Sickbeard Fork: Feature Summary

Note: Since this post was written, TvTumbler was born. Going forward, all new development will be in TvTumbler.

Well I’ve been working on and off on Sickbeard for the last few weeks, and the list of additions is starting to grow. So it’s probably time for a summary of the main additions.

Sickbeard Integrated Torrent ClientIntegrated Torrent Client

Uses libtorrent-rasterbar to provide a very simple (but very fast!) integrated torrent client. Manages queueing, priority, seeding, and deleting of torrent automatically. No need to use blackhole or watch dirs (but of course you can use those if you wish). If libtorrent rasterbar is not available on your system, this feature simply won’t show. You can continue to use your existing torrent client without issue.

Custom RSS Torrent feedCustom Torrent RSS Providers

Add one or more custom torrent providers. Any torrent source with an RSS feed should work for this.
See this post for more info (including some recommended feeds).


New Torrent Search Providers

I’ve added all the useful/reliable torrent providers I know as search options (at least the ones that you don’t need invites/accounts for). These are:

  • ShowRSS: This appears to be very reliable, but their show naming is not always smart, and their backlog can be limited.
  • Kickass Torrents: Includes solid backlog support.
  • DailyTvTorrents: Again, appears reliable, and includes solid backlog support (thanks to lylej for the heads-up on this one).(sadly, this is now gone)
  • BBC iPlayer support (via the perl get_iplayer script): See here for instructions on how to set this up.
  • Support for magnet links.
  • PublicHD support: No backlog yet, their RSS is *extremely* limited.
  • And additionally, EZRSS has been “fixed” so that it will continue to work (by using the twitter feed, tpb feed, and a feedburner feed as backups) even when the site goes down (which happens a lot!)


Custom Scene Names

The edit show page now includes a box into which you can type ‘custom’ show names (or ‘Scene Names’). These will be searched for in addition to the tvdb show name. This is incredibly useful for picking up on minor variations in show names.


Custom Scene Numbering

Anyone who has used sickbeard for any length will know how annoying this is: The scene decides that the first episode was a double, but tvdb (from which sickbeard gets its numbering) thinks otherwise. Or they include a special in the numbering. Or they disagree on season numbers. Or they call the “special” episode “SxE00″, where tvdb calls it “S00E56″.

Well this gives you the facility to work around this problem, without having to manually “fix” everything sickbeard downloads (or tolerate the duplicates it creates). You can now manually enter a season/episode number for each episode, and this is what sickbeard will search for when trawling the internet. And it will renumber it correctly once it’s downloaded to your PVR.

The code will also regularly check for the known variations between scene and tvdb numbering – so in most cases you probably won’t even need to correct the episode numbers, sickbeard will do so itself (but of course it will respect your numbering if you have specified it manually).


Installation Instructions

These now have a wiki page of their own. See How to Install Sickbeard for Torrents on github.

And I do believe that this time, I’m really finished. These are the main things that have annoyed me about sickbeard since I’ve started using it, and it took far more work than it should have to actually fix them (all-in, I’ve probably spent a full day on this). If I feel tempted to add features to this in the future, I think I’ll start by doing a re-write: it will save time in the long run (and imo sickbeard is badly in need of a rewrite).

As always, the full source is available from


Update/Please Note: I don’t intend to add any more features to this – so please stop asking for them! Sickbeard is, as far as I’m concerned, broken – and I don’t have the time to fix it, or write a replacement.
I will generally keep this up to date however, until I find a better system (or actually do the rewrite).

(if someone else wishes to start a rewrite however, please let me know – I may be able to contribute)

Update (Sept 2013): I’m doing the rewrite: TvTumbler, an addon for XBMC with the same basic functionality. I’d encourage any new users (who also use XMBC) to try TvTumbler instead.

Having Issues?: Please use the github issue tracker (and include a debug log, or your issue will likely be ignored)

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  1. #1 by kav on July 30, 2013 - 7:09 pm

    Thanks for this great fork!

    How can I use the naming feature to make SickBeard detect that this episode is a double?

    Mad Men S05E01 A Little Kiss Parts 1&2.mkv

    Sickbeard find the file as episode 1 but not as episode 2.


