How do you interpret BitTorrent file names?

Bittorrent filenames are often filled with cryptic abbreviations, leaving the uninitiatied puzzled as to what they mean.

The general standard is 350mb per 1 hour TV show (44 minutes), or 175 mb per half hour show (22 minutes). Movies are generally ripped at a higher quality, so a typical movie is around 700MB or higher.

Season/Episode number is usually specified in the format SSxEE. So, for example, Season 1, Episode 9 would be denoted as 01×09, or S1x09.

Here is a list of common abbreviations and their meanings.

  • XviD = Open Source Video Codec, equivalant of DivX
  • DivX = Video Codec
  • VCD = is an mpeg1 based format, with a constant bitrate of 1150kbit at a resolution of 352×240.
  • SVCD is an mpeg2 based (same as DVD) which allows variable bit-rates of up to 2500kbits at a resolution of 480×480 (NTSC) which is then decompressed into a 4:3 aspect ratio when played back.

  • NTSC / PAL = NTSC and PAL are the two main video standards. NTSC has a higher frame rate than PAL, but PAL has an increased resolution and a generally sharper picture.

  • HDTV = High Definition Television. This means that the video was captured off of a digital feed, and you can expect this file to be at 16:9 resolution. Note that this doesn’t always mean that what you are downloading is a HD quality.
  • HR = High resolution. Usually used in conjunction with “HDTV,” this indicates that the file is at or near HD quality.
  • LOL – Reference to a release group.
  • AC3 5.1 = Name of AudioCodec used. Think MP3, only AC3 is a codec for surround sound, and 5.1 means how many channels are encoded…
  • PDTV = indicates that the process used to capture the video is completely digital, and at no point is the signal turned into an analog one. HDTV is the same except that in the case of PDTV, the original broadcast was not high definition.

  • CAM = indicates that the video was recorded in a theater by some guy with a video camera, and it usually looks and sounds pretty terrible.

  • TS / Telesync = is similar to “CAM” except that the camera is usually mounted in the projection booth and the sound is taken directly from the projector.
  • TC / Telecine = a digital scan of the movie theater filmprint.

  • DVDrip = means that the file was ripped directly from a DVD.

  • SCR = indicates that the file is a DVD rip of a “screener” film given to members of the Academy for voting consideration purposes. This film is usually watermarked with the words ”

    watermarked with various messages like “FOR CONSIDERATION PURPOSES ONLY”.

  • VHSRip = copy of a VHS cassette. Mainly used in XXX releases.