Android application developer Alex Holmes is creating a simple and powerful new way to get your pirated videos: an application that uses your cellphone's built in camera to scan a DVD bar code, then starts the movie downloading onto your home computer.
Called "Torrent Droid," the program means consumers who spot a DVD they like at the local Walmart will no longer have to choose between the instant gratification of buying it on the spot, and the frugal -- albeit illegal -- alternative of grabbing it from BitTorrent.
"I could feel bad about creating a tool that could be used for piracy," says the 23-year-old Holmes, a Bournemouth University software systems student. "However if I didn't create the tool, someone else would have."
After scanning the UPC on the DVD's packaging, the program looks up the number in a database to get the title. Then it automatically runs a search on your favorite torrent site.
Select the torrent of your choice, and Torrent Droid sends it to your home computer, assuming your PC is running uTorrent with a web interface. If your broadband connection is fast and the checkout line slow, your movie will be waiting for you when you get home.
Holmes says the program will be for sale on his website, Zerofate, in about a month.
The idea for the application came from the website Android and Me, which offered a cash reward to the first developer who could create a working version for Google's Android. Holmes won the $90 award with his "very private alpha" version of the software, shown in the video.