I know A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE NO CLUE about bit torrent.
So I wrote a big long "idiot proof" post about it ... forever ago.
But versions and web sites have changed...
... So it's time for a refresher.
:::::: So you missed your favorite TV show? :::::::::::
Concept: You install a "server" program called "bit torrent" that you never interact with directly. Then you install a front-end java program called Azureus - there's other options but I don't know about them. Then you go to a web site that lists "torrent files"*, find the one you want and click it. When your computer asks you "do you want to download it or open it?" you opt to "open" it and Azurus will auto-start. If the "torrent file" has lots of seeds (usually reported on the site where the torrent is located) the file you are searching for will start to quickly download. If the seeding is poor... it will download more slowly. A new TV show (i.e. Dancing with the stars - Season 06 Episode 17 aka S06E17) will have LOTS of seeds and download quickly.
Step one: Go here... http://www.bittorrent.com/ and click the "get bit torrent" link. (install it)
Step two: Go here... http://azureus.sourceforge.net/ and click the big "download" button. (install it)
Step three: Go here... (the HOTTEST TORRENT SITE on the Net right now... but it will disappear one day soon) http://eztv.it/frontpage.php and look across the top dark blue menu line... Click on "Show List". Close your mouth, because you're drooling over the massive show list. Find "Dancing with the stars" and click it. You land on a page with all these "items", each referenced with the show name (i.e. Dancingwiththestars) and the season and episode number. The newest one is on the top. Season 6 Episode 18 is there. (That's Tuesday night's show.) Click it... let Azureus run, and watch it download or go for coffee.
Step four: Look in your "my documents/azureus downloads" directory and there's your file. Double click it to run!! If it won't play on your pc... Then you may need to go to www.divx.com and click to download their FREE version... and select the "custom install" and then select to only install the CODEC... skip the player and converter.... At this point... you've got your show and you can watch it on your PC.
Step five: Alternatively, you could buy a $50 DVD player with a USB port on the front, the cCopy the media file to a thumb drive and stick it in... Presto.
Note 1: I'm assuming you have the Java "JRE" installed on your pc.
Note 2: The most recent version of Azureus (called Vuze) "launches" and you have this cool / weird many-window-paned screen interface to all these videos... kinda like a weird Youtube page. Ignore all of it. Immediately click the "View" menu item, scroll to "Advanced" and select "My Torrents". The screen will change to this mostly white... nothing happening interface.
Note 3: The moment a file starts to download, the target directory gets a file that appears to be the full file. It's not. It's an empty shell and Bit Torrent is filling it up. You will need to see the interface for Azureus change from "downloading" to "downloaded"
Note 4: Azureus is one of those programs that you can click the little "x" in the upper right corner and it'll still be running the background and displaying it's little froggy icon in your system tray. You have to pick "File, EXIT" to really exit the program.
* Torrent file: tiny little 10k files that are basically pointers to where the various bits and pieces are on the web that will be brought together to form the media file you are trying to download.)