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©Copyright 2011 by Assassin HTPC All rights reserved.
This guide and its contents are copyrighted by Assassin HTPC

This may be used for personal use by the purchaser only; users are forbidden to reproduce, republish, redistribute or resell and material from this guide without the permission of Assassin HTPC.


Welcome to Assssin HTPC’s Blog. This is the most comprehensive and most detailed tutorial on the internet in regards to how to setup and use your HTPC.


Streaming & Downloading

Table of Guides (with quicklinks):

  • Premium Streaming Sites Comparison

  • Premium Streaming Site Integration (into Kodi)


Legal Disclaimer: Assassin HTPC in no way endorses or condones the acquisition of illegal or copyrighted material. Downloading these materials is at your own risk and we take or assume no liability for these actions. By reading this guide you agree to this disclaimer.

Downloading torrents is very simple. The only thing that may be considered complicated is running automated programs to “get” those downloads for you and “move” them into your media library afterwards. Fortunately for you, I have put together all the information you will need right below. You will need to choose wheter you want to use only torrents, only NZBs, or both. I’ve only included instructions for all of this in Windows. For torrents, I’ve found uTorrent to have the best combination of options and least bloat of all the bittorrent clients I’ve used (just make sure you are unchecking the “additional programs” during its install gui”.


Using VPN for Internet Protection

This guide was researched and authored by paid user AMG_Roadster. I appreciate his expertise and input for this guide…

Note – the information below from AMG_Roadster is still relevant, but I am currently rewriting this guide to reflect which VPN I use personally, my reasoning for using them, and a little more elaboration on additional VPN aspects you should be concerned with

Let me preface this section by stating that we do not condone the theft of copyrighted material. We strongly recommend that you obey your local laws concerning copyrights and acquire any and all media in a legal manner. It is important to know that copyright owners are becoming more active in their monitoring of Bittorrent and P2P software. The only way to be 100% safe is to acquire your material legally.

There are a number of reasons to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to mask your IP address and location. For example the BBC player is not accessible to you outside of the UK. One way to circumvent this limitation is to connect to a VPN server located in the UK. Or maybe your country blocks the use of Skype. Simply connect to a VPN server in another country and viola you have access to Skype. VPN is a great way to circumvent geolocation limitations that have been placed on your access to the many services and options available on the internet.

That being said increased anonymity offered by VPN services also increase your safety online if you do elect to share copyrighted intellectual property. One of the downsides of using VPN is that it still offers a single point of failure. There are a limited number of servers offered by VPN service providers and copyright holders often times have significant resources. They can connect the dots very easily and contact your VPN provider issuing a warning or attempting to have a subpoena served. Or If your VPN service provider is raided their logs and your IP address are now in the hands of law enforcement.

So you have read the above and are still interested in pursuing a VPN service.

Do not just you rush out and subscribe to a VPN provider – take your time and investigate their service to ensure that they support bittorrent traffic, find out if there are any data caps, if they limit the bandwidth, how many servers they have, the location of the servers, etc. In other words do you due diligence. You made an effort to investigate your CPU, memory, hard drive, etc. This is no different. We also strongly recommend that you at least start off paying by the month. This will cost you a little more but if the service sucks you are not stuck.

Now before we get further into VPN service providers and setting up VPN on your local machine you need to be aware that there is a huge security hole associated with PPTP-based VPN and IPv6. This means that services such as IPredator are broadcasting information linking to your real IP address. So the first thing we are going to do is to address this security hole.

IPv6 is the latest address protocol that will eventually replace IPv4. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 it has been enabled by default, but it is also a fact that IPv6 is not yet common and many software, routers, modems, and other network equipment do not support it yet.

You can also disable it by simply unchecking it from the Local Area Network Properties window, but this is not a permanent way to get rid of it. It gets enabled again once the system is restarted, so in order to permanently disable it, open the registry editor by clicking Start, then type regedit and hit Enter. Once it is launched, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > services >TCPIP6 > Parameters key.

Now right-click Parameters in the left sidebar and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value

Name the new parameter DisabledComponents and set the value of DisabledComponents to 0 and click OK.

That’s it, now restart your computer and IPv6 will be disabled permanently.

Now that we have laid the ground work for safe bittorrenting it is time to look at service providers. There are a number of options out there but here are seven providers that as of this writing did accepted P2P/bittorrent traffic although some conditions may apply.


HideMyAss Pro VPN is an easy to use application which anonymously encrypts your entire internet connection. The tool automatically works with any application or protocol including p2p/bit-torrent.

