Popcorn Time is a multi-platform, free software BitTorrent client that includes an integrated media player. The applications provide a free alternative to subscription-based video streaming services (such as Netflix). Popcorn Time uses sequential downloading to stream video listed by several torrent websites (although other trackers can be added and used manually).
Following its inception, Popcorn Time quickly received positive media attention, with some comparing the app to Netflix for being easy to use. After this increase in popularity, the program was abruptly taken down by its original developers on March 14, 2014, due to pressure from the MPAA. Since then, the program has been forked several times with several other development teams such as the Butter Project to maintain the program and produce new features.
How does it work?
The Popcorn Time interface presents thumbnails and film titles in a manner similar to Netflix. This list of media can be searched and browsed by genres or categories. When a user clicks on one of the titles, the film is downloaded via the BitTorrent protocol. As with other BitTorrent clients, as soon as Popcorn Time starts to download a film, it also starts to share the downloaded content with other users (in technical terms, it seeded the torrent to others in the BitTorrent swarm). It continues to make the downloaded content available to others until the movie is deleted, which is normally done automatically once the application is closed.