As I write this, I’m sitting in Stuttgart airport waiting to take a connecting flight to my new home in Leipzig, Germany. And what is my biggest fear in my new life? The unbearable winters? The fact that smoking is still allowed in bars and restaurants in 2013? Nope. The scariest thing is that I may not be able to use BitTorrent to download the latest TV shows, thanks to pesky German traits like upholding the law.
If only there was a German equivalent of the new BBC download-only iPlayer app.
If you use the iPad iPlayer app, you can both stream shows and save them for offline viewing. On the desktop, you have been limited to streaming, which makes sense if you’re at home with an uncapped, always-on connection. Instead of just adding downloads to the existing app (which will probably be confusing for many users), the Beeb made a new app which is for downloads only. Search, download and watch later: easy. I just wonder what the point is? I mean, who still uses a laptop to watch movies on a plane?
And the German downloading situation? A Spanish friend of mine moved here last year, got set up and then downloaded an album or two. Not long after, the police were at his door to issue some kind of legal demand. The police! As far as I can tell it was the usual extortion racket carried out on easily-spooked citizens by record-company lawyers, but still. Compared to Spain, where downloading movies and music is virtually legal, it’s a scary world to be entering.