Past year has been crazy, lots of old staffers moving on, some coming back once more. Lots of new faces in the staff as well as in userbase, love you all. Caution: stats will follow. We've just breached magical 100,000 torrent mark few weeks back, which is amazing pit stop for all of us. On average, BTN's users have ratio of 1.28, astonishing for ratiofree tracker. Mean number of seeders per torrent is sitting nicely at 11.85, while mean number of snatches per alive torrent at 103.09. Total amount of snatches is around 28.1 million, which equates to 846 snatches per active user. Year ago, classes from Users up to Masters consisted of 30,385 guys/gals, today we're at whopping 32,721. Around 300 new torrents are uploaded daily, including foreign releases.

I couldn't have imagined writing birthday post for 4th cakeday year ago, funny how we end up in these places. Its time to think back all the things that these wonderful 4 years have brought us, sure, some of us haven't been here as long, though we can reminisce about the first thing we remember. Lets make 5th running year the most memorable yet! We wish to especially thank all content providers/uploaders, you're the ones giving us endless hours of quality TV. On behalf of the whole staff of BTN: thank you for being a member, all this would be in vain without you guys to support us.

Let the festivities begin!

4 Years on The Air, 4 Years of BTN; Some Personal Thoughts

So I was asked to write another one of these and I figured I might as well. Fair warning though; it's a lengthy post filled with incoherent drivel drafted from this drunkard's perspective. Skip it if it pleases you. The underlying message is: Life used to be pretty lame, but then there was BTN.

Do you remember being a slave to network broadcasting? Being forced to plan your viewing habits based solely on the schedule set by some corporate fatcat sitting behind a desk on the other side of the country? I do. But what if you had plans the night your favourite TV show was airing? What if there was dodgy weather in your area and you couldn't get reception?! Too bad peasant! Try to catch the re-air in 6 to 9 months. And what about commercial breaks? Remember them? You know, those tedious, never-ending interruptions to your favourite TV shows? I do. Oh man, this show is reaching its thrilling climax and then suddenly BAM, here's some crusty old fossil trying to tell you about this amazing new vacuum cleaner! Maybe you could go and prepare dinner or have a quick toilet break during the commercials. That's a good idea. But what if it takes too long? There's no rewind feature you know! What if you miss the exciting conclusion to the show?! Too bad peasant! Try to catch the re-air in 6 to 9 months.

I was a child of the 90's and there was a TV show that everyone in my grade at school watched; The X-Files. Oh yes, the gripping paranormal adventures of Detectives Mulder and Scully. It was crucial that you watched this show as kids at school would spend a lot of the following day discussing the events of the episode and possible directions the series may go in. If you missed it, you were a NOBODY. You'd have to go spend the next day at school with the kid that eats glue and has unprovoked violent outbursts. Watching the new episode of The X-Files was required. That's all well and good but the damn thing aired at 8:00pm sharp, which just so happened to be the same time that we had dinner. Can we watch TV during dinner? Oh my goodness gracious no. At the dinner table making stupid conversation with stupid family, thank you very much. Sometimes dinner would be delayed and I'd get to see the opening act of my favourite thing on TV, and I'd get hooked. I don't care about dinner tonight, I'll go hungry. There'd be a screeching voice from the other room; "Come and eat your damn nuggets you little shit!!" Being a sophisticated 11 year old I'd respond with; "Shutup Mum, X-Files is on! Gawd!!" Needless to say she'd always win and I'd have to go and eat my damn chicken nuggets. To be fair though, they were amazing. But what about my show? Ahh, see - there was this device called a VCR. Remember VCRs? I do. They allowed you to record your favourite TV shows and watch them later at your own convenience! What a wonderful age we live in. So I'd pop that bulky tape in, press record and go and have dinner with the family comfortable in the knowledge that I'd watch the best thing on TV later and not become a social outcast at school tomorrow. At least this way I could fast-forward through the commercials too. Hooray. Upon reflection, it's crazy to think that this is how we lived our lives. Like drones without any free-will, we'd have to plan our daily activities around certain times that the networks decided to air their award-winning TV series. If the old man didn't get the Sunday paper which included the TV guide, I'd have no idea what was on that week. Remember TV guides? I do. "This week on The X-Files - Mulder and Scully encounter aliens or some shit." Woohoo, sounds like good watching!

