Welcome to Popcorn Time
Popcorn Time has had a short but very contentious history. It is a combination of Netflix and a torrent client. You can search for movies and TV shows in an elegant interface and then when you decide to play it loads a torrent and starts playing. As such, there’s plenty of legal issues to consider. Popcorn Time is primarily a curator of these torrents, not a host, so there’s a gray area as to whether they can be held liable for making it easier to pirate movies. (We aren’t encouraging you to do it either. It’s at your own risk.)
If you are feeling adventurous, you can sideload the Popcorn Time apk for Android TV right now. They just officially launched the first version, although past versions have already existed in development. The app is pretty straightforward. You’re presented with top movies and TV shows, or you can browse. The app seems to work pretty well, with an occasional bug, and it follows the Leanback UI very well.
As this app is from a third-party website, and not Google Play, you might initially be concerned about having to manually install updates. However, the app is supposed to update automatically using its own service, just as it does on the phone.
While this is news for many, questions about the future of Popcorn Time remain. It still operates in a legal gray area. Plus, recently some developers on the team have quit, citing moral and legal reasons. This may force some platforms to lose support.
sv244, one of the “parents” of the Android TV app, is among those who are now leaving the team. Android TV’s app already looks like it may not be supported down the line.
So: I’m leaving the Popcorn Time team. Which will leave the Android (TV) application as a parentless child.
The last weeks I’ve been realising myself more and more how much time and effort I’m putting into this application. First I thought that it would be enough to take a small step back. But I noticed that I was not able to do that. I worked hard to release the Android TV version while I should’ve been doing homework.
Popcorn Time’s open source nature means that it’ll never fully go away, but without somebody supporting a platform, it will become abandoned and ultimately unused.