Torrenting pirated content is something of a legal and moral gray area. But if you're going to do it, you'll appreciate being able watch your media right away. TorrenTV, a derivative of the Popcorn Time torrent streamer, can play torrents as they download. Now it can also broadcast video to Apple TV using AirPlay, even if you don't have a Mac.
Information comes from TorrentFreak, a news site that deals with the legal and cultural aspects of the torrenting world. The TorrenTV app is available for download right now, costs nothing, and supports Windows, Mac and Linux systems. Keep in mind, though, that the Windows and Mac versions of the program are still in beta.
The impetus behind the project is straightforward enough: Finding a kluge to turn a downloading technology in a streaming one. In torrenting, many "seeders" offer up a file for download, and many "leechers" acquire it. Because leechers can acquire pieces of the files from multiple hosts at once, torrenting files is often much faster than traditional downloads and does not strain a centralized server.
The problem with torrenting: Because the data comes in dribs and drabs, trying to watch a program before it's completely finishes downloading is usually a fool's errand. Services like Popcorn Time and TorrenTV alleviate this by streaming content as it downloads. TorrenTV essentially puts any content that's available for torrent on a big screen almost instantaneously.
Using TorrenTV with Apple TV is also extremely simple. Simply open the program on a Mac, drag and drop the torrent link into the box the app displays, activate AirPlay and wait a few minutes for the program to cache the minimum data necessary to display the file. Users can also drag and drop video files and play them in the same way.
The TorrenTV creators are also developing apps for Roku and Chromecast. They will possess the same functionality, but will work by using your computer as a media server, as Roku and Chromecast lack AirPlay capability. The TorrenTV app for Roku players hasn't yet been approved by Roku, but you can install it as a private channel now.
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.