Years would pass and technologies would develop. DVDs would slowly force VCR video out of the marketplace, rendering them redundant and out-dated. The bloated square televisions of yesteryear were replaced with slim 16:9 sets capable of displaying pristine high definition pictures. HDDVD would come soon after offering a sharper image for those with compatible technology. It would only enjoy a brief monopoly on the market however as BluRay gradually gained popularity. To this day, BluRay remains the leader in image and sound quality for digital media. Remember watching retail DVDs and BluRays? I do. Either purchasing the things outright or renting them from those ancient buildings known as "video stores". You'd spend your actual real life money on them, take them home hoping and praying that they aren't shit. That's fair enough I suppose but the things had the audacity to make you sit through previews of other media! "This Fall on Fox - A man and his dog become NBA champions and everything is not as it seems!" Oh please. Can I skip this garbage? Nope. As P2P filesharing was being used more and more the world over, they started adding anti-piracy propaganda into them. Before you were allowed to watch your film or TV show you were forced to wait for the "You wouldn't download a car" stuff to end. Eh? Download a what? That's amazing. Teach me how to do that, I had to pay for my car and it was expensive. Again, can I skip this garbage? Nope. And why am I being forced to watch this anyway, I obviously purchased this damn DVD. I did the right thing, man.

Things may have changed since, but this is how I remember them.

The internet age came and with it the bittorrent protocol. Public trackers would spring up and cater to the needs of millions of filesharers across the globe. They offered a practically infinite number of files that appealed to a huge audience, all available at the click of a button. People used these public indexers at their own risk however as anti-piracy groups would target their vast swarms and hand out cease and desist notices like candy. The download speeds were poor, the presentation of content was lackluster and often there was no way of knowing what the hell you were actually downloading. Why was this? Here we have this wonderful avenue to share our favourite films, TV shows, music, what have you and it was still a mediocre substitute for actually buying the things legitimately. The problem manifested in the simple fact that there was no accountability. The BT protocol only works when used correctly, i.e. actually sharing data. There would be no way to track share ratios on public indexers, let alone enforce it. The uploaders had no responsibility to actually upload what they said they were uploading. You could spend hours waiting for a download of the latest blockbuster film to finish only to find out that your computer is now infected with malware. Oh dear. Surely there was a better way for people to share content. To actually be held accountable for their actions and take a bit of responsibility. There was.

Private trackers that required users to register with a legitimate email address, username and password began to launch - perhaps the most famous of which being Oink's Pink Palace in May, 2004. These private trackers were revolutionary in that for users to maintain their membership, they must maintain a positive share ratio - i.e. give more than they take, and abide by a certain set of guidelines, enforced by people on a staff team. There was content quality control, moderation of torrents and set rules in place to maintain the integrity of the tracker. If you messed up son, you were out the door. Members loved it and it paved the way for other trackers specialising in different content to hit the scene. Movie trackers, ebook trackers, porn trackers and games trackers launched in direct competition with the plethora of scene and general trackers that flooded the already crowded private tracker market. Filesharers discovered that content on these niche trackers stayed alive for longer as there was more interest in them when compared to general sites that stocked a bit of everything. Most of these trackers had one thing in common though - to gain access, you must be invited. Seldom did private trackers succeed that were open to the public, where any mug off the street could sign up and run amok. There are obvious exceptions to this of course, but this rationale being the general consensus. TV specific trackers launched too, with great success. Here users could download their favourite television series and stuff that had aired that day! Imagine that, not living in the USA and being able to watch TV shows so soon after they aired on the east coast. For years, a few TV trackers enjoyed a share of the torrenting TV lovers' attention until one cold day in November, 2009 a gazelle-based tracker launched with its flash design and unheard of ratio-free regulations. Many questioned its philosophy and scoffed at its rules. Ratioless had been trialed before, but only on small community based general trackers. This was the first time a niche tracker had attempted to employ the idea, with its own modifications and incentives of course. You mean to say that this TV site doesn't require users to have a positive ratio? That they don't need fast upload speeds? Well that won't work, what a stupid idea. The domain name is even misspelled... I give it a week. BTN had announced itself.

Last year I wrote a little piece that traced BTN's routes, from humble beginnings to dominant market leader. One man's vision brought to life by a dedicated staff team and passionate user base. Much of it doesn't bare repeating, but here's the gist - crude TV tracker launches using a slightly modified gazelle codebase, to minimal fanfare. Userbase grows due to a relaxed invite policy (never in its 4 years has BTN had open registrations mind you) and friendly staff relations with other trackers. Ratioless method begins to be heralded as genius as torrent volume and retention exceeds all expectations. Design slowly transforms into the generally agreed upon, categorically correct way to display TV content. Community becomes tight-nit, people begin caring about what goes on and members value their accounts. BTN becomes a primary TV source for the majority, and their go-to site when a show finishes airing. Basically, crap to good in just a few short years.

