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Generally, and probably for good reason, BitTorrent clients download across all of the file equally based on various other factors. However when downloading some videos I would prefer to get the start of the file first, or the latter third of the file first, etc. Is there a way to do this with any client?

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i don't think this is possible..not with utorrent –  tumchaaditya Jul 23 '12 at 6:34

2 Answers 2

No, there is no way to prioritize an arbitrary part of the file. Years ago, I asked the devs of eMule to implement this feature because sometimes while watching a show, the network cuts off the last minute or I’d miss a few seconds after one of the commercial breaks, and I didn’t want to download an entire episode just to watch a few seconds. They shot the idea down, stating that it would hurt the swarm if people could pick and choose what they get.

It is no different with µTorrent, or any other P2P system that relies on evenly distributing parts of a file among the peers.

The closest thing to this is the ability (usually set to off by default) to prioritize the first and last part of the file which was done specifically so that the file can be verified as genuine and not a fake (because most file-types put the header and meta-data at the beginning and a few put it at the end).

In µTorrent, set the bt.prio_first_last_piece advanced option:

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I'm interested to know if this is still the case - my impression is that popcorntime.io now prioritises the start of files from a select range of sources… –  memeLab Aug 29 at 13:03

From the main window, click the detailed info pane. Select the files tab.

Right click on the part of the file you want to increase the priority of, and change the priority from normal to high.

The following is from the bittorrent help manual

  • Priority displays the priority given to the file.
    • high means BitTorrent will attempt to complete the file more aggressively relative to other files of lower priorities (low or normal). If there is an opportunity for this file to become more complete, BitTorrent will take it. Note that this does not guarantee the completion of the file, or that the file will complete before other files of lower priorities.
    • normal is the default priority given.
    • low means BitTorrent will attempt to complete the file less aggressively relative to other files of higher priorities (normal or high). If there is an opportunity for another file of higher priority to become more complete, BitTorrent will take it over downloading for this file. Note that this does not guarantee that the file will complete after other files of higher priorities.
    • skip means the file will not be downloaded. Do note that some files share pieces with other files. As such, you might notice that a part of a skipped file (or possibly an entire file, if it is smaller than the piece size) is downloaded. Understand that this does not mean BitTorrent has ignored your request to not download the file.
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It is my understanding that this is the priority of a file relative to multiple files. However if there is one 2GB video file then it will have no affect on the outcome of which part of the file is downloaded first. –  Dan Roberts Apr 22 '12 at 14:57
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Vuze allows you to prioritize the first and last parts of a single video file...forum.vuze.com/message.jspa?messageID=219932 –  Moab Apr 22 '12 at 15:32
    
As does uTorrent. –  Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Apr 22 '12 at 16:02
    
Looks like that simply allows you to check the beginning and end to ensure it is a valid file. Not quite what I'm looking for but nice to know. –  Dan Roberts Apr 22 '12 at 22:53

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