Popcorn Time, the app known as "Netflix for Pirates" because it allows free streaming of movies and TV shows without permission from the copyright holders, was all set to take another leap forward, bringing its easy-to-use interface straight to internet browsers, eliminating the need to download an app at all.
But the experiment proved so wildly successful that traffic to the PopcornInYourBrowser.net site apparently crashed the server where it was hosted, bringing the latest version of Popcorn Time to an abrupt end.
Last month a judge in the United Kingdom ruled that five major internet service providers must block their customers from accessing pages that offer the Popcorn Time app for download.
The browser version of Popcorn Time, however, would have made downloading the app unnecessary — and because the outlaw service works by allowing users to instantly stream bit torrent movie files from multiple servers distributed across the vast internet, shutting down Popcorn Time once and for all has proven effectively impossible.
Just last month, Popcorn Time announced that a new software known as iOS Installer would now allow the mobile version of Popcorn Time to be installed on Apple iPhone and iPad devices.
Apple had banned the app from its official app store, citing the Apple policy of prohibiting apps that facilitate unauthorized access to copyrighted materials.
Only yesterday, May 19, the existence of the browser-based version of Popcorn Time went viral, with stories appearing on numerous online news outlets including such heavily-trafficked powerhouse sites as CNN Money and PC Magazine.
The publicity proved fatal to the browser experiment. By the very next day, a message appeared on the site's home page, explaining the shutdown.
"Popcorn in Your Browser is no more. It relied on the free trial of remote torrenting service Coinado.io, which I used to stream YIFY torrents to an HTML5 video tag," wrote the site's anonymous creator. "This site went viral and seems to have completely overwhelmed Coinado's servers, who in turn promptly discontinued the free trial. It was fun while it lasted — cheers!"The creators of the original Popcorn Time software distanced themselves from the browser version.
"This website has nothing to do with Popcorn Time except for its name, though we're totally supportive of their work and think it's a cool initiative," said one in an email to PC Magazine before the shutdown. "We're also not sure if this website can support a high velocity of users using the service simultaneously."
As it turned out, that problem identified by the original Popcorn Time creators did, in fact, turn out to be the downfall of PopcornInYourBrowser.net.
[Image: Popcorn Time Screen Grab]