A survey of users on the invite-only bittorrent service HDbits.org has revealed that over half of people who illegally download torrents of prime-time, overseas TV or films also shell out for Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions.
News website Torrentfreak revealed the info showing how more than 5,000 people had responded to an on-site survey
HDBits.org is one of the most exclusive pirate sites on the net and notoriously difficult to get access to.
As one of the largest private torrent trackers it enjoys a status that not many others can match. While places like the Pirate Bay, KickAss Torrents and ettv are open to all, you need an invite from a current HDBits member to grant you a login.
And while memberships hover around the 20,000 mark, users jealously guard access to the site and new slews of invitations are extremely rare. Users occasionally sell invites to HDBits for upwards of $300, clearly against the site’s wishes.
Too little, too late?
When asked about how much they use legal streaming services, over a quarter of those surveyed said they use Netflix, Hulu or Prime more frequently that HDBits itself.
With nearly a quarter of a million high-quality releases available at any one time, that’s a stunning rebuke for torrent sites.
57%, or 3,036 people said they subscribe to at least one legal streaming service.
Why pay Netflix money when you torrent for free?
HD and 4K quality streams are hard to come by from public torrent trackers, because they are relatively expensive and technically difficult to reproduce.
And alongside the fact that there’s no monetary gain for uploaders, the percentage of hit-and-run users who download a torrent but don’t stick around to seed it to others remains relatively high, cutting the incentive for encoders to produce quality work.
Seeders are more common on these private trackers and stick around for longer, meaning you can access well-worn classics at the same speed as current shows.
But sites like HDBits are too hard to get into for common folk like you or I. So not everything is available all the time, and it’s certainly not as easy to stream shows or movies on multiple screens as it is with a premium Netflix or Prime account.