IP Address Location: US/UK/NL/DE/CA/SE

Update: Be very leery of HMA and carefully consider if you want them to be your VPN: Link



ItsHidden is a free VPN that works on BitTorrent (BT) traffic including uploading and downloading transfer. Thus, it’s useful for users who torrent traffic been throttled by their ISP, or users who need to hide themselves for anti-piracy organizations from sharing copyrighted materials.

IP Address Location: Netherlands

[ItsHidden Home]


BolehVPN provides a service to; bypass your internet throttle – allowing you to download torrents at max speeds, protect your surfing privacy, and bypass websites censored by your ISP. All this in one easy setup.

IP Address Location: EU/US



AceVPN is a VPN service that you can use to privately and securely surf and download on the internet without leaving a trace and/or being tracked. AceVPN allows P2P traffic only for premium accounts.

AceVPN requests their users to limit the upload and the download speed to 100kbps, so that it does not affect other users on the network.

IP Address Location: US



CyberGhost is a free VPN service with servers located in Germany. Actually, it’s a commercial VPN service that also has a free version. The free version, called Basic, it’s limited 10GB a month broadband usage. The P2P/torrent is allowed but with traffic limitations.

IP Address Location: Germany


PacketiX VPN

PacketiX.NET online test service is a free VPN service offered by SoftEther. It is a test platform for developing PacketiX VPN 2.0, a high-security VPN system. This service can be used to browse with Japanese IP address.

IP Address Location: Japan

[PacketiX VPN Home]


BTGuard reroutes all your BitTorrent traffic through servers in Canada. This means that anyone who connects to you via BitTorrent, will see BTGuard’s IP, and not yours. BTGuard is simple to install and use – just download and install. For more advanced users, you can also configure your own BitTorrent client.

IP Address Location: Canada


I am currently using HideMyAss.

[Update: Be very leery of HMA and carefully consider if you want them to be your VPN: Link These developments have occurred since this guide was written and there are likely better VPN options out there.]

As of 2013 I am currently using PrivatVPN which was recommended to me by multiple users. Its easy to use and so far has been fantastic.

I liked the option of being able to randomize servers, select servers by region and/or country, and automatically change VPN servers after a specified period of time. It also allows for secure IP bind. This means that you can prevent an application (aka bittorrent) from running unless your VPN software is running. A good way to ensure that you do not forget to anonymize yourself or that someone else does not start the program and expose you to the consequences.

The selection of country where the server is based does have tradeoffs. The greater the distance from your physical location the slower your upload and download speed. That being said selecting an IP address based in Russia for example may provide additional security due to their intellectual property laws verse those in the UK, US, Canada, etc.

The Dashboard is the main screen in you access in the HMA VPN client. This screen contains your login credentials, where you select the country you want to connect through, and the VPN protocol. Once you tell the client to connect to VPN you will see the connection log populate and confirm that you have a secure, encrypted connection. This screen is makes it very clear whether or not you are connected through a message at the top of the screen as well as changing the color of the connect/disconnect VPN button.

Below you can see that a successful connection has been established. This screen shows your original IP address and location as well as the new IP address and location you have established by connecting through the VPN service.

Here is verification that the connection information being reported by the VPN client is accurate.

Secure Binding Control – Secure Binding is designed to ensure that specified programs do not run unless the HMA VPN client has established a connection.

The IP Address settings allow you to change the currently assigned IP address, setup a random IP address change at specified time intervals, and to verify the current IP address you are showing to the world. It is important to note that if you setup a random IP address change that your true IP address will be exposed when changing servers.

The County Selection Page is self explanatory. It allows you to specify which servers you want the VPN client to be able to connect through and what VPN protocols.

Another VPN option is ItsHidden. The setup for this service is a bit different as there is no local client that you are running.

VPN Service Setup (Windows Vista):

Start —> Connect To:

Select Set up a connection or network

Choose Connect to a workplace and click Next

Choose Use My Internet Connection (VPN)

Enter “” as the Internet address and enter a Destination name (e.g. “ItsHidden”). Click Next

Enter the ItsHidden user name and password (you’ve received these after completing your purchase, and you can also find them in your receipt e-mail), check Remember this password if desired, and click Create.

To connect to ItsHidden VPN service: Start —> Connect To

Select “ITsHidden” and click Connect

Click Connect again

You are now connected to ItsHidden

To disconnect, right-click the VPN connection symbol in the system tray,

and under “Disconnect from”, select “Itshidden”.

These are just two of the VPN offerings available. Take you r time, look at and investigate the services offered and finally select the one best suited to your needs and situation. And remember that we do not condone the theft of copyrighted material. We strongly recommend that you obey your local laws concerning copyrights and acquire any and all media in a legal manner.


Installing and Configuring uTorrent

With your VPN in place, let’s get started with uTorrent.

