If you live outside the U.S and UK, you’ll find that the easiest and quickest way to get your favorite TV shows onto your iPad is via BitTorrent. But until now, you had to do some heavy post-download processing to make the XVID files play on your iPad, or at least use third-party software to play it.
Now, many BitTorrent groups have switched to the x264 MP4 format for most new releases. That’s good news for iPad and Apple TV users, but there’s even more entertainment to be had from this story: The BitTorrent pirates are crowing about the switch and even threatening to boycott the downloads.
Yes, you read that right. Pirates are threatening to boycott illegal TV show downloads.
The reasons that groups like LOL, ASAP, FTP and YesTV are switching to MP4 is the same reason that everybody else is using it, says TorrentFreak. The codec allows better quality at smaller file sizes, and most modern devices sport hardware decoding of the format.
So why are the pirates whining so loudly, with all-caps complaints like ““[email protected]#k LOL and their mp4′s” and “MP4 SUCKS AND IS A BULL SHIT FORMAT. AVI WILL ALWAYS BE KING. MORE TROUBLE THAN IS WORTH. TIME TO GET MY DOWNLOADS FROM A BETTER SITE THAT OFFERS AVI AND I KNOW A MAJORITY OF THE DOWN LOADERS WILL DO THE SAME”?
It turns out that they’re not so up-to-date after all. Many of the complaints come because these luddites are using DVD players to watch their TV shows — many DVD players support XVID-encoded movies. It’s not clear whether they are using USB sticks stuck into the players, or actually burning DVDs (the horror), but this all seems rather old fashioned.
The irony is that many AVI files have been encoded with x.264 for a long time now, and it takes seconds to re-encode them with an iPad-friendly wrapper — no transcoding required — with a Mac app like iFlicks. Sadly, this change doesn’t mean you can just drop your downloads into iTunes and have them sync across to your iDevice, even if you change the file extension to M4V. But it does mean that you can easily convert them with no loss of quality whatsoever.
What I most love about this story is the pathetic bleating of these pirates. If you care so much about these shows, why not pay for them?