  2. #2 by Elvin on July 30, 2013 - 9:27 pm

    I don’t see how to queue the torrents. I saw in your post that your column shows numbers but mine does not. Is there any tips to troubleshoot the queue in the torrent client? thanks in advance and great work…

  3. #3 by Bricky on July 31, 2013 - 4:57 am


    The best I can suggest in this case is just to rename it, maybe something like
    Mad Men - S05E01-02 - A Little Kiss
    SB recognises a very wide range of naming conventions, but the format in the case you have here is simply incorrect.
    Have a look at (just the comments) – there are lots of examples there of recognised naming conventions.


    I’m not entirely certain what you mean. SB manages the queueing by itself (it will download up to 8 torrents at a time, and seed a further 12, automatically pausing/resuming others in the queue as needed).

    If this doesn’t answer what you’re asking, then maybe include a screenshot of what’s wrong.


    • #4 by Elvin on July 31, 2013 - 11:51 pm

      Hey thanks for your prompt answer, that cleared my doubts. is there any way to change those values, say 4 torrents at a time and 4 seeds.


      • #5 by Bricky on August 1, 2013 - 5:52 am

        For now, the easiest way to change those values is to edit the file sickbeard/ (it’s just a text file, you can open it in any text editor).

        Around line 250, you’ll find the following:

                settings.active_downloads = 8
                settings.active_seeds = 12
                settings.active_limit = 20

        Just change these to whatever you’d like and restart sickbeard.

        (I plan to add settings for these in the gui over time, but I just didn’t get around to it yet)

  4. #6 by Jeffe on August 1, 2013 - 3:03 pm

    Small stupid question :)
    Why do you say that sickbeard is broken ?

    • #7 by Bricky on August 2, 2013 - 6:31 am

      I was being overly harsh perhaps. What I mean is that the code is messy, poorly structured. It’s really quite difficult to make any real changes without breaking a lot of stuff.

      I don’t think this is really anyone’s fault as such, lots of the coding is really quite brilliant – perhaps it’s just because this is how it grew over time, with people patching on funtionality piece by piece.

  5. #8 by daragh on August 17, 2013 - 2:08 am


    trying to download from github but link seems to be broken:

    is there another link please?

    • #9 by Bricky on August 17, 2013 - 8:37 am

      Seems to be working again now – sorry about that.
      Github can be quite unreliable at times :(

  6. #10 by Maarten on August 18, 2013 - 9:27 am

    Awesome, very happy to see this, installation was a snap (considering I already had the midgetspy branch running previously).

    Seeing something odd with America’s Got Talent however. I deleted this show from my DB (but not the dl episodes from disk), and then re-added it. I now have a “Specials” season with 9 episodes in it that don’t exist on tvdb… Any idea?

    • #11 by Bricky on August 18, 2013 - 11:04 am

      Maybe have a look through the debug log for when you added the show (or delete it and add it again), it should be very obvious where it’s getting the specials from :)

  7. #12 by daragh on August 18, 2013 - 11:12 am


    sorry to keep bothering, cannot download anything off github, tried 2 different internet connections and several browsers.

    would really appreciate another link if possible or i can senda drop box share. happy also to test on windows and give feedback.

    • #13 by Bricky on August 18, 2013 - 11:23 am

      That’s a bit odd – someone must be blocking it for some reason. Can’t think why anyone would block github though :S

      I’ve uploaded the zip here:!
      It’ll probably work ok mostly, but it will try to contact github for updates (so you’ll see errors related to this), and, if someone is blocking github for you, then it’s quite likely that they’re blocking pretty much every provider this tries to contact also (so again, more errors).

  8. #14 by daragh on August 18, 2013 - 11:47 am


    thanks for the upload , got it thanks, not sure what is happening as i can download from other sites like Google code. maybe its the weekend!!

  9. #15 by Steve on September 2, 2013 - 8:08 pm


    This looks amazing. However, I am a total noob and I have no idea what to do to make it work…Do I download the master from the github and juste paste and replace all the files with yours? Can you add a video tutoriel…or tell me what I am doing wrong…thank you!

    • #16 by Bricky on September 4, 2013 - 10:08 am

      Hi Steve,

      Give the installation instructions a try. Installation on windows (guessing that you’re windows?) is actually pretty straightforward.

  10. #17 by Sanju on September 5, 2013 - 11:10 am

    Hi, I notice that you have BtN as a built in torrent provider (which is AWESOME, since that’s my preferred TV site), but which RSS feed are you monitoring for torrents, and how could I change it?

