Archive for category Torrents

Introducing TvTumbler

Well I’ve been promising this long enough – An XBMC Addon that will download TV Shows automatically.TvTumbler logo

I’ve actually been working on this on-and-off for a few months now, but I have so little free time these days, progress has been extremely slow.

The project pulls *very* heavily from my experience with Sickbeard. The target here is to put together a system that ‘just works’, and doesn’t require continuous tweaks as Sickbeard does. To this end, the plan is currently:

  • Only free, open, feeders (‘providers’ in SB terminology).
  • Multiple different types of sources: Currently only torrents are implemented, but I’ve put in the basics for other types also (e.g. Video-On-Demand sites, like iPlayer, Hulu, etc. and download sites like
  • An integrated torrent client. Using libtorrent in Gotham is proving quite difficult, so I’m relying on Transmission for now. I’ll fix this in time.
  • Low resource usage. Sickbeard did a *lot* of background downloading, refreshing, updating etc.. I have eliminated all of that here. There will be a small cost in terms of what we can display (e.g. banners and schedules and such), but I think it’s worth it. XBMC has many many addons which do a far better job of this kind of thing.
  • Take out much of the functionality that doesn’t-quite-work (or isn’t really needed) in Sickbeard: e.g. Season pack downloads. Backlog. Notifications. Metadata downloads. Mass updates. (Most) Post-Processing.
    (Note: I do plan to implement Backlog in the future, but using a very different technique. *cough* dns *cough* Everything else I’ve taken out is handled better by other XBMC addons)
  • Scraping. Anyone who uses my fork of sickbeard will know that I’ve removed any instance of it that I can. I’ll be completely avoiding it here.
  • Automatic fixing of ‘Scene’ numbering. Don’t get me wrong, Scene numbering is great, and it makes a *lot* more sense than numbering. But XBMC (for the most part) uses thetvdb numbering, so we’re stuck with it. The addon will automatically convert between the two.

If you’re curious, have a look at the github link above. You can even install it and try it out if you like.

Please note that this is currently Pre-Alpha. It has bad bugs (which will occasionally require a restart of XBMC to fix), and some significant missing functionality. Of course we are delighted when anyone tries this out, but for the present the target market is developers and people who don’t mind poking around in logs and code.

Installation Instructions:

  • Download the latest service.tvtumbler zip from
  • In XBMC: System → Settings → Addons → Install from zip file, and browse for the zip file you’ve just downloaded.
  • Install transmission (this is a temporary requirement until libtorrent is implemented). Set it up so that it puts completed downloads somewhere that XBMC can access them (this means a network share if it’s not running on the XBMC machine), and so that it stops seeding when it reaches a specific ratio (typically I recommend >1.1).
  • In the Addon settings → Feeders: Enable at least one.
  • In the Addon settings → Transmission: Enable it, and set all required settings. The Download Dir is where XMBC will look for completed downloads.
  • Open the Addon through either ‘Video Addons’ or ‘Programs’. Select the ‘Shows’ button, and follow some shows (use the context menu to select quality).
  • And read the notes here: they’re likely to be much more current than the above.

Please post any issues on the github issue tracker, and include an XBMC debug log.

Want to help out?

  • Can you code? Have a look at the XBMC code on github (especially the XBMC gui, this needs a lot of work), or perhaps the (soon to be released) web interface. If you can do either, the XBMC gui is the priority (as I have little or no XBMC gui experience, and I can do web in my sleep). But drop me a line before you do anything, as there are extensive dev changes afoot (the addon will soon be split into 3).
  • The system has ongoing maintenance and hosting costs (yes, there’s a considerable server component to this). All contributions are welcome. Bitcoin: 15Vh5ZiQpXuymRf46JAELnZPNbLaTKLduc.



Sickbeard with Integrated Torrent Client

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

Sickbeard Integrated Torrent ClientI’ve included a torrent client in my torrent-friendly fork of Sickbeard. The UI is a little limited at the moment, but it’s been wiping the floor with both Transmission and uTorrent here for the last few days in terms of download speed, so I think it’s ready to be set loose on the world.

To enable it, you’ll first need to install libtorrent rasterbar (version 0.16 or later), and its python bindings.

If you do not have an already-running copy of this fork, just follow the general installation instructions.