So what about this past year? 2013 has been a year of consolidation for BTN. A year that has cemented it into bittorrent folklore, advancing from a promising young TV tracker built on a solid foundation to becoming a top-shelf community only matched in content, design and activity by two other sites; what.cd and PTP. Sometimes referred to as the holy trinity of private trackers, these three gazelle sites have consistently proven that if you find a popular niche and provide a platform for users to work with, anything is possible in this game. To even be mentioned in the same sentence as these elite trackers is an honor and something for which we here on the staff team are very proud.

This year has seen BTN receive a face-lift, introduce a progressive donation method, surpass 100,000 active torrents and done its best to keep an ever-expanding user base interested and engaged. With the new SMPTEv3 theme (and light alternative) BTN has shed its baby-faced, eager to impress image and transformed into the sharp, clean-cut badass of the torrenting world that you see before you. I remember pitching the idea for the new default theme to our Lead Designer PrettyFly and he was all over it. Labeling my design skill as crap is an understatement, but this guy... well he's a pro. "Hey PF, can you give me a Remy riding a unicycle in an astronaut suit cutting up a pineapple?". Before I can go and take a piss there is a message in my window with a link; "Sure, here it is". A common first impression when a new member signs up to BTN is "This site looks good". Well with the talent we are blessed to have behind the scenes, it is little wonder. Found a series that doesn't have any banners? Send a Staff PM with a link, our designers love this stuff. Have a surplus of Lumens? Why not head over to the Lumens Store and purchase a Custom Avatar or Signature made by our team to your specific instructions!
2013 also saw the introduction of BitCoins (BTC) as a donation option. While not being quite as straightforward as PayPal, it provides enhanced security for both parties involved in the transaction process, from user to staffer. There are guides available in the knowledgebase for people new to BTC transactions and we are forever looking forward at alternative options. It is the people that fork out their hard-earned that make all this possible. They provide the staffers with a platform to continue their labour of love. More importantly, they provide their 35,000 peers with a site that consistently delivers them their night's entertainment. The donors keep this old steam train chugging along, and while my limited understanding of the English language can not do justice to the sincere gratitude I have for these people, I want them to know what they mean to BTN, the users, the staff team and myself. Thank you.

Sometimes I am asked about the relaxed trumping rules that BTN employs. What's with all the damn releases? Do we really need this many? Why does BTN see the need to have encodes of encodes? Well, my philosophy has always been that too many releases is better than not enough, that choice is a wonderful thing and that BTN should always be the first stop when a member is in search of a particular release. I also know what it is like to have God-awful internet. Spare a thought for your fellow members that aren't fortunate enough to have GBit to the home, that perhaps live in a rural area of a country that already has uninspired internet coverage. Perhaps their internet is slow, perhaps mercilessly capped. And perhaps they genuinely don't care how poor the quality is so long as its watchable. Maybe they prefer to watch their downloads on their 14" monitor and don't need a 114GB full 1080p remux of My Little Pony. Consider that when it takes 9 hours to download a 720p scene encode of an episode, mSD is manna from heaven. Like many things on BTN, this policy is subject to change and perhaps more strict trumping rules will be introduced at some point. But for the foreseeable future, this is how it stands. Embrace choice, and remember - no one is forcing you to download anything you don't want.

I've been very pleased to see the community aspects of the site gain in popularity. More news items are being posted in the TV News section, there are more frequent posts in the forums and the IRC has achieved record participation. BTN might as well be a direct download link site if it weren't for the community. It makes the place seem like a mutually beneficial clubhouse for sharing TV lovers. Where friendships are forged and alliances maintained for the greater good. Regardless of the fantastic television archive BTN has to offer, it's often the thing that keeps many members coming back for more. The forums are where your voice can be heard, not only by your peers, but also the mugs that run this two-bit operation. I mentioned it last year and it is still just as relevant - you CAN have a direct impact on the direction BTN takes in the years to come just by offering suggestions and ideas, bugs and their solutions, further incentives for members to seed longer etc. I encourage everyone to stop by the forums every now and then even if it is to post something as mundane as a welcome message for new users.

