Monday, June 23, 2008

Downloading Movies

I've been doing a bit of downloading lately with BitTorrent. Although I've heard about it before (who hasn't), I've never really understood where does one get the p2p data to download since there is really no "centralized" server to query. Well, it seems that finding torrent is a lot more simpler than I thought!

While there are sites that host or index torrent files (eg. mininova, torrentz), nothing is simpler than just using Google! From the search bar, just enter the song/movie/document that you want with the keyword "torrent", and it will give you all the links you need. I can understand why the Hollywood types would be very concerned about BitTorrent. Almost any recent Hollywood movie that you are interested can be found (and downloaded) in any of the torrent index sites.

Almost all the video files are available in Audio-Video Interleave (AVI) format for some strange reason. Since I bought a licensed version of DivX Converter, I still have to do an extra step to convert AVI to DivX before I can play it in my home Philips DVDR Player. Caitlin has been enjoying the SpongeBob series on the player care of BitTorrent. :)

Downloaded AVI files are usually in the 700MB to 1GB range. Converting them to DivX results to about the same size. The quality is pretty good -- as good as DVD on a regular TV. I only notice some pixelation on dark scenes. But on bright daylight scenes, I can't distinguish it from an original DVD output. Its sure a lot clearer than the pirated DVD's that I've bought in the past. None of the typical skippings or bad disc sectors found with those pirated discs.

Sometimes, you can even find entire ISO images of the DVD. I found a 4GB Spiderman 3 ISO image file. So if you burn it onto DVD-R, its as good as the original DVD without any compression. For those with high-end players, I've also seen ISO images of Spiderman in Blu-Ray format (10GB+) or Transformers in the defunct HD-DVD format.

I've been using Imation and HP DVD-R discs. They sell at PC Express for PHP13.00. Out of the 10 Imation discs I've bought and used, 2 had errors during writing/recording. That's about the same failure rate I've experienced with Philips DVD-R discs from CD-R King. But so far, the HP DVD-R's are doing well, although I've only used about 5 pcs.

If C/S keeps replaying Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles, maybe I'll just wait for the series to be available in DVD and download via BitTorrent. :)

1 comment:

orly_andico said...

Most of those AVI's from BitTorrent are already encoded in DivX format. AVI is just the container (kind of like QuickTime) whilst DivX is a actually a variant of the MP4 codec (QuickTime AAC is another variant...)

The cheapie Philips DV-585K at home has no trouble playing those AVI files.. no need to re-encode.