Popcorn Time relies on torrents for both downloading and populating the menus. The BitTorrent network is the method of choice for file sharing across the globe and virtually any movie or TV-show episode can be downloaded with torrents.
There are usually many sources (torrents) for every movie or episode but since Popcorn Time is locked in to using certain providers (EZTV and YTS) you’re stuck using the torrents they are offering. Most of the time that doesn’t matter since both frequently release the newest content in great quality but once it while you might have the need to look outside the menus.
The three most common reasons are:
- Non-English content; Popcorn Time almost exclusively indexes English speaking movies and TV-shows in the menus but you can get torrents for almost everything, you just need to search for it. If your first language isn’t English this is the way to watch shows and movies in your mother’s tongue.
- 4k or other alternative qualities; Popcorn Time only has sources for up to 1080p resolution and stereo sound but there are, of course, also torrents for 4k and/or multiple sound channels (surround).
- Alternative torrent; If your download won’t start or is too slow for smooth playback you can try and search for other torrents for the same movie or episode.
This is where the very well hidden but quite powerful manual search feature of Popcorn Time comes in handy as it can usually solve these and similar issues. Connected to the databases of RARBG and KAT it’s a direct link to the bulk of movie and TV torrents out there as KAT alone is one of the largest torrent indexing sites there is.
Performing a manual torrent search with Popcorn Time
For this demonstration we’ve selected the popcorntime.sh fork but it works the same with the others.
- Open the manual search. It’s the tiny folder icon in the top right corner.
- Pick either KAT or RARBG as the source (red arrow), select genre (green), enter search string (blue) and hit enter to perform the search. You can also open and play using downloaded torrent files or Magnet links (yellow).
- We did a KAT search for movies and entered “the martian 4k” which returned this list of six available torrents. 4k isn’t available in the Popcorn Time menus and neither is most non-English content so in those cases a manual search is the only option.
- We selected option number three which displays what’s contained in that torrent file (green arrow). You need to manually select the video file so if there’s more than one you’re looking for the one that ends in .mkv, .mp4 or another video container format. There are sometimes two video files and in those cases you need to pick the one that isn’t a sample The download/playback is as usually started by hitting “Watch Now” (blue arrow) and if you want to select another player such as DLNA, Chromecast or Apple TV there’s also an option to do that (red arrow) but be sure to do it before hitting play. There’s also an option to save the torrent (yellow) for later use.
- Once you click “Watch Now” the download will progress as any other movie or episode picked from the menus. It will even load subtitles if they’re available.
There you go; a guide for manually searching for and playing video torrents with Popcorn Time. It might come in handy if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary or if you need to try out alternative torrents.