Bittorrent: Good option for missed TV shows?
October 7, 2005 9:15 AM   Subscribe

I missed my favorite TV show and really want to see it. Is Bittorrent a good option? Are there other options?

Is it possible to fine last week's West Wing using Bittorrent? I don't quite get the bittorrent thing. I understand the idea behind the technology, but not how to find things. Where do I start? Can I find this weeks Commander and Chief that will play on my Mac? Is there a user guide for the confused somewhere? OR is there some other way I can catch shows I missed without signing up for something that will cost me money every month?
posted by cccorlew to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are plenty of FAQs online, just google for them. As far as West Wing goes, here's a list.
posted by gramcracker at 9:18 AM on October 7, 2005

Most tv shows found via bittorrent are AVI files compressed using the divX codec which will play using QuickTime on your Mac if you install the codec: DivX
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:20 AM on October 7, 2005

There's also tape exchange. But that's probably harder since most everyone's going to be using torrents. I use and Tomato Torrent on my mac. TorrentSpy does have the West Wing. The Wikipedia article on Bittorrent gives a good explanation of the amazing tenchnology. It may seem odd at first but once you learn it it will be very easy.
posted by scazza at 9:26 AM on October 7, 2005

I recommend using Azureaus as your bittorrent download client. There are plenty of tutorials online to help you set it up.
You can use the RSSfeed plugin to automatically download shows as they are posted.
posted by bradn at 9:26 AM on October 7, 2005

Oh yea, another option for playing the torrent avi files is VLC, which will play anything from anywhere.
posted by scazza at 9:28 AM on October 7, 2005

re: where to find the shows: www DOT tvtorrent DOT info SLASH eztv
posted by signal at 9:28 AM on October 7, 2005

Look for torrents with at least 1 seed, hopefully 10 or more.
posted by signal at 9:29 AM on October 7, 2005

scazza, the TWoP powers that be don't allow tape exchange threads anymore.
posted by amarynth at 9:49 AM on October 7, 2005

As far as other options, it's not free, but you can sign up for a newsgroup provider that has a search interface (like easynews). That is more of a direct download and it has an extra layer of security between you and the law, since you only download from the newsgroup provider.
posted by smackfu at 9:59 AM on October 7, 2005

i use newsgroups to get most shows i miss,the popular shows are posted on the alt.binaries.multimedia newsgroup. (also, most of the files i download will play on my phillips dvp 642)
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 10:15 AM on October 7, 2005

Most of the torrent sites like the pirate bay have television amongs the music, movies and apps. It's the only place I ever look for tv shows I missed.
posted by phearlez at 10:24 AM on October 7, 2005

I second the recommendation for VLC when it comes time to actually watch the videos.

VLC Player works extremely well in OS X--far better than fiddling with codecs for QuickTime, plus it will do really nice full screen playback without paying for QT Pro. It has easy drag and drop install, doesn't litter your drive with crud and basically behaves like a proper Mac app should.

Naturally I would never download television shows because that would be wrong but i've heard that use eye ess oh hunt dot com is a good, broad torrent search engine.

The basic concept is that you download a teensy ".torrent" file that has information inside it about the central location where bunches of people are uploading/downloading that particular show. You open the .torrent file in BitTorrent or Azureus or whatever and it starts downloading the real video file for you.

It's very easy in practice, there's no need to be intimidated. The most confusing thing that might happen is that you might end up with a big pile of .01 .02 .03 files, and you can just recombine them using Stuffit Expander.
posted by bcwinters at 11:02 AM on October 7, 2005

Another option for player for DivX/XVid on OS X is XinePlayer. It's what you would get if Quicktime Player and VLC had a child.
posted by smackfu at 11:09 AM on October 7, 2005

The other great thing about tv torrents is that it's pretty easy to find HDTV versions.

An iMac makes a wicked tv!
posted by lrivers at 11:57 AM on October 7, 2005

I've used Limewire for this, although the episode I wanted was mislabeled, so after the lengthy download, I had to find it from somebody else and download again. But I got to watch the episode.
posted by drobot at 1:06 PM on October 7, 2005

I hope it's OK with the original poster if I piggyback onto this with a related question.

Using bittorent, I downloaded a torrented TV show that seems to be in VCD format. I can watch it on my Mac but I'd like to be able to burn it to a CD or DVD and watch it on my TV. I gather I can do this with Toast but I'm hoping to find a free/shareware program that will do it. Any tips?
posted by yankeefog at 7:42 AM on October 9, 2005

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