    It’s nice that you can choose SD or HD, but I prefer the AVI or MP4 formats, as they playback more reliably on my system than MKVs, so I’d prefer to monitor only the mp4 feed.

    Thanks, can’t wait to try this out!

    • #18 by Bricky on September 5, 2013 - 11:17 am

      Hi Sanju,

      BTN is a closed provider, we inherited it from the original, but we don’t maintain or support it. If you particularly like it, probably best to go with midgetspy’s sickbeard (where you have a much better chance of getting support with it).


  11. #20 by Daniel on October 1, 2013 - 7:47 am

    Hi, I cant seem to get scene numbering to work like how I understand it to be supposed to work. From the site, the scene numbering feature allows setting my own, or use the automatic from xem numbering for certain shows… That much works, sort of… I can see that as an example, American Dad (gee, big surprise right? ;)) that the new season, which for tvdb is Season 10, and the Scene # field is correctly filled with 9×1 perfect so far… I can have it search for that episode, and it correctly searches for 9×1, again, so far is perfect… But when it now finishes that, it adds that file to the database, as 9×1, replacing the old ep there… This is bad… Shouldnt it have renamed the show to 10×1 in the postprocessing? Have I missed some setting or have I completely missunderstood how this feature is supposed to work?

    • #21 by Daniel on October 1, 2013 - 7:49 am

      oh and forgot to say, it already during finding… While it searches and finds 9×1 on the trackers, it also marks the 9×1 rather than 10×1 in the db as being the file snatched… So you press the search button for 10×1, but marks 9×1 as snatched…

      • #22 by Bricky on October 1, 2013 - 11:38 am

        Hey Daniel,

        Quite possible that there is some problem with this lately. I pulled a bunch of stuff in from the ‘main’ sickbeard about a month ago, and it broke so many things I was in tears. This is probably another one of its victims :)

        Could you open a ticket for this on github?

        It’s much more visible there.

        (will look into it as soon as I get a chance, but it’ll be a few days at least)


  12. #23 by Col on October 1, 2013 - 10:19 am

    Hi there. This is probably a derp question, I’m installing Sickbeard custom on Synology. It requests the fork URL and fork name, both have to be correct for install. I’ve got the URL. I’ve tried various iterations of ‘Bricky’ or ‘bricky-box’ but keep getting an incorrect fork error. Please can you provide the fork name that the installer would be asking for?
    Many thanks

    • #24 by Bricky on October 1, 2013 - 11:39 am

      Hi Col,

      they probably mean the branch name: “master” in this case.

      If that’s not it, post up a link with some info about this package and I’ll investigate more.


  13. #25 by Chris on November 3, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    Hey, I love this idea but I cant get the built in torrent client to work.

    At startup it says libtorrent is NOT available, even though i’ve installed it. I’ve tried installing it in the default location, as well as in ../sickbeard/ and a few other folders. I’m on windows 8, help would be appreciated!

  14. #26 by Steve on November 5, 2013 - 7:28 pm

    Hi Bricky,

    I am trying to use your sickbeard fork on a nas4free (FreeBSD 9.1) system without luck. I have libtorrent-rasterbar-0.16.11 installed, however python -c “import libtorrent as lt; print lt.version” gives the following result:

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “”, line 1, in
    ImportError: No module named libtorrent

    The sickbeard webui does start but the setting for Config -> Search Settings -> Torrent Method can not be changed from “Black Hole”. I don’t know if this is relevant but qBittorent (which use libtorrent-rasterbar) runs perfectly fine on this system.

    • #27 by Steve on November 6, 2013 - 4:52 pm

      Oops, sorry. I need to read the directions more carefully.

      Installed py27-libtorrent-rasterbar-0.16.11 and everything is fine. The libtorrent-rasterbar-0.16.11 package is the C++ implementation (used by qBittorrent).

  15. #28 by Kris on November 9, 2013 - 1:51 am

    What are you using for scene look ups? I have yet looked at your code(been too busy with rebuilding system).

    I only ask because I have had an eye on your project for a few months now. I had an unfortunate crash yesterday with Ubuntu. It would boot but was broken. I tried to repair it but alas a reload ended up quicker. My metadata for sickbeard(and most other apps) were on a separate ZFS area so reloading and retaining my sickbeard/sab/nn+/plex/etc data was a simple task. I decided this was a good time to load your fork and point it to my old sickbeard metadata. It worked!

