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Almost every bittorrent client has built-in prioritization of files. Do you know if there is a client that allows me to set up priorities inside the single file?

For example, you're downloading an independent free movie, but you have a slow connection. I'd like to tell the BT client to download first pieces of the file first, so I can start watching it, like I could if I were downloading it over HTTP in one piece. i.e. watching while downloading.

If there isn't any, I'll probably have to hack the source code to make this possible. Bittorrent protocol allows this, because my client is asking other clients for specific (although random) pieces. It kind of defeats BitTorrent's design of distributing the rarest pieces first, but with tens/hundreds of seeders, it won't make a difference to me.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Interesting question, but unless your "slow" connection is pretty darn fast you're going to catch up to the tail end of the torrent reader (even with an "optimal" priority download). Video rates of 5 Mbps are common so unless your connection is greater than that you're going to exhaust the read process right away. You can give the reader a head start but that kind of defeats your stated purpose.

PS: I currently I call "slow" anything under 1 Mbps, "fast" is anything over 25 Mbps. And of course that evolves upwards over time. I'm on an "average" 15 Mbps connection now.

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I am talking about standard 1-1.5 Mbps divx video download, which I can smoothly watch with my 2 Mbps connection at home. –  Axarydax Sep 17 '10 at 17:31
    
@Axarydax: Based on those speeds I don't think you'll be happy even if you can prioritise... Still it's an interesting project. I suspect that NetFlix and the like use something similar - even though they apparently have the ability to modify the outgoing bit rate on the fly. What torrent code are you thinking of tweaking? –  hotei Sep 17 '10 at 19:54
    
This also might apply --> superuser.com/questions/59305/… –  hotei Sep 17 '10 at 19:56

Deluge has a plugin called Pieces which lets you set priority per piece.

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Azureus v2.5.0.4 has an option in settings (Transfer section) to prioritize the first and last pieces of file(s). (Attempts to download the very beginning and very end of a file first. For Support of early previewing.

http://www.oldversion.com/Azureus.html

I don't think this is a solution for what you want, doing what you want would defeat the performance of bittorent.

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There is a (kinda hacked) Azureus/Vuze version around that does exactly this for exactly this purpose. However, this approach will cripple the torrent-swarm if a lot of users would do it. The protocol relies on file pieces being evenly available. So most "official" clients don't offer an option like this.

I think your best bet is to hack on one of the open source clients around.

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The qbittorrent client has the option to download files in sequential order, at least the Linux version does. It's also available for Windows and Mac though I haven't used those versions.

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Bonus screenshot: i.imgur.com/nVR1f.jpg –  vtest May 14 '11 at 23:26

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