“Netflix for pirates” is how Popcorn Time is dubbed among its users. Ever since its creation, untimely death and resurrection, the service victoriously treads the Internet, breaking borders and quite probably a few rules.
For those unfamiliar with the service, Popcorn Time is a torrent streaming app that lets anybody anywhere watch the latest movies, documentaries, shows and animation movies online. No fees, no restrictions. Well, your Internet provider might try to block it, but then again, you do know about VPN, don’t you? Besides, one fork of the service even offered a VPN of its own.
Technically, the service does not infringe anything because it neither produces, nor hosts the content, but streams it whenever it finds it somewhere else. The app itself is so dead-simple a 5-year old can find a cartoon and enjoy it right away. The service manages to find access to the most recent and most wanted movies and shows, from a Western viewer’s perspective at least.
Legally, Popcorn Time is somewhere in the danger zone, and whether it’s morally acceptable to use it is totally up to the user to decide. Netflix is so freaked out about Popcorn Time, they even mention it as their main competitor. In response, Popcorn Time posted an article in its blog saying Netflix acquired Popcorn Time. It was an April Fool’s joke, it turns out, but we get the fine irony. The important thing is so that Popcorn gets to be the last one to laugh, however.
Download, install, agree with the Terms and off you go – hundreds of titles are available instantly.
However, after the app stores removed the app from their markets, mobile users have been left high and dry. Shortly thereafter, the service came back with an Android app while iOS users were still left waiting.
Last week, Popcorn Time released an iOS version that does not require a jailbreak. Why is jailbreak even in question, you ask? Because you get the app file from the developer’s website and install it without the fruit company intervention in the middle.
As far as Android users are concerned, it is dead simple – you just have to check the box in your settings next to the option that allows installing apps from unknown sources, i.e. other than Google Play or Amazon. From then on, all you need is a good connection.
Why this iOS version is revolutionary
Until recently, the iOS users had to have a jailbroken device to install the app. Now, they can install it on their non-jailbroken iPhones and iPads, too, thanks to the anonymous developers efforts. The app gets installed with the help of a custom installer, which you will need to install on your Windows desktop. Mac devices will get a supported installer later this month. Connect your iOS device to your desktop computer with a USB cable, follow a few easy steps and you are done.
The mobile app allows you to stream movies on your tablet and phone, Apple TV and Chromecast. Notably, the service also comes in a desktop version for Win, Mac and Linux. The mobile versions are still in Beta, so expect to tolerate some glitches.
If many average users who chose not to jailbreak their expensive devices could not enjoy the app, now the developers of this Popcorn Time fork expect their user base to skyrocket by hundreds of millions.
In addition, they suggest other developers will soon be able to use their custom installer to install other apps to iOS’ closed ecosystem, which in itself might turn out to be an event more revolutionary than the Popcorn Time app for the non-jailbroken devices.
“The team we worked with on this solution has already launched this website with one clear intention in mind: To fight the closed ecosystem Apple has created, screening and choosing for us what we can or cannot install on the devices we purchased and paid top dollar for,” the Popcorn Time team told the TorrentFreak. “The installer guys have no doubt that this will be a long journey, playing ‘cat and mouse’ with Apple that probably won’t like them breaking their closed eco-system. But seeing their work now and future updates for the installer they’re already working on, we’re sure they’re ready for any obstacle Apple will throw their way.”
Despite a few glitches on mobile, the service works as promised and offers an outstanding cross-platform support, ease of use and an unprecedented access to top-notch content. Besides the possibility to live-stream the movies and shows, the service also lets you choose the subtitles and customize the font size, or add the movies to your favorites, rate them and mingle with the app’s straightforward settings. If you should, use it at your own discretion.