Look. You don’t need us to tell you that life is stressful.
There are missiles making their way to most corners of the world and people dressed up in their fancy suits are arguing over things.
Add to that, there is garbage all around us.
Is there a way for us to indulge in a menial task that simultaneously satisfies our thirst for escapism and sooth the modern perturbed soul?
Of course, we could just tidy everything up.
But who wants to do that?
In fact, NO WAY.
What we want to do is watch some television while relaxing on our couches.
So what’s it going to be then:
Streaming or torrenting?
Of course, the majority of the people who consume content via Torrenting and/or streaming do so via illegal means.
Perhaps, this is the biggest question regarding piracy of our times.
Should we allow streaming and torrenting or not?
Since the demand for free high-quality copyrighted content has gone through the roof, there are now multiple ways in which one can consume movies and TV shows.
In other words, they have become readily accessible.
And the best way to access these movies and TV shows is via streaming platforms.
As mentioned before there are a ton of streaming platforms and we won’t go over the details of which one you should use.
The thing we want to discuss here is that why would anyone in his/her right mind want to go through the arduous task of downloading a torrent file via a torrent site when there are so much streaming websites available?
The question is, of course, interesting.
It is interesting because of several reasons.
One is that, this question gives rise to the issue of consumer piracy and its future.
But it also raises the question about the health of the industry that brings us so much high-quality high-budget premium content.
In fact, the issue of piracy touches the whole content ecosystem.
Let’s Go Back
If you just go back a couple (okay maybe increase that number to five or six) of years ago, you will find that the majority of the population on earth accessed its content via piracy sites.
There was simply no competition.
Internet video pirates had their preferred mode of consuming content dead set in stone.
The only way pirates wanted to have their fix was through piracy sites.
But what kind of piracy sites?
Surely streaming sites are also piracy sites.
Well, as it turns out, before streaming sites became mainstream, BitTorrent ruled the world.
It ruled the world because most of the online pirate consumers used BitTorrent as their go-to protocol to download copyrighted stuff from the internet without prior permission from the creators of that copyrighted content.
Of course, that didn’t sit well with the creators of that high-quality premium and copyrighted content.
All of this does not mean that BitTorrent technology is not popular anymore.
BitTorrent is still going strong and is used by a massive section of the population even today.
Torrent sites around the world get millions of hits from online users on a daily basis.
It is true that torrent consumption has died down a little bit but the market is still pretty huge.
And just what we’re on the same page, the torrent site industry has reduced in size not because of the consumers.
It has died down because of authorities taking action against torrent sites.
Authorities have tempered torrent site operations and have arrested their key players and have shut down major torrent sites one after the other.
But what about the consumers?
They have moved on.
Moved on to better and greener pastures.
By that, we mean streaming platforms.
Streaming Platforms Are Better Than Torrent Sites In Many Ways
Generally speaking, streaming platforms have a lot of advantages over their sister torrent sites.
What are those advantages?
Well, these aren’t really advantages, more like things streaming sites do better than torrent sites because of which customers are attracted to them.
These things are the following,
- Streaming sites have YouTube-ish interfaces.
Complete with auto-play and video recommendations
- Streaming sites have glossy interfaces along with indexes
That’s a rather far cry from each and every torrent site on the face of this earth.
Most of all though, streaming sites allow users to access their content in an easy way.
They offer a wider range of movies and TV shows.
And streaming sites are as fast, if not faster, as their torrent counterparts.
So again, the question arises:
Which online user would want to download stuff from a torrent site when there are streaming platforms available?
Torrent sites are almost universally cumbersome to use.
They don’t have beautiful interfaces.
In fact, they don’t score high on usability either.
So why bother to download from torrent sites?
The answer, to say the least, is not obvious.
At least not immediately.
It is a serious question especially for those consumers who watch content via both mediums.
Experienced users would tell you all sorts of preferences and tastes on why they like streaming platforms better than torrent sites, and vice versa.
Here Is The Real Problem
Before we answer the question of torrent and streaming, we must realize that we have to answer another question.
That question is about content ownership.
We have already mentioned the fact that online users live a different place than before.
They have access to all the latest TV series and movies with the click of a button on sites with names like streammovies123now dot net or [you favorite website] dot com.
The fact of the matter, here, is that users do not own these streams.
They never have and probably never will.
These streams are at the most, transient in their nature.
If you push the stop button while streaming a TV show or a movie then that instance of content playing is gone.
Forever, in fact.
Of course, the user has to download the file before streaming it.
But as soon as the user stops watching it, the content is dumped into the world of infinite cyberspace.