For debian derivatives: (i.e. Ubuntu, mint, etc)
sudo apt-get install python-libtorrent

That could hardly be much simpler now could it?

For OSX:
You’ll need to do a little compiling I’m afraid.

This post includes all the required details.

For Windows: (yes, for once I haven’t forgotten about you!)
Go here, and download the .msi which matches your version of python (probably either py27 or py26).
Pick a recent version – the older ones won’t work with magnet links.

Another OS:?
If your OS doesn’t come with a packaged version of libtorrent rasterbar and its python bindings (and note that most will!), then you’ll probably need to build from source.
svn co lt/
cd lt/
./configure --enable-python-binding
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

Once you have installed the above, restart Sickbeard, go to Config -> Search Settings -> Torrent Method, and change it to “Integrated”.

Any OS-specific tweaks you wish to share? Please note them in the comments.


  • Is libtorrent installed? What version do I have?
    python -c "import libtorrent as lt; print lt.version" will tell you very quickly. You should get a response like – if you get an error, or a version less than 0.16, this is likely to be your issue.
  • All my torrents are stuck at “downloading_metadata”: for dht to work (and hence for metadata to be available), the torrent client needs at least one valid peer to exchange data with, but if all your downloads are trackerless magnets, it won’t have one. Try adding a torrent manually (using either a magnet link with trackers, or a link to a .torrent file). You can delete the added torrent as soon as metadata begins to download. [Note: This issue should be resolved with recent releases]
  • Having other Issues? Check out this post (and read through the comments) to see if someone else has addressed it.
  • Still having Issues? Check out the github issue tracker. Please search the existing issues before creating a new one, and include a debug log in any new issues! (you can censor it beforehand if you feel the need)
  • It looks like ubuntu 12.04 installs libtorrent 0.15.x by default, which is a little too outdated for use here. So, if you are a 12.04 user, you’ll either need to build from source, or find a ppa with a more recent version (please post any suggestions in the comments). Thanks go to Chris for pointing this out.Update (with thanks to Dennis): This repo appears to have all the needed packages.

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Building Libtorrent-rasterbar on OSX

Compiling Rasterbar Libtorrent on OSX 10.7 or 10.8 (tested on both 10.7.5 and 10.8.4), without brew and all the crap it brings with it.

First, you’ll need to install XCode, and command-line tools.
Then, you’ll need to download and build boost:

Click on ‘Download’, and download the latest .tar.gz. In my case this was boost_1_53_0.tar.gz

tar -zxvf boost_*.tar.gz
cd boost_*
sudo ./b2 install

This all ran cleanly in my case, but googling would seem to imply that it often gives errors.
Next, download the libtorrent source:

And again, download the latest .tar.gz. In my case this was libtorrent-rasterbar-0.16.9.tar.gz

tar -zxvf libtorrent-rasterbar-0.16.9.tar.gz
cd libtorrent-rasterbar-0.16.9
./configure --enable-python-binding
sudo make install

That should be it, but in my case for some reason the python bindings were put into /usr/local/lib/python2.6/site-packages/ (where the correct site-packages is in fact /Library/Python/2.6/site-packages). I’m not really sure why this happened, but it’s easy enough to fix. Continuing from where we were above:
cd bindings/python
sudo python install

And it gets the correct directory this time around.

Update (Sept 2, 2013): Tested with libtorrent 0.16.11 and boost 1.54 on Max OSX 10.9. Works as described above. Boost gives lots of deprecation warnings, but it runs without issue.



DailyTvTorrents gone

Just a few hours ago, disappeared, replaced with the message:

2013-04-25: Sorry guys, our hosting provider kicked us out so we have to be offline for now. I’m very busy nowadays and I don’t have time to look for a new place. If you think you know a solution you can reach me here:
Until then, it was a nice ride. :–)
Ps: you can check this page from time to time, I will try to keep you updated when I know more. I got some really nice email, thank you guys.

For a time this was probably the best TV torrent site on the web, well-categorised, always current, and with a decent backlog. It’s sad to see it go.

For the present I’ll leave it as part of my Torrent-friendly Sick-beard fork. Users can simply uncheck it on the ‘Search Providers’ page.

My thanks to Richard and all at for a wonderful service over the last few months. Hope this isn’t the end for you.


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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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