Bittorrent.com launched their commercial download store today - a move that has has been awaited with lots of scepticism. But let's take a look and see for ourselves.

First of all, the store is purely web-based. There is no client integration yet. This might please some more advanced Bittorrent users - but those aren't really the target audience of the store anyway.

bittorrent download store

The Bittorrent.com website seems to be a little overwhelmed right now, spitting out server errors at random. Video preview streams are also stuttering. So there seems to be interest, but obviously not enough server power to handle it.

The site features 5000 titles for sale or rent. The biggest supplies seem to be Fox, Warner Bros. and Image Entertainment with some hundred titles each. TV episodes are for sale for 1.99 USD, while movies cost 2.99 to 3.99 USD. The higher price is supposedly for newer titles, but I guess somebody forgot to tell Fellini. There is also some TV show episodes available for rent, so pricing isn't really all that consistent.

bittorrent download store

Content in general is a mixed bag. Bittorrent definitely has popular movies and TV shows, and some folks might appreciate their selection of Japanese horror flicks - or even the Showtime-type softcore the site features in their "mature" section.

But there is also lots of outdated and odd stuff. Are folks really gonna pay four bucks for civil war films from 1915? One could argue that this is the long tail, but more cynical minds would probably suggest that Bittorrent wanted to inflate their catalog numbers.

All the downloads are protected by Windows Media DRM, and virtually everything is US-only. The biggest disappointment to me is the HD section tho. Torrent downloads obviously make a lot of sense for HD content, but the site only features three HD movies for sale.

Of course you still can find lots of free but less legit HD content throgh Bittorrent.com. The original Torrent search engine is more hidden than before, but a click on "web results" reveals Torrents from Torrentreactor, The Pirate Bay and similiar sources. Bittorrent's filters seem to be working tho, so you won't find any of the content for sale as a free download - at least not on Bittorrent.com

Overall I'm not too impressed with the platform so far. I'm downloading a paid TV show episode right now. The downloads are reasonable fast and entirely served by Bittorrent's servers - so it's not really clear why I would need a P2P client for this. I'll do a little more testing during the day and write some moe about my experiences later.

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