How To Download All Of Your Favorite Shows Effortlessly And Watch Them Anywhere
Last year I decided to cancel cable. The reason was that I don’t watch that much TV, but the few shows I do enjoy I found myself downloading, even though I had a DVR, because it’s easier.
I’ve since told a lot of my more technologically-savvy friends about it, and I’m shocked to find that even those who use both Bittorrent and RSS on a daily basis don’t know that you can combine the two, or how wondrous the result is. So I thought I’d write a brief tutorial on how to use Bittorrent RSS, the easy way, to snag all of your favorite shows. (Only get the ones that are legal for you to download of course.)
I’m going to assume you’re using a Bittorrent client that has RSS functionality. My favorite by far is uTorrent (and I’ve tried them all) for Windows. To my knowledge the uTorrent Mac client doesn’t support RSS, and Transmission is a steaming pile, so if you’re an OSX user you might be SOL. Good luck with your Apple TV I guess.
Anyway, step 1 is to find an RSS feed for your show. I recommend tvrss.net. They’ve got the most reliable feeds. You can also use Mininova, but you have to add “&direct” to the end of your feed, and you’re probably going to get frustrated since it’s unmoderated and half the time you’ll discover you got nothing but some .exe file that’s almost certainly a virus.
Once you’ve found your show, choose a distribution group (I like EZTV, but your mileage may vary according to the show) and then right click where it says “Search-based RSS Feed” and copy location. Your clipboard now contains the url. Here’s what it would look like if you wanted to find the show Scrubs:
Now Step 2. Open up uTorrent, and click the RSS icon in the toolbar. You’ll see the UI guys were such geniuses that they automatically pasted your clipboard into the Feed URL box:
I like to give mine a custom alias just so they’re easy to manage in the uTorrent sidebar. Set it to automatically download (because really, what’s the point otherwise?) and click “Use smart episode filter”. Often the show will appear multiple times, but you really only need to download it once.
Click OK and you’re set to go. Every time there’s a new episode of Scrubs, you’ll automatically download it, in HDTV and commercial free.
The bonus to this is that if you set your default directory to one that’s shared publicly on your network you can watch it in any room of your house that has a television or an Xbox 360. For the latter, simply open up the My Videos folder, select the computer it’s on, and play. The shows will all come in in DivX or XviD, so you can’t play them through Media Center.
For bonus points when you travel, use a syncing program like Dropbox or Zumodrive. I actually prefer Zumodrive for this particular application because my laptop has a relatively small (and nearly full) hard drive. Dropbox will automatically put every video file I download into it and fill up my disc, whereas with Zumo it will remain in the cloud until I want to watch it. If storage space isn’t a factor, both work about the same.
To do that, simply go into uTorrent preferences, click “Directories”, and put a check next to “Move completed downloads to:” Aim your downloads at your Zumodrive:
Now you can just watch them on your laptop from the hotel. On my last trip to Las Vegas I was even able to download them from a tethered EVDO connection, where Bittorrenting would have been impossible.
That’s pretty much my media setup. I’ve got my main desktop downloading shows in my home office upstairs. I watch them either there (from my couch) or in my first-floor living room through the Xbox. I’ve got a dirt cheap PC in my exercise room attached to an LCD TV. And when I travel, I’ve got Zumodrive.