Before we get started, let me clear up what may become a point of confusion if you perform a few “do I need a VPN” web searches. This very guide itself used to recommend uTorrent and Peerblock. Let me give you visual for how Peerblock should be regarded

Peerblock used to be considered pretty-good-protection. Things have changed in the past few years, and today it basically serves the following purposes

  1. Blocks several good connections – false positives
  2. Doesn’t keep up with bad connections – false negatives
  3. Doesn’t prevent anyone (blocked or unblocked) from pulling your IP from the tracker (assuming a public tracker)

So to reiterate . . . with your VPN in place let’s get started.  It offers some protection, but is No VPN.

Go to the uTorrent downloads page and grab the current stable release.

In case you aren’t already using it, I recommend you add Google Chrome as your default browser. As you notice it’s what comprises most screenshots throughout my guides, and I use it as my daily driver. If you clicked the download link from Chrome, then your download will be available afterwards in the bottom left as shown below. Otherwise locate your download (if using another browser) and double click the installer

You will get the standard windows security warning for any downloaded software unless you have your UAC notifications disabled. Click “run”

In the next several screenshots I will take you through the install steps for uTorrent beginning with a “Welcome to the uTorrent Setup Wizard” to which you’ll click next

Now click next past the warning about utorrent scam-alikes

Next you’ll have to accept the EULA to continue

The next step is standard “shortcut” options. I typically only want desktop icons, but choose whatever you prefer

Now we get to a Configuration page. I leave both boxes checked (default) since I want the exception to be added, and I want uTorrent to start automatically

Now we arrive on the junk. I always uncheck these boxes, but if you want to try out random software or feel that it further supports their hosting and don’t mind removing it later on then give it a try

To proceed on the next screen without accepting 3rd party software click “Decline Offer”

The final screen may trick some into “accepting” since the “I do not accept” radio button is greyed out. However, just click “I do not accept” and you will see that it does, in fact, let you decline the offer. Finally choose “Finish”

Now let’s open uTorrent (right click your uTorrent tray icon and select “Hide/Show uTorrent”) and start changing your preferences. (Either press Ctrl+P or select Options -> Preferences)

In the next several screenshots, I will show you the settings I use in uTorrent. I’ve chosen these settings based on how I want it to work with a VPN and the automation programs (sickbeard, couchpotato, and headphones). Each screenshot I’ve included should have the settings I use. Your first view should be the “General” tab (notice your column of preference options on the left). If not already checked, I ask uTorrent to start with Windows and start minimized. The default settings should match what you see below

In the next set of preferences “UI Settings,” I enable the option for minimize to minimize uT to tray. I ask the single click on tray icon to open (since I don’t prefer double clicks), and I uncheck the “show balloon notifications in tray” since I feel they are obstructive to my HTPC experience. Don’t worry about the “Show options to change . . . .” under “When Adding Torrents.” That “show options” dialog will only appear when adding torrents manually, and whether or not you leave it checked won’t make any difference to sickbeard, couchpotato, and headphones (they will never bring up the show options prompts if you set them up with the guides below)

In the “Directories” section you will need to put some thought into where you want your downloads to go. Typically you don’t want these to go on your SSD, but instead your recorded TV drive or some other “scratch” disk. As you see in the screenshot below, I have a uTor directory on my Recorded TV drive (E:). Within that directory I have an incomplete and complete directory. You can nest them if you want, but it does not make any difference. When your download finishes uTorrent will move it for you automatically. Same-disk file operations should be the same speed whether the folders are nested or not, and I like having separate directories. The other setting on this page that you’ll want to adjust is the “Automatically load .torrents from” checkbox. This can be anywhere you want, and this is a convenient option if you tend to search for torrents manually (since you can point it to your default download directory – which is what I do)

One thing that is noteworthy about the “Directories” section (that has changed in recent builds of uTorrent) is the LACK of an “Append Torrents label” option in the “Completed” downloads area. Not to worry as this option still exists in the webUI (which we will enable and use to configure this behavior

The next section is important to understand. In the “connection” tab your needs may vary. For example, if you use a private tracker and need to maintain a specific seed ratio, then you will probably need to use different settings than what I recommend. I disable NAT-PMP port mapping and disable UPnP port mapping, but I check the “Randomize port each start” box. I do not enable a Proxy server, though if you want to this is the place for it. (See alternative proxy settings in the VPN guide above if you want). I use my VPN provider’s client app instead (though they offer a proxy service) since it has some DNS leak protection and a kill switch if the VPN connection is lost. With my VPN provider, UPnP port mapping and NAT-PMP port mapping do not work on their listening ports. In fact, torrent seeding does not work very well on most VPN client apps, but as I know it does not work for mine I simply disable this altogether.

