Mostly harmless (corto) wrote,
Mostly harmless

Bit Torrent.

How to download TV shows with Bit Torrent

So you missed a tv show....

and you keep hearing people talk about downloading the show from the net...

and you think to yourself...

"how do they do this?"

this is not my beautiful wife... how did I get here?

Well here's the answer!
Under the cut is my explanation of how I am grabbing episodes of TV shows off the net . Please know right from the get go... this is what is working for me... but not necessarily the best way. I am a late comer to this particular method and I'm sure I have a lot to learn about it. I'm assuming you have no idea about this stuff ... so it's a bit long. :D

This is not downloading a zillion files from usenet and installing all kinds of weird software that assembles the bits into single big ass files.... this is ... basically, point, click, wait, watch. And yeah, it's that fricking simple.

I have a high degree of confidence that this method is not posing any significant risks to the health of my pc.

Geek Moment:
Bit Torrent is a gorgeous piece of geek that makes it possible to get the file you want from many sources at once, each one providing only a small part and the whole, and having the "whole" assembled seamlessly while you make coffee.

Part One:
a) make sure you have several gigs of free hard disk space on your pc

b) make sure you have java (jvm) installed... If you have no idea, I recommend going to Sun and installing it from [ :: this link :: ] (free!)

c) go to and download the current stable version (therefore, not a "beta" version) of bittorrent (free!) This is the brains of the process and you have to have it... so go get it.

[ :: Here!! :: ]

d) now go to Azureus and download their current version (free). This is a front end to Bit Torrent that runs on Java and makes you smile. Go get it.

[ :: Here!! :: ]

Ok... so far so good. You now have "bit torrent" ready to go.
What you need now is a "torrent file". This is a wee little dinky file you download from one of many websites that host them. Each episode, of each show you want to grab has it's own "torrent file". This thing is a "road map" that Bit Torrent uses in the background to find all the bits that make up the big movie file.

So lets say you wanted to get episode 12 of west wing season 6 (last weeks show). They typically refer to this as "westwing-06-12" or something close. Sometimes they have the episode name in the file name.

e) Go to and check them out for the TV show you missed. Just put the show name in the search window.

[ :: Here!! :: ]

f) This is a search result from another torrent site...
Notice the name of the file for West Wing...

[ :: Here!! :: ]

When you click on the file you want ... one of two things will happen;
1) you will get prompted to save or open the file...
2) Azureus will launch and use the file
If you "open" the file... Azureus should start, but if it doesn’t, then "save" the file and you can open it from your hard drive with Azureus.
This file is tiny! The reference to 291 megs for that West Wing example is the size of the file that Azureus will ultimately download.

g) So you launch Azureus and use the "file – open" menu item to open the downloaded torrent file... (or Azureus opened the file directly from the web site). You are immediately prompted for a "save file" path... Just take the default and take note of where it is!!!

Note the little red blotch to the left edge of the line on the screen... that is Azureus running, and loaded with a West Wing torrent file. The Red Thing means I’m not connected...
Use the "Tools" menu to run the "setup wizard" to get things going.
You will need to be able to use "port 6881" by default or you can change it. If you have not idea about this... um... ask me questions. If you’re behind a firewall you need to make a setting active there... or if you use a home router (i.e. Linksys) you can open the port there... but the chances are, the port is open now...

Azureus reports how things are going (you need to get that little "face thingy" that is red in the image above to be at least yellow. That means you’re connected... and can download.

Now you go for coffee.

Depending on how fast your connection is and the connections of bit torrent to the source files... the whole show will be a single file for you to double click and play.

Note: The download may have been a zip file that you need to open to see the "movie file" (typically an "avi" file). If you can’t open "zip" files, go to and download the evaluation version. (free!).

Note2: If the movie file will not play... make sure you have something like windows media player installed. Then go to and pick their download page. Select to download and install their FREE product. Not the pay or the "ad-ware" version. When you install it... you get to click check boxes to select "the player" and / or "the codec". You only need the codec.

Enjoy the show. :)

(next time... vcd, svcd and dvd... burning this for your tv)
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