If you’re like me and have been spoilt by tvrss.net’s wonderful rss service to automate the downloading of your favourite linux distributions, you might have noticed they have been down for over a week now.

Tvrss.net has been displaying the following message to visitors:

Website downtime

Please check here soon!

Now unless you’re Technorati, a week is a hell of a long time for a website to be down for unscheduled maintenance and finally I got sick of seeing no new torrents in my Utorrent RSS downloader.

After spending a bit of time searching around on the internet I gather tvrss.net won’t be coming back anytime soon. Recently popular rss site ‘FeedMyTorrents’ closed down due to high hosting costs and multiple take down threats. When they posted their farewell message they directed users to tvrss.net.

This was back around the 20th or so of May. Looking at the comments on a post by Adam Turner, it seems that tvrss.net went down shortly after this most likely due to similar problems (although I haven’t been able to verify this).

In any case there’s a bit of an rss void left by the demise of tvrss.net so here’s the best three alternatives I could find.

1. ShowRSS

ShowRSS has been started by an ex FeedMyTorrents user and allows users to signup and create customs feeds for their favourite linux distributions. I already have Utorrent set up to download certain linux distributions so ShowRSS isn’t really for me.

If you can be bothered signing up and setting it up though I guess it’s convenient in that you don’t have to rely on local settings for Utorrent as the site delivers a custom feed. The signup page requests a username, password and captcha authentication so privacy sh0uldn’t be that much of an issue, although I don’t know if IP addresses are logged.

ShowRSS do have public feeds but it’s a separate feed for each show which can be annoying to add if you’ve already got Utorrent filtering set up. Also there is a 2 hour delay on the public feeds and a 1 hour delay on custom feeds.

One final thing that seems a bit odd is that TorrentFreak recently quoted the founder of ShowRSS as stating:

Since the admin is in Spain and torrent sites have been ruled legal there if no revenue is generated directly from an infringement.

“I won’t get any benefits or put any kind of ads on the website, I’m paying the server with my own money,” he told TorrentFreak.

“In Spain that’s 100% legal.”

I note there’s a donate button on ShowRSS’ main page as well as a “Thanks a lot to everyone who is donating!” message. Not sure how long they’ll be around if they keep that up.

2. Mininova VTV and BT-Chat EZTV feeds

This seems to be the easiest solution to replacing tvrss.net till something better comes along. All you’ll have to do is to add the MininovaVTV and BT-Chat EZTV feeds to your torrent client and all your old show filters should work.

Note: The Mininova EZTV feed links to text files which don’t work in uTorrent, I’ve updated the link to use the BT-Chat EZTV rss feed which works. Also at least one of the trackers Mininova uses for the VTV feed requires registration. To get around this use the VTV Piratebay feed below.

Having two feeds isn’t as convenient as tvrss.net’s ‘unique’ feed was as it would combine EZTV and VTV removing duplicate releases. However, if you’re using Utorrent checking the ‘smart episode filter’ checkbox in the rss downloader should stop duplicates from being downloaded from the individual feeds.

Unfortunately this probably means you’ll miss out on ‘proper’ releases and if you’ve been downloading linux distributions for a while you’ll know it’s not uncommon to see 2 or sometimes even three propers released for a single episode.

Currently I don’t see anyway around this until something better comes along.

3. PirateBay EZTV and VTV feed

The Pirate bay EZTV and VTV feeds are probably best used as a backup more then anything else.

The Pirate Bay feeds only lists 10 items vs. Mininova’s 20 items. This can be a pain as you’ll miss things if your pc is off for a while. Remember it’s not uncommon for more then ten releases to be put out in a single day at the peak of the US linux distribution season.

Unfortunately none of these options are as convenient as TvRSS.net was but it’s the best there is publicly available. Most people can’t be arsed playing around with private torrent sites so hopefully a good hassle free replacement for TVRSS comes along soon.