The Most Basic Guide Available To Downloading Television Shows With Bit Torrent

A little while ago Jennifer de-lurked to ask about downloading television shows so she wouldn’t be at the mercy of our networks.

What follows is a completely non-exhaustive, unofficial, as basic as you can get guide to getting what you want on your telly, when you want it.

What You need

First off you need a broadband connection.

You can do this on dial up but when you are dealing with files about 350MB you won’t be answering the phone for a very long time. If you don’t have a broadband connection yet go to Netspace and tell them ‘caffeine’ sent you.

A Bit Torrent client.

BitTorrent is what makes this whole thing possible. I’m not going to explain how in detail, you can get that from the BitTorrent Introduction page. Put simply you get bits of the file from different people and in turn you share the bits you already have with other people. You can see that the more people accessing file, the more choice of downloaders you have and the faster it should go for everyone.

Bit Torrent is free. Don’t pay for it. You can use the original BitTorrent client from but this tends to confuse people ’cause nothing appears to be installed after you install it. There are other clients around – Bit Comet for Windows and even Mac users (Hi Rob and Rob) can get in on the action with the Java based Azureus.

Torrent files for each episode.

The shows are downloaded via torrent files. These tell your client where to start looking and how to share your download. These torrent files are listed on web sites and here Google is, as always, your best friend. Googling ‘torrent desperate housewives‘ should return you a list of pages with torrent files for Desperate Housewives.

What I Use

So what do I use? I use Bit Comet as my torrent client and do most of my searching on to search for shows or go straight to or and search from there.

How I Do It

This is the simple part. Once you’ve installed your client and found the show you’re looking for you click on the torrent file link. Your client should start up and then, after a few seconds, start downloading and sharing at the same time. It’s that simple.

Things I’ve Found

The show names. I always go for those marked HDTV_LOL – these are great qualities .avi files, wide-screen and around 350MB per episode (42 minutes of show time). I still have no idea what the LOL bit means but they always work for me. One I downloaded had some obscure sound format that needed a codec, which all became too difficult so I downloaded a different file. I think most are encoded with mp3 so Windows Media Player plays them no problems.

Those marked HDHR are High Resolution files and look stunning – but are twice the size and hence take twice as long to download.

Some are encoded with surround sound too, just look at the file name and it should be obvious which ones these are.

Variations in download time
This is the killer. Some files have taken 14 hours to download, and just last night one took only 4 hours. The time taken depends upon many factors from how many peers (those holding the file to download) to net traffic, to which way the wind is blowing. I’ve found it really helps to download new episodes the day after they are aired, when demand is greatest. Older episodes – even those a month or so old – can take significantly longer to retrieve.

As for old old shows, such as the first season of Carnivale that screened in 2003 in America yet is only getting it’s first airing here, you can almost forget it.

Most shows ripped (or capped) from television will have the network logo watermarked on it. Ads are always removed and sometimes end credits can be missing too.

Don’t leach. Make sure you keep the torrent available for as long as you can – remember there are others like you probably wanting the same episode and the longer you keep it open, the more people can share and the better (quicker) it is for everyone. BitTorrent depends upon many people sharing the same file.

And that’s pretty much it.

In summary :

  • Get a bit torrent client
  • Find a list of torrent files
  • Download or click on the torrent you want
  • Open this file, or it should open automatically
  • Download, share and enjoy

Oh yeah, you may want to invest in a DVD burner for your PC so you can watch them on your television.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

17 thoughts on “The Most Basic Guide Available To Downloading Television Shows With Bit Torrent

  1. Cameron

    nice work Tone. BTW, don’t know if I told you, but I took your advice and moved over to Netspace DSL and THEY KICK ASS. Thanks for the tip. Fast as. For TOrrent clients, I also use eDonkey2000. They have a nice Torrent interface, pretty easy to use.

  2. John

    I downloaded hdtv_lol files but am unable to watch them….shoot…though I can watch dvix files, but most I find on the net are hdtv_lol or avi. Who can help? Would be great, thanks!

  3. Malcolm

    Could be Xvid enocoded. Download Gspot from

    – Establishes what video codecs (audio and video) are required to play an AVI file.
    – Determines whether these codecs are installed on your system.

  4. John

    Thank you Malcolm, very kind of you. I downloaded it but unfortunately it wouldn’t open. I can only watch dvix programs. Those open and are in great qulity, however so little of interest is in dvix.

  5. John

    I can’t play files that are: HDTV.XviD-TCM. When downloading they are put in a folder and then I can’t play them; the file is divided into several RAR files and the icon for the mpeg is blurred. What to do? Can someone help? Thanks a million! John

    PS Other -tcm- files that download as mpeg file (so not in a folder) I can play!

  6. John

    Thanks Daniel, but it’s not the Divx that is the problem. It’s the -tcm- extension that is giving me loads of trouble. I don’t understand why a divx or for that matter a xvid file downloads as an mpeg file and this HDTV.XviD-TCM downloads in a folder with many sub files and a ‘blurred’ image of the mpeg sign being one of them.
    PLease help me some more. Donloading from didn’t work. Cheers John

  7. kate

    I’m having the same problem as john- it’s like i need to make it a .avi or something— what do we do with all these little files?????????

  8. kate

    Found the answer myself- need to download winrar — use that to extract the file called *******.rar it’ll make an avi

  9. oriphin

    LOL and tcm are not extentions or genres (Daniel) they are the sence group that released the file so that all of you little leaches that use edonkey2000 and the like can watch tv shows etc at you pleasure… its the same as how deviance and reloaded both make game releases please get you factss straght before confuseing people (pointed dirctly at daniel)

    Btw the make of this knows shit all as well… sorry but its true

  10. John

    Hi, who can help me? I am unable to download any bittorrents files today. Keep getting -problem connecting to tracker-time out error–. Even when uploading an old file that I downloaded 2 days ago!
    Does this sound familiar to anyone? How to solve this annoying problem?
    Thanks in advance – John

  11. Jane

    1) I tried Gspot because I thought I had codec problems. But it said all the codecs were there, so I downloaded VCL (a media player) and it works! (Media Player and Real Player didn’t work at all – I had only sound, no visuals).
    2) And for people confused about why they cannot click from utorrent screen and play, you have to look for your file in your “Downloads” folder (usually avi file) and play it from there.

Comments are closed.