Popcorn Time is a free and simple to use streaming service with a huge selection of movies and TV-shows. It plays video using torrents but works and looks much like paid for streaming services – perhaps even better. Pick something from the menu, hit play and wait a few moments for the selected movie or episode to start.
Please be aware that Popcorn Time and similar applications/services might be illegal to use depending on the laws that apply to your situation. Much of the content is copyright protected material that is being shared without the rightful owners permission. Thus, downloading as well as sharing it is most likely a violation of said copyright.
If you still decide to make use of the applications mentioned you do so at your own risk. The content on this website is for informational purposes only and you are encouraged to use legal streaming services.
Popcorn Time is an open source project which means the program code is openly shared on the internet. Consequently, there are several versions on various websites to choose from – most claiming to be the official and/or best – which can be confusing for many.
This is an unofficial and unaffiliated Popcorn Time website with a goal of gathering and condensing all available and relevant info. The aim is to be a one-stop source to useful information, news, help and guides across versions, countries and platforms.
Check out our articles on:
- An overview of the various forks and where to download Popcorn Time
- How to install apps for iOS (iPad and iPhone), Android and Android TV
- Installing Popcorn Time on Mac OS X
- Casting with Chromecast and Apple TV with AirPlay
- Using Popcorn Time with a VPN
- Frequently asked questions and Q&A
- A list of Movies and TV shows on Popcorn Time
How Popcorn Time works
Popcorn Time uses P2P technology (BitTorrent) for distribution so the users share with each other instead of downloading from a central server. As a user you aren’t confronted with the technology behind serving the menus and delivering the content. The developers saved you that trouble and that’s part of how Popcorn Time has become so popular across the world.
Popcorn Time has taken the process of searching for, downloading, and playing a video file and streamlined it tremendously. The menus are populated by “harvesting” information from popular torrent indexing sites (EZTV and YTS) showing not only what’s available to watch but also provides options for subtitles and quality as well as descriptions and ratings.
A single click or tap on “Watch Now” starts the download and shortly after – when the download speed is sufficient for a smooth viewing experience – playback begins. Once playing, you’ll find common playback options such as pause, resume, search etc., just like you would in any paid (and legal) video streaming service. The process of searching, downloading and watching videos with torrents has been simplified so much that anybody can do it.
The applications are available for the most popular operating systems and can be installed on almost every kind of device. Popcorn Time is thus available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, Android TV and iOS (iPhone and iPad).
Popcorn Time downloads movies and TV-shows using torrents
At the core of Popcorn Time you find the BitTorrent protocol which makes it possible for users to share files over the internet. This is also known as P2P file sharing which is short for peer-to-peer. The BitTorrent protocol was invented in 2001 and has evolved to being the most used method for file transfer.
Before Popcorn Time and similar applications, users wanting to download movies or episodes using the protocol had to install a BitTorrent client and then go to websites such as The Pirate Bay to search for and download torrent files that subsequently could be opened with the client. The torrent file doesn’t contain any of the wanted video file but only tells the downloader what to download from other users sharing it.
The next step is to wait for the video to finish downloading after which it can be watched. If you want subtitles for your video you have add a step where you go to a subtitle website and find what you need.
The BitTorrent protocol is brilliant and once you get the hang of it, the process becomes easy but it has always been quite cumbersome and thus mostly used by those experienced with computers and IT (nerds). Many have simply been thrown off by the somewhat complicated process which has prevented torrent downloading from truly reaching the masses.
Is Popcorn Time illegal?
Unlimited free access to thousands of movies and TV-shows makes most wonder if Popcorn Time is illegal. There’s no simple answer to the question as laws regarding filesharing aren’t the same across the world. In the end it’s up to the courts to interpret the law and decide what’s legal or not.
However, it is certain that if your country’s laws prohibit unauthorized downloading and/or sharing of copyright protected material; using Popcorn Time to watch such content is definitely in violation to those laws. But since using Popcorn Time doesn’t necessarily violate any copyrights, the service itself should be perfectly legal, at least in theory.
To be completely sure what rules apply to your current situation, you should seek legal council or at least check up on the laws under which jurisdiction you live.
Learn more: Is Popcorn Time illegal to use?