This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
Via Usenet it is possible to download all kinds of movies. But not everyone has the time and energy to constantly look for that new content. That’s why CouchPotato has been created. This allows you to download automatically.
CouchPotato automatically lets you download movies. With it you can automatically download and manage NZB files as well. Long story short: you no longer have to search yourself for a movie you want to see.
The great thing about CouchPotato is that it is also possible to create a ‘wanted’ list. For example, you can do this with an extension for Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari. The program searches on fixed time intervals whether there is an NZB file or a torrent available for a movie you would like to watch. If that turns out to be the caase, CouchPotato will automatically send it to your newsreader (download program). The movie will then be assigned a logical name, so you can easily find it back.
With your wanted list you can also indicate in which quality the movies need to be downloaded. However, if a movie is not available with the desired quality, the program may also download it in a lower quality. At a later point in time, the program checks whether new uploads of the movie have appeared on Usenet with the desired quality.
Getting started with CouchPotato
To use CouchPotato, you must first install and configure the software. The software itself can be installed via the CouchPotato website. Download the software for Windows, MacOS or Linux and follow the steps of the installation. Preferably, install CouchPotato on a server or an NAS, as your movies will probably have to go there too. After that, the program requires to be configured.
Step 1. Basic settings
Configuring CouchPotato begins as soon as you start the program for the first time. Don’t be startled: booting happens in your normal web browser, such as Google Chrome or Safari. First of all, CouchPotato asks you to choose a username and password. However, this is not mandatory. It also asks to fill in a “port”. This is by default 5000 or 5050, which means you can reach CouchPotato by going to http://localhost:5000 or http://localhost:5050 in your web browser. And finally, select that you give CouchPotato permission to launch the browser when you start.
Step 2. Setting up your newsreader
If you scroll down CouchPotato will ask you what download app (newsreader) you are using. In this example we will select SABnzbd, but it could be any other newsreader. Follow these steps:
- At Directory you select the folder on your computer where the NZB files that CouchPotato downloads are to be stored.
- At Use For you can select whether you want to use CouchPotato for torrenst, Usenet or a combination of the two.
- Click on the slider next to the name of newsreader you are using. In our example that is SABnzbd.
- Host you generally do not have to change.
- With the API Key you give CouchPotato complete access to your newsreader. This API Key you can find in your newsreader. If you open SABnzbd, you will find the required information under the tab General > Security.
- Back to CouchPotato. Under “Category” you select the category which is applicable for your movies. A category name like “movies” is a good choice. Take note: this category you also need to make in your download programme (newsreader). In SABnzbd you can do this by going to the tab Categories. There you indicate to which folder movies need to be downloaded and what category they will fall under. Often SABnzbd already has some standard categories, like tv, movies, audio, software.
Step 3. Selecting torrent sites and NZB sites that CouchPotato can search to look for your movie or serie
The next step is indicating which torrent sites and NZB sites CouchPotato should use to search your desired movie. For torrent sites you look for the heading “Torrent Providers”, for NZB sites you look under “Usenet Providers” (the name Usenet provider is somewhat misleading here because these are NZB sites). There are usually several paid and free NZB sites, but generally not all sites are working as intended. For the paid NZB sites you need an API Key again, which you can find on the NZB site itself. Binsearch is a decent free NZB search engine, but it is recommend to activate as many NZB sites as possible here to increase your chances of finding a suitable NZB file.
Step 4. Changing the name of your download
Files on Usenet often have the weirdest, meaningless names. Often they are comprised of random strings of numbers and letters. It’s not for nothing NZB files are needed to properly locate films and series on the enormous Usenet network. With the option Move & rename the movies after downloading you can automatically give downloaded movies a new name. It is recommended to use this feature. Subsequently there are several options you can tweak:
- At To you select the folder where the renamed movies can be placed after downloading.
- Folder naming indicates what name the folder should which is created for your movie. You can select numerous variables that you would like to be listed in the folder name, like the resolution, the year, the name etc.
- File naming is about what the movie file will be called eventually. CouchPotato determines this name based on the variables you select.
- Unrar and Cleanup: Unrar unpacks files for you, in case your newsreader doesn’t do that automatically. Cleanup removes any remaining files that are deemed redundant by CouchPotato after the download is completed.
