This Free Mac App Is Like Netflix For Streaming Torrents

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This is not how Hollywood wants you to watch Oscar nominees.

Popcorn Time is an open source app for Mac, Windows, and Linux that acts essentially like Netflix for streaming video torrents. The project is “the result of many developers and designers putting a bunch of APIs together to make the experience of watching torrent movies as simple as possible.”

Yes, it really works. Is it legal? That depends.

Torrenting as a method of distribution is not illegal, but in many countries, including the U.S, it’s illegal to download pirated content. Therein lies the ethical dilemma of the situation, and by extension, an app like Popcorn Time.

The interface is a collection of posters with different movie categories to choose, and clicking a movie shows a brief description with its Rotten Tomatoes rating. Depending on the movie and your bandwidth connection, you can choose to have it play with subtitles or 720/1080p HD.

Technically, when you’re steaming a movie in the app, you’re downloading it while simultaneously seeding. Once downloaded completely, the app hides the movie file in a buried folder that is automatically deleted when your Mac restarts. It’s a pretty smart way to get around the torrenting dilemma; you normally have to wait until a file is completely downloaded before you can play it. Not anymore.

The overall experience is nothing too fancy, but it works well, especially considering that the app is still in beta.

  • Arkadiusz Flak

    What about viruses and other dangerous stuff?

  • Arkadiusz Flak

    My mac said that the app is damaged and i should move it to the trash

    • Derek Wildstar

      try using Chrome, like it recommended

  • Juan Carlos Amalbert

    The app work great but after doing some chmod +x some archive in the app, because the app won’t open. The faqs in the app page have what you need to do to make the app work

  • Eduardo Resende 

    Just extract the zip file with the default Archive Utility and move to the Applications folder. I was using other utility to unzip and it did not work.

  • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

    This is amazing. Beautifully fine tuned interface for only a beta. The future of movie torrenting is here.

  • Lino

    Im having trouble puting the subtitles. I choose the subtitles but it won´t show. Do you know whats happening?

  • RobG

    So I just wanted to make sure I knew how to use this…I can click on a movie and watch it streaming on internet connection but not save it, right? I don’t really care if I save it or not but if I can, it’d be cool to know how to do it. Just looking at it so far, WOW, it’s cool! : )

    • James Fox

      yeah you just click on a movie you want, choose your quality (720p or 1080p) then click on “watch it”

  • chas_m

    Looks very slick, but this is the surest way yet to get the MPAA after you in court …

  • Guilherme Aguiar

    When I’m watching a movie through the app does it seed the movie or not? That’s the only problem that I have, I live inside my Uni and I can’t seed, if I do it they cut my internet access.

    • James Fox

      yes it does seed

      • RobG

        So James, on a Mac, how do we remove the “seed”? I don’t want to get in trouble having a movie on my computer that “they” find to be illegal. Like I said before in my post, I don’t care about downloading and saving any movies, just watching them for free.

      • James Fox

        The movie is automatically deleted from your hard drive the moment you turn off your computer (which unfortunately means it doesn’t save at what moment you were in the movie if you want to continue watching it another time). BTW I am in no way affiliated to this company.

  • rye

    Nice!

  • Joe Naflish

    this app makes my mac mini internet slow to a freaking crawl..when i restarted the internet doesn’t work at all. my macbook which i put next to it seems unaffected. knowing that my mac mini was the only one i installed it, i totally removed it using app cleaner. now everything’s seems back to normal. anyone got similar prob? i would love this app if its working correctly

  • Michael McGlothlin

    I’d rather have a Netflix player that would act more like a Torrent so it’d download portions from closer/faster peers and cache properly.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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