If you are one of those unfortunate souls that do not have cable and get your TV by questionably nefarious Internet means, you might’ve been greeted with a rude awakening when you tried to download last night’s episode of The Simpsons (which had a stellar Game of Thrones parody for the opening): Your favorite TV release group switched away from the Xvid-AVI format in favor of MP4-x264.
What does this mean for you, the torrenter? Well, MP4-x264 generally ends up a smaller file size than the trusty Xvid, so that means a quicker download and space saved in your “shows I downloaded that I need to watch” folder. For those unaware, piracy groups get together sometimes and decide on scene standards. Recently, this kind of standard was set and explained in the document “The SD x264 TV Releasing Standards 2012.” The governing body of these rules, as one might imagine, are the groups which release the torrents, so failure to follow said rules results in a nuking (basically, looked down upon by peer torrent groups) of a release.
So, who cares if release groups are trying to bring people smaller sized files with equal to or better quality? The main issue seems to be people involved in the scene don’t have a player that can deal with x264 and MP4. Yes, they can most likely use their computer, but it’s hard to argue with someone who’d rather relax in bed and watch something on their giant television, than have to sit in a chair and watch it on their small laptop screen. This is probably a limited group, but they exist and are being affected by the switch nonetheless, claiming that most DVD players don’t play MP4 format — something that I experienced frustration with once upon a time while trying to convert video for a phone before the smart phone era.
If one meanders around some of the TV release torrent sites and checks out some comments, one will quickly see that either many people who use said torrents site do not quite understand the switch, how to deal with it, or even that the torrent sites aren’t responsible and it’s the TV release groups’ decision to switch to x264. But that’s the Internet for you.
Amusingly, with certain releases, it seems users are downloading the MP4 release and re-uploading it as an AVI. Is the outrage one can quickly see in various comments sections justified? After all, torrents of television episodes aren’t exactly legal, and the people releasing them into the wild are not only taking a risk, but providing a free, relatively easy service to use. So, if you’re a person who regularly visits the television torrent scene and haven’t realized what’s been going on, be prepared for some comment outrage and different file types next time you miss that episode of The Walking Dead and need to catch up.
- You can download a 90 megabyte copy of The Pirate Bay
- BitTorrent is testing peer-to-peer video streaming
- The Pirate Bay stopped serving torrents in favor of magnet links