- At From you select the folder on your computer where the newsreader downloads the movies which have been downloaded with CouchPotato’s assistance. If CouchPotato scans this folder and finds such a movie, this movie is renamed and placed in the folder you selected under the heading To. Your movie now has the correct name and ends up in the folder where you want it to be.
Step 5.Install the CouchPotato browser extension (Optional)
It is also possible to download a browser extension for CouchPotato, although this is optional. With this browser extension you can add movies to CouchPotato when you are browsing movie sites like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. CouchPotato will automatically initiate the download process for these movies when possible. If the movie is not available at that time, CouchPotato will keep trying at later moments.
The initial installation has now been finalized. Scroll down and press the big button ‘I’m ready to start the awesomeness!’
Configuration in CouchPotato
Even though you have come a long way with configuring CouchPotato already, there are still some minor steps to be taken. Press the sprocket icon in the left bottom corner and select ‘Settings’. Click on ‘Searcher’ and subsequently on ‘Categories’. Here you can modify a couple of filters, which will help CouchPotato with finding the right movies.
Step 1. Searcher –> Categories
At Preferred you choose a couple of search terms which CouchPotato should use when searching. In case there are different versions of a movie, CouchPotato will prioritize versions which contain these preferred search terms. For instance, you can fill in ‘mkv’ if you would like your movie to be a mkv file, or ‘720’ for 720p resolution.
At Required you choose the words that definitely need to be applicable to the movie you are searching for. For instance, you can fill in ‘English’ if you just want to download English spoken versions. Be aware that if you fill in too many required criteria, CouchPotato might end up not finding any more movies due to your criteria being too strict.
At Ignored you choose the words which are not allowed in the file name. For example, by filling in ‘German’ and ‘Dutch’ you prevent CouchPotato from downloading a German or Dutch version of your movie.
Step 2. Searcher –> Qualities
The next step is ‘Qualities‘, meaning the quality of your movies. Here you can make profiles yourself with demands regarding the movie’s quality. You can make a list of quality features you find important, and there also are some standard quality profiles. The ‘Best’ profile for instance scans for movies in 720p resolution first before searching for movies in 1080p. The reason for this is that 1080p movies take up a lot more space on your hard disk and many people feel 720p quality is decent enough.
It is also possible to indicate that CouchPotato should first seach for a Bluray or DVD version of your movie. Keep in mind that CouchPotato works from top to bottom. The criteria on the top are what CouchPotato search for first, and slowly CouchPotato works its way down.
Under each profile you can also choose how long you would like CouchPotato to keep searching for a better version of your film once it has found something. For example, if there is no BR-rip version of your movie available, you can order CouchPotato to wait a few days before settling for inferior quality. Important: this only works if you don’t check the ‘finish’ box. If you do check this box and a movie is downloaded in the corresponding quality, then CouchPotato will see the download as being complete. In other words: CouchPotato will no longer search for the same movie in a better quality.
It is also possible to make a quality profile yourself by clicking ‘Create another Quality Profile’. The same rules as we described above apply here.
Furthermore, there are some more advanced options, which you can find with by moving the slider ‘show advanced‘ in the top right corner of your screen. Here you can customize how big a file should be (minimum size and maximum size). This way you make sure you only download files within a specific size range, to ensure both quality and to prevent CouchPotato from downloading files you deem too large.
Step 3. Download subtitles automatically with Renamer
Finally it is able to go to the ‘Renamer’ section in the menu and select that you want automatic subtitles with your movie. Click the slider next to ‘Download subtitles‘ and write down the language you would like the subtitles in. For instance, by filling in ‘fr’, CouchPotato will search for French subtitles for your movies. It is however possible such subtitles are not available and hence not found by CouchPotato.
Now that CouchPotato is configured completely, you are ready to download movies. To do so navigate to the home screen of CouchPotato and type in your desired movie. Select the desired quality or quality category, and press Enter. The movie will end up in your Wanted list under ‘Movies’. If CouchPotato finds the movie in the right quality in a newsgroup, a green check mark will appear in your movie icon. This means the movie has been picked up and sent to your download programme. Directly after downloading, CouchPotato moves the movie to the folder you selected and and the movie is given a clear name. And then your movie is ready to watch!