P2P File Sharing app/protocol by Bram Cohen includes a Search Engine

Iso Hunt is a Search Engine that includes RSS support (feeds of new matches to search params)

comparing client apps

see descendant One Swarm

Safe/anonymous BitTorrent use

Background: Copyright Alert System

Do not run BitTorrent over TOR!

Using Bt Guard

Private trackers

Bt Guard VPN use

Switched to this after starting with just proxy service - see below.

Switched back to Transmission BitTorrent client.

Bt Guard proxy use details

(Their proxy will hide your BitTorrent traffic, but not the fact that you used a web-browser to talk to PirateBay/etc. That footprint combo will probably trigger the Copyright Alert System.)

(On a Mac...) can't use Transmission BitTorrent client, must use Vuze (decline the optional add-ons we smell like ad-ware)

  • then configure Vuze
  • then test to make sure your true IP isn't being seen
  • if that test works then I guess you can ignore warnings for "proxy connect failed"
  • see notes on "selective downloading" (see below why you'd want this)

Getting Started - using Doctor Who as an example

Note this is a risk - see Copyright Alert System

Get a good/free downloader client

For Mac, we use Transmission, but there are plenty of other choices.

For PC, any of these should be fine.

Launch the app right after downloading so you can do whatever setup is necessary (pick default folder for downloads to get stored in, etc.).

Use a Search Engine for torrent files

The easiest place to start is The Pirate Bay.

Enter your search term, then you probably want to click "Video" to limit the returns, and click the "Pirate Search" button.

On the list of returned matches, click on the "SE" column header near the right, to sort by that column. The matches that now end up at the top of the page will tend to give you the fastest downloads. Browse your way down the list to find something that looks promising. (It's OK if a torrent includes more than you want (e.g. 5 seasons worth), because your downloader client will let you limit your download to just a subset of episodes.) In this case, the "Doctor Who 2005 Season 1-5" item looks good, so click on that.

In the page of info about the torrent, click the "Get This Torrent" link. It may either save the file to your machine, which you then have to click on to launch your torrent client, or the client may launch automatically.

Limit your download to a subset of the collection ("selective downloading")

If you let it try to download 50hrs of video at once, it could take days before you could watch any of it, since it downloads everything in random slices, not in sequence. So you probably want to start by downloading a couple episodes, let that finish, then do some more, etc....

(Also, note that while your torrent client is running, anything you have downloaded may also start getting uploaded by other people around the world. That's the nature of BitTorrent.)

In Transmission, you do this by:

  • clicking on a specific torrent in the main Transmission window to select it.
  • select "View/Show Inspector" menu or hit cmd-i: this will open a new window
  • uncheck the specific files/episodes you don't want to download (for now)
  • with a big (e.g. multi-season) torrent there will often be a hierarchy, so you can uncheck a whole season at a time, then click-open a specific season to pick some episodes but not others
  • (after you've watched your initial episodes, you can re-launch Transmission then re-check the next batch of episodes you want)
  • (In your downloads folder, you may end up with bits of episodes that started downloading before you unchecked them. They might even be the size of full episodes (because file blocks get reserved up front), but have a strange file-name-extension like .part. You can just leave those around for the future.)
  • When the episodes you left checked have completed downloading, the progress bar for that torrent will turn green. You can quit Transmission then (unless you want to keep it running to share with others).

Download a new video player app

Videos online are in a variety of formats. It's possible the default player on your machine won't handle a certain format you run across.

VLC is a free player app that plays everything and launches quickly.

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