You don’t need to have a maths degree to figure out that the user can just visit any given torrent site and download the same content for the same expenditure in terms of download bandwidth.
Streaming is just like torrenting right?
There are two major differences here.
One, users who download files via torrent sites become distributors of that content and help the torrent site to distribute that piece of content to other downloaders.
Two, the user who downloads any file from a torrent site gets to keep that file for as long as he/she wants to keep it.
Why Would Anyone Want To Download Files On Their Computer?
Believe it or not but local content is important to a lot of pirates.
In other words, pirates like to store files locally so they can access them locally without the need of an internet connection.
The benefit, according to pirates, of downloading a file vs streaming is that you can use the file whenever you want to.
You can also play the file on any device that you like.
It really depends on the user what they want to do with the downloaded file.
Most of all though, users can watch the content file offline.
This frees up their internet connection to potentially do other things.
Of course, the downloaded file takes some space.
In some cases, it takes up a lot of space.
But the advantages are clear as well.
Torrent users don’t have to rely on a streaming site to stay up online in order to watch content.
Users can play the content again and again as much as they like.
In fact, they can do so forever if they wanted to.
Streaming sites come and go all the time.
But if a user has downloaded a file, he/she can enjoy it long after all the streaming sites in the world have shut down and have gone home.
And that is exactly what most pirates do.
They download stuff and get into the game for the long haul.
With Torrenting, The User Has Ownership
This ownership may not be legal.
But to have control over a specific piece of content doesn’t have many downsides at the moment as far as the end-user is concerned.
There is another side to the argument as well.
What about distribution?
Is distribution good or bad?
Let’s be more specific now:
Is distribution (in other words uploading) via BitTorrent technology good or bad?
This question has two answers.
But mainly they come down to perspective.
Streaming site users will say that they don’t have to download anything and don’t have to upload anything either and hence are a lot safer than pirates who engage in torrenting.
Torrent users have their own arguments.
They say that they are helping the community by uploading the files to torrent sites and growing the industry.
Some argue that it gives them a sense of participation.
Which may or may not be true however.
Make no mistake:
Torrent users are part of the torrent ecosystem and actually, help the piracy ecosystem to grow.
They give and they take.
Streamers, on the other hand, are just leechers.
They only take.
And don’t give.
Streaming users of the new generation don’t know much about sharing.
In fact, some argue that they don’t even know what the concept of sharing means.
They only consume.
Streaming users don’t know and don’t want to know where their content comes from.
Heck, they might not even care.
This makes them pirate illiterate.
They are an uneducated bunch of people who don’t know what it means to give back to the community you take from.
This presents us not with just a moral problem but a much practical availability problem.
If all pirates turned into “watchers” then that would significantly reduce the number of people sharing content online.
This is, of course, a negative for the piracy industry and content availability.
But How Does Pirated Content Travel The Online Universe?
And why does it travel the way it does?
This is also an important question.
Let’s start with this:
Pirates have long established the most effective routes to move content.
They move content from “topsites” to other torrent sites that are popular among the public.
And they do so quickly.
Moreover, torrent sites also provide an opportunity and a platform for those P2P releasers to let people know about their offerings and products.
Torrent sites help them distribute their material.
And in this respect as well, torrent sites contribute to the community much more than streaming websites.
For clarity’s sake, the community we’re talking about here is the piracy community.
The whole ecosystem in fact.
Let’s consider another thing:
Where do streaming sites get their content from?
A lot of people who are involved in piracy have contacts, either direct or indirect ones, in the “top sites” scene.
And they provide access to copyrighted material as the source.
But there is a new kind of pirates as well.
These pirates skip the “topsites” part.
And choose the simple route.
What is that route?
That route is grabbing copyrighted content from private and public torrent sites just like the average user would do.
Then they distribute that content on more popular websites.
So who exactly relies on who?
Hollywood Hates Everybody
No prizes for guessing that Hollywood wants both streamers and torrenters gone.
But there are some legitimate streaming platforms available on the internet such as Netflix and Amazon.
And there are no legitimate torrent sites.
But there is the thing.
Because both of these players threaten the Hollywood ticket-selling model.
And then there are those damned Kodi devices.
The likes of the UK and the rest have taken an aggressive approach to deal with Kodi devices.
But that hasn’t stopped them from proliferating.
Piracy has indeed shifted from the den of the geek to point-and-click infinite content stream.
The general public is a part of this as much as anyone else.
So which is best?
Torrenting or streaming?
The answer depends on the end user.
People who work in the piracy industry will wonder something else though:
How can streaming sites survive without torrent sites? Forget about improving the torrenting model.
Where will the end-user end up if everybody continues to migrate towards streaming instead of torrenting?