Popcorn Time can be called the free alternative to Netflix, just with an adorable mascot. The premise is simple: you get a huge catalog of movies, click on them, and watch them for free. Popcorn Time successfully combines torrenting with an instant media player, where you can find even the latest blockbusters. As you might have already guessed, PT is just as popular as it is controversial. So if you decide to use it, you better arm yourself with some privacy protection products. VPNs or smart DNS services are great choices, as they encrypt your data streaming, so no one will recognize you.
What is Popcorn Time?
Popcorn Time, aka “The Free Netflix” is free software, merging together BitTorrent and Window Media Player. It offers the same benefits as other subscription-based streaming services, only in a freemium manner. Well, not exactly the same level of quality, to be honest. On the outside, it bears close resemblance to Netflix. You see an upfront catalog of popular movies and TV series, but you can search for them as well. Upon choosing one, Popcorn Time will browse through the available list of torrents related to that movie, and then opens the one that offers the highest quality. Naturally, you can change the options to your heart’s content. With this said, Popcorn Time can only showcase media that already appeared on torrents sites. So you only need to wait patiently, and Popcorn Time will have the same quality movies as Netflix. Popcorn Time deserves extra praise for the striking visuals design of its software. Going through the list is easy, the thumbnails pop up in a smooth manner, and the streaming experience is professional.
Is Popcorn Time Safe to Use?
To answer the question: yes, it could be safe, but you need to take some steps to ensure that. The legality is a different question, however… Be aware of the fact that Popcorn Time utilizes a modified BitTorrent engine, so using it qualifies as torrenting, which is illegal. A lot of people rely on Popcorn Time as it’s free and easy to use, unaware of the fact that they need to cover their tracks to avoid the punishing hand of law enforcement. You are only protected if you ensure your data streaming is encrypted. Otherwise you expose yourself, and a quick traffic analysis would reveal your act. Popcorn Time itself is under constant attack from the Motion Picture Association of America, which lead to the end of the original site, and its forks are pressured to move to another domain from time to time.
Using Popcorn Time with a VPN
Interestingly, Popcorn Time itself is aware of the dangers of “bare streaming”, and they warn you about the necessity of privacy protection. They also recommend you their partner’s VPN solution, for a reasonable price, of course. Whether you choose the daily, monthly or annual subscription is up to you, but keep in mind that for almost the same amount of money you can get a much superior VPN service. Picking a professional provider means that you are provided a separate client, which displays your privacy options, and allows you to set the encryption level or switch between different server locations. They are also transparent about their setout of locations and bandwidth speed. The more servers to choose from, the merrier, since the traffic is better divided.
The above-mentioned home-developed VPN client serves another purpose: it makes the setup easier. You just need to run the program, and then log in. VPNs made sure that all options in the menu are self-explanatory, and you don’t need to bother with the technical details. The same could be said about smartphones. Not every VPN service provider creates their own app, still you can get things running by downloading an open-source application. Las, but not least: in case you want to enjoy your free movie session in front of your smart TV, be sure to match up Popcorn Time with a VPN that indicates its compatibility with smart home devices via Tomato or other means.
Using Popcorn Time with Smart DNS
For those who are alienated by VPN, there is still an option to use Popcorn Time without compromising their security. They just need smart DNS service. The biggest advantage of smart DNS is that it provides you access to all kinds of locked content, regardless the cause of blocking, without compromising on speed. This technology was meant to support streaming platforms, as it doesn’t encrypt your data, and thus doesn’t reduce your connection speed. It still depends on redirecting you to a proxy server, but not all your traffic is rerouted, only parts of it. This is achieved by providing a modified DNS of your device for streaming services asking for an authentication. In short, smart DNS unlocks the desired content, but doesn’t hide your tracks via encryption. To make sure you won’t get caught for using Popcorn Time, we recommend seeking out a service that combines the two. VPN companies like Golden Frog or OverPlay offer you both technologies, seamlessly implemented for maximum convenience.
Popcorn Time VPNs
Having a professional VPN as your shield bearer is a great thing, but there are many inferior offers on the VPN market. To save your time from searching dozens of providers, we have chosen three great services that are tested to function well with Popcorn Time.
As a VPN service based in Canada, VPN.ht focuses on unlocking content for you. It’s designed to enhance the streaming experience, especially Popcorn Time. Although they lack their own client, rendering you to use an open source program, they make up for it with their features that complement Popcorn Time very well. There is a built-in smart DNS function, and the 128-bit encryption is ideal to allow fast streaming with an extra layer of protection.
A well praised and popular VPN provider, we heartfully recommend PureVPN. Being currently operated from Hong Kong, PureVPN provides swift access to servers located in 141 countries. You can choose from PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and SSTP protocols, with a possible encryption level up to 256-bit. The greatest selling point for them is still the astonishingly wide list of supported devices, including desktops, smartphones, game consoles and even smart TVs.
VyprVPN got on this list because of their dependable service and satisfying list of extra features. They are among the fastest contestants in the industry, without reducing their level of safety. Their server network covers almost every major continent, with the exception of Africa. As for the promised extra features, you are able to scramble your metadata with the unique Chameleon protocol, or use VyprDNS to defeat regional restrictions and avoid being redirected to malware.