Popcorn Time is still in beta, but it may already be the nicest looking torrent player ever created.  Its best feature is that its interface feels instantly familiar to anyone who has ever Netflix or Hulu.

But even though Popcorn Time is much slicker than traditional torrent downloaders like Transmission and BitTorrent, under the hood it still does the same thing– download torrent files.

In most countries, the act of downloading a torrent can get you in big trouble.  If you’re looking for a safer Popcorn Time alternative, here are 6 reasons to give Kodi a spin.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended to help readers access content they already have purchased the rights to access, but are for whatever reason unable to access either temporarily, or permanently. Flixed.io does not support software piracy, and bears no responsibility for what you decide to do with the contents of this article. Furthermore, please note that Flixed.io in no way hosts, develops, or produces any of the software mentioned within this article. For more information, please see our full disclaimer here.

1.  You won’t find any ads for shady VPN services on Kodi

One thing that annoys me about Popcorn Time is that when I try to download a movie or TV show with it, I get hit with a warning message that tells me that my VPN is disabled.

A screenshot of Popcorn Time’s annoying “VPN DISABLED” message

Even with my VPN on, I still get hit with the notification.

Connecting to a VPN does not make the VPN DISABLED! message go away

The truth is that Popcorn Time’s little “reminder” is actually a manipulative popup ad.  Once you click on the TURN ON VPN button, a signup form for an obscure VPN service appears.

The logo for Popcorn Time’s built-in VPN service, Anonymous VPN

Why we think Popcorn Time’s built-in VPN service seems shady

  1. screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-3-33-37-pm
    A screenshot of PC Mag’s recent review of IPVanish

    The big tech blogs aren’t reviewing it.  The 34 year old computer magazine PC Mag didn’t mention Anonymous VPN at all in its recent article The Best VPN Services of 2016. On the other hand, IPVanish— the VPN service that I use myself and the one that we recommend here at AddonHQ– earned a 4 out of 5 star rating.

  2. It may not even be encrypted.  The complete lack of information about encryption on Anonymous VPN’s website suggests that the VPN service’s servers may not even be using any type of encryption algorithm at all.
  3. Nobody even knows who owns it.  Nobody knows for sure who is running Anonymous VPN.  In contrast, IPVanish CTO Josh Gagliardi is an outspoken internet privacy advocate.  He even hosts a podcast about privacy called Secure Sessions.

If you’ve signed up for Popcorn Time’s built-in VPN service, we recommend that you cancel your subscription and get IPVanish instead.  As the PC Mag review pointed out, IPVanish is the only VPN out there that actually boosts your connection speed instead of slowing it down.

Sign up for IPVanish through this site and enjoy a special AddonHQ discount!

kodi security

2.  Like Popcorn Time, Kodi is 100% free  

Kodi is open source software.  That means that anyone can download Kodi for free and modify its source code without fear of legal repercussions.  The vast majority of Kodi addons and builds are free as well.

Generally, Kodi addon developers and build makers aren’t out to make a quick buck.  They’re enthusiastic hobbyists that are passionate about making software that people like.  Most create Kodi builds and addons just for fun or to get some programming experience under their belts.

3.  Kodi plays streams, not downloaded torrents

The most popular Kodi video software relies on streaming video for content.  Streaming video doesn’t get saved to your computer and can’t easily be shared.  That’s why in most countries copyright laws around streaming video are a lot more flexible compared to copyright laws that regulate video and audio downloads.

By and large, Kodi’s streaming video addons are safe to use.  However, regulations around video streaming are complex and often not very clear.  For more detailed information about the legal status of streaming in various countries, check out the article embedded below.

Is Kodi legal, or illegal to use? Is Kodi safe to use?

4.  Some Kodi builds look just as slick as Popcorn Time

Kodi builds are modified versions of Kodi that have been customized with widgets, artwork, menu alterations and handpicked extensions called addons.

My personal favorite Kodi build at the moment is a new one that just came out a few weeks ago called CellarDoor.  CellarDoor’s movie interface was probably inspired by Popcorn Time’s.

CellarDoor vs. Popcorn Time

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-8-19-51-pm screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-5-09-30-pm

As you can see, CellarDoor and Popcorn Time both look pretty much identical.  However, CellarDoor’s interface provides a bit more information because it uses the TMDB database to deliver recommendations, box office figures and other relevant info.

For in-depth information about and reviews of the best Kodi builds, check out our latest Kodi Build Roundup.

How to install CellarDoor for Kodi 

  • Go to Kodi’s official home page and download the correct version of Kodi for your device.
  • Go to https://areswizard.co.uk and download the file named script.areswizardx.x.xx.zip to your desktop.
  • Open script.areswizardx.x.xx.zip from inside of Kodi via system → settings → addons → install from zip file.
  • Navigate to programs → ares wizard → browse builds  → cellardoortv (jarvis) → install

5.  Kodi can do more than just play movies and TV shows

Most people use Kodi to play video streams– but it can actually do a whole lot more than that.  Here are just a few interesting things that you can do with various free 3rd party Kodi addons:

  • Dim the lights in your house
  • Read digital comic books
  • Display SMS messages from your phone
  • Connect to a security camera
  • Play retro video games

6.  Popcorn Time is still in beta, but Kodi has been around for years

The first version of Kodi came out in 2002.  That’s why the “vanilla” flavor of the Kodi player is super stable.  It’s quick, responsive and never crashes.  Even mobile devices and computers built in the early 2000s can easily run it.

Of course, not all 3rd party addons work as well as the core Kodi software.  Some are just as excellent and efficient, but others bog down your system and eat up your memory.  On the other hand, if you put in a bad addon you can easily delete it.  It’s also not hard to start over with a fresh Kodi installation or revert to a backup configuration.