If you’re looking to download Popcorn Time you must first decide what fork you want to try out as there isn’t just one but several versions to choose from. The original Popcorn Time, which has since been terminated, was an open source project which means the program code was shared openly. That means others could grab it, modify it (or not) and distribute it as their own fork (think of forks in a road).
It also means that even if the project for some reason is shut down it can be picked up again without starting from scratch. Over time several developers have done just that either because they thought they could improve the software by going in a different direction, to revive Popcorn Time after a shutdown or simply to distribute it as an app of their own in an attempt to make some money.
No official version of Popcorn Time
Since the original Popcorn Time fork has been shut down there is no official version of Popcorn Time. This has lead to a somewhat confusing situation with several very similar options to choose from. Most of these bear very close resemblance to the original and are based on the same simple concept: Streamlining free torrent downloading of movies and TV-shows.
The popcorntime.io fork was for a long time just another clone but was by endorsement from the developers of the original (getpopcornti.me) crowned as the rightful heir to the throne. For a while it was thus known as the official Popcorn Time service until being shut down. There is thus no true official version but popcorntime.sh is probably as close as it comes.
Active Popcorn Time forks
- Popcorntime.sh – Successor to popcorntime.io which was endorsed by the original. Pseudo-official fork.
- Popcorn Time CE – Popcorn Time Community Edition(s). Based on popcorntime.io.
- Time4popcorn – Old fork emerging after shutdown of getpopcornti.me
- Popcorn Time Online (w/ Torrents Time) – Browser based fork
- Butter Project – Popcorntime.io spin-off in development
- Popcorn Time Alternatives – Similar projects that look and work much like Popcorn Time
A brief history lesson
Popcorn Time started out in the spring of 2014 as an open source project hosted on getpopcornti.me (now closed). Shortly after the launch, the project shut itself down but was quickly picked up again by a couple of independent developers instantly realizing the huge potential.
The voluntary shutdown prompted the creation of the two major forks popcorntime.io and time4popcorn and several other projects that never reached the same level of public appeal. Both became wildly popular and fought for the throne as the official app during the boom of 2014-2015 where Popcorn Time became publicly known across the world.
The popcorntime.io fork was shut down by the MPAA in October 2015 sprouting the creation of the Popcorn Time Community Editions (CE) consisting of two separate forks based on the popcorntime.io code. It also gave rise to the birth of the Butter Project; a similar but supposedly legal service. The .io fork later resurfaced at popcorntime.sh during the spring of 2016.
The time4popcorn fork has never been shut down but has had its domains closed down by authorities a couple of times. They started out at time4popcorn.eu and briefly moved to time4popcorn.com only to end up at popcorn-time.se shortly after where they stayed for a long time. The have since moved the website to popcorn-time.to where they can be found today.
Popcorntime.io is dead but members of the old team have resurrected it with popcorntime.sh. It’s not in active development but has been reworked to be based on the Butter project platform meaning it will benefit from improvements made there.
There’s currently no official fork but this one comes close.
Popcorn Time Community Edition
Popcorn Time Community Edition or CE was created in the vacuum following the shutdown of popcorntime.io. It began as a series of fixes meant to revive the popcorntime.io fork and was initially devised for users that already had the software installed. It has since developed in to a version in its own right with binaries (installation files) and also has its own website(s).
Time4popcorn, Popcorn Time Online and Torrents Time
Time4popcorn has been one of the major forks since the original website was closed down and has developed in to a feature rich service that still keeps evolving. It has been closed down a few times but remains resilient and just keeps popping back up.
Popcorn Time Online
Popcorn Time Online is a browser based version developed by the time4popcorn team. I streams torrents through any webbrowser compatible with the Torrents Time extension/plugin that has to be installed for Popcorn Time Online to work.
The project has been developed in an effort to create a fully functional but decentralized version more resilient to MPAA takedowns etc. Although it does require downloading the Torrents Time plugin it also appeals to the many users that prefer streaming directly from a website rather than having to use specialized software.
Torrents Time is a browser plugin/extension that turns your browser in to a fully functional BitTorrent client capable of instantly streaming video from participating websites.
It is the back bone of Popcorn Time Online but its functionality has also been added to several other torrent sites providing them with instant video streaming capacity.
The Butter Project was born in the turmoil that in the end broke up the popcorntime.io team and was founded by some of the same people that made it truly big. So far it’s hard to say what the Butter Project will really be since it’s not up and running yet but it will probably be very much like Popcorn Time only with a few tweaks.
Popcorn Time alternatives
A few other services that go by their own names but basically provide the same functions; free access to movies and TV shows.