    However, last nights pawn stars still showed 2013x5X in scene when it should be 7x3X. Interestingly enough, all previous episodes showed proper scene data at that time. A force update did not fix the scene data.

    However, now that I look at sickbeard again all the episodes have switched to thetvdb format of 201XxXX. I’m still pulling everything that pulled proper before on Sickbeard(main) but this for whatever reason it’s also not pulling the scene mismatched episodes.

    I also tried to get American Pickers to pull as well but ran into a similar problem where the scene data matched thetvdb data.

    I checked tvrage for both and both shows had correct scene data. What am I missing?

  16. #29 by Kris on November 9, 2013 - 2:00 am

    Also, why are the episodes staying unaired until midnight? Sickbeard seemed to release them earlier if they were posted the same day. I’m not trying to be critical, like I said, I’ve been interested in your fork for some time. Maybe I’m just doing something wrong? Maybe my mistake was re-using the metadata from sickbeard stock?

  17. #30 by Bricky on November 9, 2013 - 12:02 pm

    @Chris: did you get this sorted? Just accept all the default in the libtorrent install. Have a look at the instructions here if you missed them:

    @Kris: scene< ->tvdb matching comes from (it’s mentioned in the blog post above). The shows you’re talking about probably aren’t in it. I’m sure they’d appreciate it if you put them there though. Or you can manually type in whatever mapping you want (that’s why the fields are editable).

  18. #31 by Jon on November 17, 2013 - 2:50 pm

    This is great! One question: Is there a way to use an IP blocklist with the built in torrent client?


  19. #33 by shashank on November 9, 2014 - 12:08 am


    In the recent commits you notified us that you will be deleting this fork. What happened, this is such a useful thing you are doing here. I hate to know that you are discontinuing.

    But anyway whatever you’ve done is pretty useful. Thanks for that.


    • #34 by Bricky on November 9, 2014 - 4:00 am

      Many reasons:

      – I stopped supporting this maybe 2 years ago, but still, every day, it gets new users. I think many of them come through obsolete blogs and forums, and they simply don’t know that I don’t work on this any more (and no one else has stepped up in the last 2 years). I do not want this scenario to continue.
      – I still get bug reports, emails, tweets, pm’s and myriad other contacts from people asking for help. This project is very low on my priority list, but it still makes me feel mean to say no. Every time.

      Basically I think the most honest course of action for me is simply to delete the code. Hence the notice.

      No one is really going to be any worse off for this. Before I actually delete the repo, I’ll post an update which will remove the notice for anyone who still uses it. Their code will continue to work, without changes. Anyone who might like to make any changes has a month or so to fork, or they can change them locally.

      Often, with a project like this, a gentle push like this is what it takes for one or two people to take on the maintenance. I’m hoping that this will be the case here.

      Even with its age, this fork has about 12k distinct users at any one time (I know because there’s a server piece to this also, and all the running instances talk to it), so rest assured that I didn’t take this decision lightly.

  20. #35 by Ricky Dominguez on November 12, 2014 - 2:14 am

    Thanks Bricky

  21. #36 by RoosterX on November 19, 2014 - 3:03 am

    Im sorry to are that you are ending support to yoru Fork of Sickbeard. Ive bn useing it for a while and think its brilliant.

    Unfortunately I do not use xbmc so TVTumbler would be usless for me. Are you planning to make it compatible with Plex Media Server?

    • #37 by RoosterX on November 19, 2014 - 3:09 am

      I forgot to say thanks so much for your fork it has worked brilliantly for me and my friends. I had no idea that it hasnt really been supported for over 2 years, apart from small fixes.

      Can you suggest another sickbeard fork that works with torrents?

      • #38 by Bricky on November 19, 2014 - 3:47 am

        You could try sickrage?
        I don’t know much about it (I only even know it exists b/c I got a query about it – apparently it contains some of my code).

        I’d be more inclined to recommend though, if you are going to switch, popcorntime seems to be the way this whole thing is going.

    • #39 by Bricky on November 19, 2014 - 3:43 am

      Nope, I won’t be making tvtumbler for Plex. At this stage I only maintain it for my own use.

  22. #40 by Joao Silva on January 27, 2015 - 8:42 pm

    Hi, a few time ago i downloaded your sickbeard version and i like that, but today i has need to format my pc where to sickbeard server was running now when i run your script again on torrent method only show “black hole” and before it show “black hole” and “integrated” any thing to put this at normal thanks

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