I do not own a TV. I have a laptop, and it does everything. Maybe in the future, I'll have a phone that takes place of the laptop, connecting to a KVM (keyboard, monitor (video), and mouse). The point is to simplify your life, you don't need multiple devices, each with its own operating system. As part of this practice of simplification, I use torrents.
Use of torrents applies in countries where your internet service has unlimited plans. If you are only given a metered amount of GB per month, then torrenting can get costly. I torrent by purchasing 60GB that expire in 10 days, for USD $6.
I search for the term torrents on google, and this is the top search result:
Glancing through the article, it is accurate.
First, I want to give some background on my usage. You can skip this paragraph if you want. I have an old laptop and still use Windows XP as my main system. I use a web browser that is still being updated for XP. Eventually I'll start using Linux instead. Sure, I'll be in the minority and won't have access to whatever isn't available on Linux, but my needs are simple. I can't stomach Windows 8 or 10. I used to be into customizing/modifying Windows 98, XP and finally 7. Each iteration got more complex, adding an incredible amount of shit. So while it may all work fine in the background, and you will never know it if you don't look under the hood, I care about these things. I want a simple operating system.
I like the simplicity of torrents. It's one system for everything, because everything is available. You don't need Netflix, HBO, NBC, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Disney+, Hulu, etc. Sometimes there has been few seeders for some obscure shows, but I've managed to get everything I've wanted to watch. I didn't need to install anything besides my torrent application. Update: I could not find Shtisel, but then, it only has 2458 votes on IMDB, so it's as far from popular as can be imagined.
I use qBittorrent. Free, open source, cross platform. Other torrent applications may have commercial interests, so I recommend doing homework by reading about the motivation of any organization producing a torrent application. I've been using qBittorrent forever. Before that I used Halite. I've also used Popcorn Time in the past.
I used to live in an apartment with 8 roommates, and we got 15 notices of downloading/sharing pirated material, including the title of that which was being shared. That's when I learned, that whenever I used Popcorn Time, I would get a notice. Whenever I used qBittorrent or Halite, I wouldn't get a notice (but my roommates would continue to do so, for whatever they were sharing).
Download and install qBittorrent.
Allow it to handle any torrent related file types, including magnet links, on your system.
In order to find torrents, open your web browser, such as Firefox / Pale Moon / Chrome, and browse to one of the recommended torrent sites:
I have been using https://1337x.to and https://thepiratebay.org. Sometimes, these sites may be down. Don't panic! You can read about torrent news, and the latest websites here: https://torrentfreak.com. Torrent Freak has been around a long long time and I have found it to give unbiased news about torrents. Thepiratebay.org has been down sometimes, and I googled for “pirate bay” “mirrors”, and found http://lepiratebay.org.
To make browsing through torrent sites more pleasant, install ad blocking such as the Ublock Origin.
Unlike streaming video, you will be downloading the entire video before viewing it. The upside is that you will never suffer an interruption halfway through your show/movie, because of limited bandwidth. You can also view offline. Downloading can take 5 minutes to an hour for a movie, or one hour to a few for an entire season of a tv series. You will get used to stockpiling in advance, whatever you want to watch.
Granted, qBittorrent isn't just for videos, it's for any file type, including software or books or media that is illegal in a country with a dictator. Torrents means freedom. Is pirating bad? Just depends on what kind of society you wish for.
The default connection settings for qBittorrent, or any other torrent application, will overwhelm a WIFI connection, and quite possibly your WIFI router. Even if you connect to the router with an ethernet cable, the connection settings are still a bit extreme. You may notice browsing the web is slow with the torrent application running in the background.
In order to reduce the load from the torrent application, reduce the number of simultaneous connections it is allowed to make. In qBittorrent, go to Tools → Options → Connection → Connection Limits and change to the following:
Global maximum number of connections: 6
Maximum number of connections per torrent: 3
Gobal maximum number of upload slots: 2
Maximum number of upload slots per torrent: 1
This is quite low, but it works. If you want, you can increase this to some fraction of the original settings.
Back out of qBittorrent settings and into the main window. If you right-click on a column heading, you can select which columns are visible. I like to sort by the “Added-on” date. I also like the “Ratio” column, which tells me how much I have shared my download with others. I try to share more than I take, to keep the torrent network healthy/prosperous (share ratio greater than 1). I keep a list of about 20-30 downloads available, and delete the old stuff I've already used/watched. My thought is to keep my system nimble so I don't want to have more than that. Your mileage may vary.
In order to watch a video, right click on it, and select “Preview file…”. qBittorrent will then send a “file open” requst to your operating system. If you have a video player installed on your operating system, the operating system will pass the request to the default video player for the selected file type, or ask you which application to open the file with.
The most popular free and open source video player is VLC. It's a must-have.
My current system is old, circa 2006, and I am limited to downloading videos 720P or less. There are other video players that have claims to using less system resources, but I haven't tried them, and I doubt I could play 1080P even with different software.