How To Automatically Download Movies With CouchPotato

Windows/Mac/Linux: If you just saw an awesome movie in the theatres and want it on your computer as soon as possible, free app CouchPotato will look for it on Usenet and automatically download it as soon as a copy is available online.

So you’ve gotten started with Usenet, and maybe you’ve even turned your computer into an internet PVR with Sick Beard. If you’re a movie buff, though, you’re still stuck searching for and downloading movies manually. CouchPotato automates the process: just tell it what movies you want to download, and it will search according to your quality and language specifications, find the perfect match, and download it for you. If the movie isn’t out yet, it’ll check back periodically until the movie is available, then download it for you.

Oz editor note: I’ll admit it: when I got this far into this post, the gleeful “Wow, piracy is easier than ever!” tone really bugged me. Let’s not kid ourselves here — if you install this app or something similar, you’re going to be consciously and repeatedly breaking the law to access something which (unlike even TV) is otherwise only available as a paid-for product. I personally can’t see any justification for deliberately hunting down what will certainly be pirated copies of a movie that has just hit cinemas at your earliest convenience. But I know many Lifehacker readers view the world differently. If you choose to use CouchPotato, be very aware of the potential legal consequences.

Step One: Install CouchPotato

Installation on Windows is easy — just download the ZIP file and extract it somewhere on your computer. It’s a portable app, so you don’t need to install it or anything — just double click on it to start it up. Mac users will need to install Python, then drag the app into their Applications folder as usual. Linux users will need to do a bit more work. This guide also assumes you have SABNzbd installed as described in our original Usenet guide.

Step Two: Configure Your Settings

Once you’ve started up CouchPotato, it should open up the web interface in your browser. Hit the cog icon at the top of the page to edit your settings and get it set up. Under the General tab, you can tell it how often you want it to search, and which search terms you want it to add (like “Bluray” or “DTS”) or remove (like “dubbed” or “hardcoded”) from your search. You can also add a username and password if you want to protect the web interface from others.

Under “NZBs/Torrents”, type in your host IP for SABNzbd, the API key, and the username and password you use to access SAB (you can find all this info in SAB’s settings under General). You’ll also need to enter your username and API key for your NZB provider — like NZBMatrix or Newzbin — under the “Providers” tab. The Quality and Renaming tabs let you customise how you search for and save movies.

Step Three: Add Movies to Download

To add a movie, just type a movie name into the box in the top right-hand corner of the page. Select your preferred quality and click “Add”. You should see the movie show up on your wanted list, which you can access via the “Wanted” button in the upper left-hand corner of the interface. CouchPotato will check Usenet every so often to see if someone’s uploaded that movie, and send it straight to SAB to be downloaded when it finds a copy. If the movie’s been out for a while, it’ll find the best version according to your specifications and download it for you.


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