Which is why you don't have to.

Today's new acts aren't worth discovering, and even if they were worth it, there's hardly any record companies left willing to bankroll an unknown band, until they become popular enough to make a profit. So now we're left with the alternative, the few mega entertainment conglomerates, who can afford to crank out manufactured cookie cutter acts. Acts who are either guaranteed a return on investment, or who are diverse enough to offset their losses by realizing gains in their other product offerings. ie. Disney.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

There is a staggering amount of new great music, just explore Last.fm or Spotify recommendation systems.

Reply Score: 2

Perspective
by Dasher42 on Tue 11th Mar 2014 19:25 UTC
Dasher42
Member since:
2007-04-05

"Had the entertainment industry not been the only industry in the world that is protected by a huge, special legal framework"

Media and DRM are interesting issues, but let's not overstate their importance or the fight over them. Even in the "first world", there are people with problems like having their entire landscape turned into Mordor for tar sands, or having their watershed turned into a moonscape for coal. In the case of indigenous groups, legal frameworks that were supposed to protect their land get ignored!

Special legal privilege is not a unique feature of the entertainment industry or its most serious case. Let's just keep some perspective here.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Perspective
by galvanash on Wed 12th Mar 2014 00:41 UTC in reply to "Perspective"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Special legal privilege is not a unique feature of the entertainment industry or its most serious case. Let's just keep some perspective here.


I get your point. But your talking about special legal frameworks to protect what are essentially minority/small groups from corporate exploitation.

Aren't the protections afforded to the entertainment industry the exact opposite?

Edited 2014-03-12 00:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Perspective
by Lennie on Wed 12th Mar 2014 15:36 UTC in reply to "Perspective"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

This isn't just consumers that are hurt by DRM either.

Now imagine you are a library and have to legally allow people to lend out 'DRM-protected' (e)books, music and maybe games.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Tue 11th Mar 2014 19:53 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Am I the only person here who thinks hiding most of the bittorrent leg-work from the user is not exactly a breakthrough of any sort. I'm sure dumbing down bittorrent searching will increase usage by some unknown number... But we aren't talking night & day here.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by sbenitezb on Tue 11th Mar 2014 20:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

Tell that to my mother.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by leech on Wed 12th Mar 2014 12:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Tell that to my mother.


I already did, and a few other things besides!

(wow, I really need to get out more, I am now making Mom jokes on the internet to total strangers...)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by Lennie on Wed 12th Mar 2014 15:26 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Convenience is a very large part of success of most things.

Reply Score: 4

Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/02/oscar-nominated-dallas-b...

Also, this isn't new. I first heard about similar services back in 2011. However, I myself, don't use such a service. I don't consider it moral to get things without paying for them in some fashion, without the permission of the copyright owner.

Reply Score: 1

v_bobok Member since:
2008-08-01

Yep, because rich hollywood mogul Grossman has 599 millions on his bank account this year, not 600. Boo, poor bastard, let's give him your monies LOL.

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I don't define my morality solely by the outcome.

Reply Score: 3

computrius Member since:
2006-03-26

He is right you know. Even if the owner of that copyright has 600 trillion in the bank, that doesn't change the fact that your stealing.

I'm not fighting to stop piracy or anything, but if your going to do it at least stop lying to yourself for justification. You are still stealing and that is not ok.

Edited 2014-03-12 16:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

bolomkxxviii Member since:
2006-05-19

maybe you should check out techdirt and see who really are the criminals. The content providers screw the public every chance they get. I do not get any content ilegally but I have sympaty for those who do.

Reply Score: 3

computrius Member since:
2006-03-26

I'm not saying content providers aren't criminals either. That still doesn't make stealing right.

Reply Score: 3

DOSguy Member since:
2009-07-27

Why do you keep calling piracy stealing? When someone sneaks into a movie theater and watches a movie he hasn't payed for he isn't stealing, is he? It is 'potential loss of revenue'.

Reply Score: 0

Comment by v_bobok
by v_bobok on Tue 11th Mar 2014 22:12 UTC
v_bobok
Member since:
2008-08-01

There's nothing you can do about it at all.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by v_bobok
by AlephZero on Wed 12th Mar 2014 14:06 UTC in reply to "Comment by v_bobok"
AlephZero Member since:
2011-07-12

Well, if I were a evil major movie company, I could try to, in order:
- threaten and probably sue the maintainers of the site getpopcornti.me (that couldn't stop the program being distributed because of its open sourceness, but the major distibutor could be taken down)
- threaten every download site containing Popcorn Time as a download (try to stop the alternative distributers)
- monitor the torrent traffic for every client that identifies itself as "popcorntime" and backtrack the IPs (I'm not really sure about the effectiveness of this point)

Reply Score: 2

Hmmm
by Poseidon on Tue 11th Mar 2014 22:35 UTC
Poseidon
Member since:
2009-10-31

Maybe we need some scientists and engineers in the government in USA instead of lawyers.

That would fix a lot of these problems provided they don't sell out to corporate sponsors.

Reply Score: 2

computrius
Member since:
2006-03-26

"AAaaaaaannnnndddd.. Its gone!"

Reply Score: 2

Popcorn Hour
by daedalus on Wed 12th Mar 2014 14:53 UTC
daedalus
Member since:
2011-01-14

Wonder if this is any relation of the Popcorn Hour? An awesome little media box with the capability to download torrents without having to use a computer. It just queued them up and downloaded them overnight. And it had a lovely interface and remote, and was generally well made and thought out.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Popcorn Hour
by Lennie on Wed 12th Mar 2014 15:34 UTC in reply to "Popcorn Hour"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Doubt it, Popcorn Hour has already existed for many years. Since at least 2009.

Popcorn Time is an open source project based on node.js and NodeWebKit. Node.js was created in May of 2009 and NodeWebKit was created at Intel and open sourced in 2011.

And the first commit on Github of Popcorn Time was made in Feb. 2014.

I guess popcorn is just a movie related term. ;-)

Reply Score: 5

Closed
by wigry on Fri 14th Mar 2014 20:11 UTC
wigry
Member since:
2008-10-09

The service has been closed. Hopefully this proof of concept will produce some legal and hopefully profitable services. Each movie studio or at least big distributors whould have such a movie shop where you could view the films from the day they are launched. For money of course but that would not be a problem.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Closed
by ichi on Fri 14th Mar 2014 21:45 UTC in reply to "Closed"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

But the code is still there on github for anyone to build or fork.

Reply Score: 2