Torrenting vs Streaming: The Battle Explained

Until a few years ago, BitTorrent was the main platform for sharing and viewing media, such as movies and TV shows. Lately, though, there has been a shift to using streaming sites like 123movie and yesmovies. Why the shift, and what does it mean for the future of BitTorrent?

Content Ownership is the Biggest Difference

Users can easily access the latest content on streaming sites, but they never actually get to own or keep the content. After the content has been viewed, it effectively disappears into the great unknown.

Users of torrent sites, however, can not only view the exact same content using the same amount of bandwidth but also keep it indefinitely. The content can now be played on all devices, anytime and anywhere, without even having to be connected to the Internet.

Streaming sites require the user to stay connected to them throughout the viewing of the content. The only downside to torrenting is that the saved files take up space on the drives.

Where Do Streaming Sites Get Their Content?

In a surprising twist, many streaming sites get their content from torrent sites. BitTorrent is a more valuable contributor to the piracy environment than streaming sites, some of which rely on BitTorrent to get content.

So, it’s fair to say that torrenting is necessary for streaming sites that rely on it to get content to share.

Piracy Point of View

Piracy is obviously seen as a threat to Hollywood. However, many tend to see many of the streaming sites as even more destructive than torrent sites. That’s because streaming pages are closer to legal sites, such as Hulu and Netflix.

Remarkably, some industry leaders think that piracy isn’t entirely a bad thing. For one thing, according to some, it keeps the shows and movies in circulation and increases their popularity for new generations of viewers. Others admit that they simply have no idea of the actual amount of “damages” that come from pirating content.

Pros and Cons of Torrenting and Streaming

Let’s see what are the main advantages and disadvantages of both methods to access content.


When it comes to file quality, BitTorrent has a huge advantage. Keep in mind that the copies you find available on streaming sites have exaggerated compression to reduce the size and save some bandwidth.

This will affect the quality of visualization and audio. Also, the same content can be found in BitTorrent with a better compression rate, or even with the original quality, providing a much better experience.


It’s also very common to find video files on streaming sites that are out of sync, recorded with a camera in the movie theater, and some other unpleasant formats. While this is acceptable for some people, the average BitTorrent user won’t even touch such type of low-quality file.

Ease of use

Streaming sites also have advantages. For instance, they are easier to use. Some of them have well-made lists that allow users to find something quickly. BitTorrent, on the other hand, requires downloading a file with specific software. For users with slow Internet connections, the waiting can be long, and it can be a deal breaker.

File Storage

As we discussed at the beginning of the article, keeping the file is another decisive factor for many people. With BitTorrent, the file will stay on the computer (unless you delete it), and if you stream it, you won’t be able to keep it.

Is Streaming and Torrenting Safe?

In recent years, streaming has been considered a great threat to the big Hollywood industry. But that doesn’t mean that torrenting is off the hook. The entertainment industry still views file sharing with bad eyes.

The truth is that if a user is unprotected, both methods are not considered safe. There’s the risk of being monitored by the entertainment industry and even government agencies, as well as hackers who try to infiltrate using various techniques.

The safest thing to do is to use a VPN for your torrenting or streaming activities. This kind of software will make you anonymous, not having to worry if anyone is able to see what you are downloading or streaming. Even your ISP doesn’t have access to your activity when you use a Virtual Private Network. Here are some of our favorite VPN providers:

  • Torrent Friendly
  • P2P Optimized Servers
  • Best VPN Overall
  • Torrent Friendly
  • P2P Optimized Servers
  • Great Price/Quality Ratio
  • Torrent Friendly
  • Good Set of Features
  • Unlimited connections

Streaming or Torrenting?

Ultimately, the choice to use a streaming site or BitTorrent is up to the individual. Generally, users who prioritize great quality choose BitTorrent. Users with low bandwidth and low Internet speeds often go with streaming because of its high compression, even if the quality is quite lower.

Streamers will point out that streaming is safer than torrenting because it doesn’t rely on uploading. Torrent users will answer that the streamed content was downloaded from a torrent website in the first place. And also that, thanks to VPN software, the question of safety is not so valid anymore.

In our opinion, most streamers do not understand that for content to thrive, they have to pay it forward. In other words, sharing is the key. When streaming this kind of content, there is no sharing at all, only consumption.