Podcasting and Bittorrent Unite

March 14, 2007 By: erik Category: Geeky, Media, Stuff I Found 1,160 views

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For a couple years now, I’ve been keeping up to date with American television via a technology called BitTorrent. I can usually have an episode of an hour-long program like 24, House, or Prison Break (my three favs at the moment) downloaded by lunch time the day after they air in the US.

But the annoying thing about BitTorrent is that you have to go searching for the torrent files. You can subscribe to RSS feeds of searches on sites like mininova.org or thepiratebay.org, but you still have to keep an eye on them and notice when new torrents are available.

Podcasts, on the other hand, are nice because they get downloaded automatically. You wake up in the morning, open your iTunes, and you have a number of podcasts already downloaded and ready to be played (or copied to your iPod, hence the name). What sucks about podcasts, compared to BitTorrents, is that the content is pretty lame.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could combine the great content of BitTorrent with the automatic downloading of podcasts? Now you can!

I found this page solely because he’s linking to me in his deli.cio.us links on his sidebar. Check this out:

How to Subscribe to TV Shows Using The Democracy Player & Bittorrent & RSS

  1. Download The Democracy Player
  2. Search for a show of your choice at TVRss
  3. Right click on the RSS/XML icon link and select Copy Link URL
  4. Go to Feedburner, and paste the URL into the text field on the home page, check the “I am a Podcaster!” box, and click next.
    1. If you don’t already have a Feedburner account, you’ll be prompted to create one
  5. Click “Next” to activate the feed
  6. Copy the URL of the feed provided by Feedburner (it should start with http://feeds.feedburner.com/)
  7. Open The Democracy Player, click “Add Channel”, and paste the URL of the feed into the field that appears
  8. Sleep. In the morning, you should have an episode of The Daily Show to watch!
  9. New episodes will automatically be downloaded as soon as they’re available on Bittorrent – I’ve found this to usually be a day after the show airs
  10. Enjoy!

It really works! I’ve got my Democracy Player downloading from his recommended The Daily Show feed right now.

I completely agree that this is the future of television. Already DVR devices, like TiVo, allow you to watch shows on your own time. Ever increasing bandwidth will draw more and more people to the internet for their television content. Apple has it right, trying to jump into the paid subscriber market with their Apple TV. They’ve jumped the major hurdle from the office to the living room sofa.

I’m very happy about this ability to auto-download torrents directly into a video player.

Any illegal activity mentioned in this blog post was strictly hypothetical.

  • Uncle Steve

    It’ll be the future of television when you can to to one web site, check off the ones you want, and just be notified that they’re there (on your own computer), ready to be clicked on and watched at the user’s leisure. Until then, its just a possibility of the future of television….

    Haven’t software and media companies yet learned that you have to make things trivially simple for the masses?

  • Thanks so much for posting about this. I’ve been using Bittorrent for only about a year now, and for the same reason you cite: to stay caught up with U.S./Canadian/U.K. television. We use a video iPod docked to the TV for viewing (and converting with iSquint the quality is on par with cable). I’d dabbled a little with Democracy but was too lazy to invest the time in figuring it out. Now I will. Thanks again.

  • I’ve done the iSquint+iPod thing too. If iSquint wasn’t so slow (at least 2 minutes of conversion time for 1 minute of video), it would be a lot better.

    Thanks for the insightful, on-topic, and interesting comment. It’s always fun to get good comments from strangers. 🙂

    P.S. iSquint has to be one of my favorite product names. For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, it’s a video conversion tool to let you put any video format on your iPod.

  • Checking back in. A few weeks later, I’ve finally gotten around to looking into this, and after only a little bit of fiddling around with the feeds, I have it all configured. I am stunned. As a relative newcomer to Bittorrent, I still think it’s amazing to be able find nearly anything you want with a little poking, and then to download it with some patience and further poking both before and after. But to have this automated just blows me away. It’s like the difference between bookmarks and using a feedreader. I am loving it already. Your post is going to get me watching favorites I’ve been too lazy to track down on a daily basis (like “The Daily Show” and its meta-ironic spinoff). You also got us into “Prison Break”. Our deep thanks on all counts!

  • I love how you refer to Stephen Colbert as “meta-ironic spinoff”. 🙂

    I fear that Prison Break might have jumped the shark this week (S02E22). If they can’t pull out of the tail-spin they left the last episode in, it’s going to slide into the nonsensical conspiracy garbage that X-Files became in its last few years.