Then there's the IRC. Fun fact - 4 out of every 10 internet deviants have at one point or another had at least one conversation in #BTN. It is a breeding ground for all that is unholy, a cesspool of crude behaviour and a haven for the deeply disturbed. And that's why we all love it. It's the place where you quickly discover that every member has their own personality traits, unique views and that all these usernames are actually real people. #BTN is a channel that is never dead, where there are always at least four or five users bleating on about God knows what. Often crass, seldom mature, but never dull. You won't find articulate discussions of fine arts, literature and politics. There won't be topics of conversation that you would ever repeat to your mother. More often than not, the topic of discussion is a variation of: "what is this lump on my ballsack, help me". The only advice I can give is to pick your time to participate. There are extended periods during the day when the trolls must return to below their bridges for slumber; a time when the normals are allowed to roam free. It is at these moments when conversations take place that could indeed expand your mind. Where you might just feel obligated to contribute and impart your wisdom. When you might come to realise that this community is full of like-minded individuals all sharing the common passion of television, among other things. But there will also be times when the fragile among us should steer clear. When the familiar names return and begin to pick targets and if I could give some advice - do not engage. Like bored school children, they only seek a reaction. Pick your time participate because occasionally in instances like this it is entertaining to just lurk. Watch these morons make fools of themselves, bicker with one another and formulate arguments that make 12 year olds seem like seasoned debaters. It's typically better entertainment than whatever show you just downloaded from BTN. There are the familiar names like bDk that enjoy going out of their way to make you feel uncomfortable. That thrive on a sense of superiority and will stop at nothing to appear exceptional. If you come across as weak, you will be taken to school, so be prepared. But they are very often humorous and in their own unique way, entertaining. Without them, #BTN would be one of those lame tracker channels that has one boring nerd saying "hello" at the same time everyday followed by 18 hours of nothing. P.S. I'm taking bets of 5 to 1 that bDk will be in jail for crimes against humanity within the next 3 months by the way. But for the most part; #BTN and the many side channels are a fun place to hang out and chat with people that share common interests. If you've never given it a go, I'd definitely recommend it. As in our daily lives, there are people on this IRC network that will make you laugh, and others that will make you cry. So join us and experience what has evolved into an ongoing lesson in humanity.

This site is being used constantly around the world. More than 10,000 people browse and download shows from BTN every day. At this very moment there are over 500 complete strangers clicking around. We have the Americans with their sheer unparalleled numbers and familiarity with the content at hand, the Aussies with their shitty internet and violent animals, the Europeans with their funny languages and strange customs and the Brits who contribute nothing more than dry wit, lackluster sporting ability and stubborn matter-of-factualism. We have the dedicated fanatical TV nerds who live for this stuff, the casual "maybe a couple shows a week, often have better things to do" Johhny Torrenter types and the slackers who take up space and generally just don't give a shit.We have the experienced filesharers from way back in the day, the average private tracker aficionados that found their way into BTN through word-of-mouth and the lucky nubs with friends in high places. We have the happy-go-lucky novices who want nothing more than to remain a member of this TV haven, the skilled (often egotistical) cappers and encoders that work around the clock to provide unique content, the relentless First Line Support and TV Techs that are here to provide a quality service, the fierce Moderators and Administrators banning accounts and acting tough and the clueless SysOps way up in the ivory tower at BTN headquarters pretending to know what they're doing and making the big decisions. From all walks of life and from every corner of the globe. All sharing one common passion - the continued and unwavering success of the dominant force in TV trackers, the pinnacle and benchmark of all its rivals and the place that we are all fortunate enough to call home; BTN.

Enough rambling from me. This thread is now open to your input. Tell us YOUR BTN story. How were you invited? Has it effected your daily life? How do you watch your TV shows? How do you store them? What is it about BTN that makes you want to seed longer? Why do you prefer to download your television content from here rather than other trackers/usenet etc? What do you loathe about this place? Let's hear it!

Finally, as birthdays are typically the time for gift giving and happiness - a few things for the users to note:

• 72 hours of site-wide 2x upload, effective immediately.

• 24 hours of open invites for Power User and above, effective immediately. Invites are now being stocked in the Lumens Store. Elites and above have unlimited and need not purchase more. As always, take a bit of pride in your TV tracker. Only invite people that you know will contribute and appreciate this site as much as you do. Don't go advertising your invites publicly, just invite those few friends that you know have been waiting for so long to get in. The staff team have been instructed to monitor invite activity during this period and open invites can be terminated at a moment's notice should people be doing the wrong thing. For more information, please consult this knowledge base article.

• A new top userclass has been introduced - Overlord. This will be the final class ordinary members can reach, no more will ever be added. The privileges bestowed upon the Overlords will for now be the same as Master but are subject to change. The requirements are - 250,000,000 Bonus Points, 35,000 Snatches, 100TB of Total Data, 250,000 Days of Total Seedtime and 3 Years of Membership. Good luck, nerds.