Popcorn Time, the torrent file aggregation platform that won't die, became available this week to iOS device users for the first time, with independent developers releasing an installer that makes it possible to put the app onto Apple devices that haven't been jailbroken.
Tech blog The Next Web noted that, while rough around the edges, the app instantaneously streams video content from torrent sites to a user's mobile device.
Popcorn Time sifts through files on targeted torrent sites and presents the movies and TV shows it finds within a slick, user-friendly interface. It was initially developed on a whim by a group of friends in Buenos Aires, who voluntarily took down the original installer last year within a week of posting it online. However, the code survived on GitHub, and a project immediately started to continue developing the software.
The mobile app has been available for Android devices and Chromecast since last summer. The iOS version retains that native Chromecast compatibility, as well as AirPlay support.
"So far, no one has been able to knock out Popcorn Time and I suspect not even Apple will be able to shut it down, although it will no doubt move swiftly to try," The Next Web's Mic Wright said.
Popcorn Time's continuing popularity and ongoing development point to one of the biggest pain points in consumers' online video experience: finding content they want to watch, when they want to watch it. While a plethora of content is available legally to U.S. audiences--both through their pay-TV provider and subscription options like Netflix--finding that content is fraught with difficulty. Much of it is siloed onto each provider's platform, requiring cumbersome effort to search through available titles; and some platforms do not provide a search and recommendation experience that makes it easy to find content.
The openness of torrent platforms is part of Popcorn Time's success--and what makes it the bane of legitimate distributors and providers.
And even though many providers are moving to make their content more available, pirated video downloads are continuing. Ahead of the fifth-season premiere of Game of Thrones, Irdeto noted, illegal downloads of the previous seasons increased 45 percent between Feb. 5 and April 6, averaging more than 116,000 downloads per day. Brazil, France and the U.S. topped the countries downloading the series illegally.
Downloads of Game of Thrones increased 47% year over year in Brazil and 155% in India. (Source: Irdeto)
Special report: Online video piracy: Ways the industry could address the growing problem
Netflix's master plan is global content licensing
Closing movie release windows will slow piracy, boost revenue for Oscar-nominated films, Irdeto says
Online piracy debate widens digital content divide between consumers, creators
World Cup's unofficial rating: 20 million illegal viewers