We are living through what some are calling television’s golden age. In the arenas of both film and TV, never before has there been so much variety of quality entertainment. Every single day there are new shows coming out, new writers and directors earning their careers, and fresh perspectives on age-old stories. Sometimes, in fact, it can be hard to keep up with all the awesome new content that is being released.
This is partly due to the rise of streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Each of these big three streaming services has put out its own award-winning original content. In addition to that, each streaming service also curates syndicated content, so that we can enjoy classic movies and series to our heart’s content. There has truly never been a better time to be a TV and film buff.
However, as I’m sure that many of you already know – perhaps you’ve even found out the hard way – keeping up with all of these increasingly individualized streaming services can become pretty costly. Each service, of course, has its own built-in monthly subscription fees. If you want to be able to access each of the big three, for instance, you will be looking at something around at least $30 per month. Plus, add to that the fact that each individual network and media company has begun putting out its own streaming services, too, and the bill just keeps growing larger.
Disney Plus, for example, has recently launched its own streaming platform (thus, taking most of its original content with them … and it is only a matter of time before they regain the rights to all Disney content, which now includes Fox content, too). NBC recently announced that they will be launching a streaming service. And HBO Max is due out any day. In short, what we will be looking at in the years to come is something similar to cable TV, where every channel had its own syndicated and original content, but a lot more expensive, as each service comes with its own separate monthly fees.
This is why torrenting has been (and will continue to be, perhaps at an increasing rate) one of the most valuable bastions of free content available on the internet. Peer to peer file sharing is far from a new innovation. It dates all the way back to the days of Napster and Bear Share.
However, it is arguably a more valuable asset today than it has ever been before for the ways in which it equalizes content – it takes shows and movies that would otherwise require navigating a labyrinth of different streaming platforms in order to find – and makes them available 100% free of cost, all in one convenient location. Now, of course, torrenting is not without its fair share of controversy. Many governments around the world have been trying to shut the practice down for years. But, hey, a pirate never lingers too long on legality, right?
If you have decided that it’s the music, movie, and TV pirate’s life for you, you are going to need a bit of tech-savvy. Not too much (you won’t need to know how to code or anything like that), but a little more than the average PC user might possess. It isn’t very hard to learn, and there are plenty of resources online to run you through a fairly simple process. But step one is going to be acquiring your tools. And the first tool you will need is a reliable torrent downloading program.
uTorrent is widely regarded as one of the best torrenting programs available. It is completely free to download, and it is essentially a more compact version of the popular program, Bit Torrent. In 2004, programmer Serge Paquet suggested to Bit Torrent’s creator, Ludvig Strigeus that he develop a smaller, more efficient version of the Bit Torrent client.
The result, which took about a year to develop, was uTorrent, which has a relatively microscopic memory footprint compared to the original Bit Torrent client. All this fancy talk basically amounts to this: uTorrent is able to download and upload torrents at the same speed as Bit Torrent, while only requiring a fraction of the CPU power. And the rest, as they say, was history. uTorrent took off swiftly and was met with much critical acclaim and user appreciation.
uTorrent somehow even looks lighter, if you will, more compact than its predecessor, Bit Torrent. The lime green and white theme give it a more expedient feel than the deep purples of Bit Torrent. This is a smart and fitting rebrand if you ask me. In terms of the design of the client itself, however, uTorrent and Bit Torrent are nearly identical. This is also smart because users who became accustomed to Bit Torrent will not have to relearn anything, software-wise when it comes time to make the switch to uTorrent.
You’ll still find the same familiar download page, where you’ll keep track of all of your torrents as they are in progress. This is also where you will manage your uploads, too, should you wish to keep your torrents seeding for other users to take advantage of after your download has ended.
There is also a Labels section of the program, which handily allows you to organize all of your torrents by tag. If you want to separate your files by media type (music, movies, shows, games, programs, etc.), you can easily do so here. Or, if you’re a little more OCD like I am, you can always tag by artist or director to keep your library as easy to browse as possible.
The design of uTorrent is effective and easy to use. The only thing that is missing, at least in the downloadable client version of uTorrent, is a built-in media player. But, then again, that would probably defeat the purpose of minimizing the memory footprint of the program.
So, as far as content is concerned: uTorrent is not a means by which you will find the media you wish to download. You will have to use a 3rd party torrent hosting site, such as The Pirate Bay or 1337x, in order to find your files and download them. Once you do, uTorrent will open automatically, and you can track your downloads from there.
That being said, uTorrent has recently begun offering an in-browser torrenting experience called uTorrent Web. With this, you don’t even have to leave your web browser of choice in order to manage, download, and upload torrents. In fact, uTorrent Web completely cuts out the middleman, offering a means by which to search and download your torrents all from the uTorrent Web page.
Plus, uTorrent’s web-based application has also solved the old executable program’s issue of not having a media player. With uTorrent Web, not only can you play media files in the client, you can even play them as they download, resulting in what is truly in the words of the uTorrent website, “the next-level torrenting experience.” This web-based torrent downloader/media streaming device is probably best reserved for movies, music, and TV show files, though. If you are looking to download elaborate programs and video games, I would recommend using the classic executable uTorrent program itself.
Desktop and Mobile Experience
In addition to the full program and the in-browser web version of uTorrent, there is also an app, which works just like the desktop program. It makes for an extremely streamlined experience, allowing you to link devices through a singular uTorrent account so that you can easily drop torrents from your desktop to your smartphone and vice versa. With this convenient desktop to smartphone feature, you will never again have to be concerned with downloading files numerous times. Get it all done in one go.
Pricing and Plans
Although uTorrent is freeware, it is also a freemium service. uTorrent offer – in addition to this basic, free version of the software – 3 different plans to choose from:
First, there is Ad-Free. This is exactly what it sounds like: enjoy all of the benefits of uTorrent, but without any ads. This also offers premium customer support services and the use of less bandwidth. This package can be yours for the very low price of $4.99 per year.
Next, you have uTorrent Pro, which, on top of everything that the ad-free service provides, offers additional security features to block threats and potentially malicious torrents. This is $19.95 a year.
Finally, you can get uTorrent Pro+VPN, which gives you everything of Pro but adds in CyberGhost VPN for $69.95 per year.
Suggestions that I Have
Honestly, I have no real suggestions – other than that it would be nice if users could easily stream and playback torrents from the desktop program version of uTorrent.
All in all, if you are looking for a torrent downloading client that is just as powerful as the rest while taking up a fraction of the computer space and bandwidth, uTorrent is the way to go. It’s perfect for torrent beginners and experts alike, and the diversity of streamlined ways to use it (for free if you don’t mind ads) makes it a must-have torrenting and streaming program.