I leave Bandwidth, BitTorrent, and Transfer Cap at their defaults. Under Queueing I change BOTH the Minimum ratio (%) and Minimum seeding time to 0. I do this because I want sickbeard, couchpotato, and headphones to “move” files instead of copy. If uTorrent says they are still seeding then they won’t be processed until seeding is finished. I use this approch since it is tidier and I don’t have multiple files sitting around. As to the maximum number of active torrents and maximum number of active downloads, I leave these at default. Setting these too high can hurt your download performance, so if you want to increase them I would suggest adding +4 at a time until you can see your downlink speeds saturated (or just leave them at default like I do). I never have more than four or five simultaneous downloads anyway. The final step that is required to have uTorrent mark your downloads as “finished” wehn complete is the checkbox under “When uTorrent Reaches the Seeding Goal.” You’ll want to check the box named “Limit the upload rate to” and enter a value of 0

I leave Scheduler, Remote, Playback, Paired Devices, and Label at default.

Label would be a very important section for separating your download directories, but all of the automation programs I take you through below can apply a label to what they “send” to uTorrent for you. Instead of going the long way and applying rules and directories for those labls in this Menu we will simply check a box in the WebUI that will accomplish the same result with much less effort. I’ll show you this further down. For torrent automation this is very nice, because you will have “separate” download scan directory (i.e. one for sickbeard, couchpotato, and headphones), but each one will be a “sub-directory” of your completed downloads — like completed/movies, completed/tv, completed/music. That way sickbeard never goes and post-processes your music downloads or vice-versa, and your manual downloads don’t end up in your automatic post-processing folders.

The LAST preference I change (finally, almost there) is under the “Advanced” branch. Choose Advanced -> Web UI to enable webui. Create your username and password and choose an alternative listening port (since we had the default connection port randomized on each start). Don’t pick a port you use for something else (flexraid defaults to 8080, mediabrowser defaults to 8096, xbmc defaults to 80, plex defaults to 32400). I personally use 8085 for uTorrent.

Now whenever you want to manage uTorrent you can point your browser to localhost:port/gui/ (where port is what you chose above for the alternative listening port). Previously you had to manually add the yourself from their forums, but at least with 3.4.1 it is included when the setting is enabled in preferences. For the web ui, I as always recommend chrome. Firefox and IE have problems showing the extended -> options within “Labels” and “Remove” sometimes (depending on version), but I have never had an issue with Chrome.

Let’s go ahead and point our browser to localhost:8085/gui/ (unless you chose a different port) so that we can change one more option. (you will be prompted for the username and password you just created above)

Click the “Gear” icon to open preferences from the WebUI (shown in above screenshot with a red box around it). In the WebUI preferences, choose “Directories” on the left hand column. Then check the “Append the torrent’s label” checkbox I have shown below with a red box around it. Then apply your changes and select ok

Before diving into automation tools, lets take one last look around the desktop client. Notice on the left there is something called “Bundles.” If you haven’t updated uTorrent in a while, you may remember these as “Apps” (which is what they used to be called). Bundles are a good place to get some of your first content. You may not recognize much of the work here, and that is kind of the point. They have small indie films from different societies, non-label music, books, etc. The content presented their is referred to as “featured” and a lot of it has become “play only” rather than download.

The image below is from the previous guide, showing you how to get your first torrent from what used to be the “Apps” area. Rather than find a downloadable portion of the new “bundles” area and recreate this information, I’ve left the old picture. The show is Pioneer One

On this screen we can see a few important pieces of information.

  • The file(s) that are downloading located under “name”.
  • The size of these files.
  • Percent done of the download.
  • Status (Downloading vs Done/Sharing)
  • Seeds (Very Important: These are the people actively sharing the files. The more sharing usually the better resulting in more reliable and higher speed downloads)
  • Leechers (Somewhat Important: These are the people actively downloading the file from the seeds. You typically want a high seed to leecher ratio.)
  • Upload and Download Speeds: This will depend on the speed of your connection and the seed/leecher ratio as well as the seeds’ connection speed
  • ETA: Estimated time of arrival (how long the download has before completion)

Once the download has completed and you are finished using uTorrent right click on the file from the uTorrent main download screen and select “remove”. This will remove it from uTorrent which will allow you to move it on your HTPC to its new folder.

After removing it from uTorrent let’s go to where you told uTorrent to store your data. You should now see it in your folder. Right click on the file and select “Cut” – this will move it to its new location and delete the old file in the previous folder.

Since this is a TV Show lets go to your HTPC’s “TV Shows” folder.

Make a new folder named “Pioneer One”. Inside the “Pioneer One” folder make another folder named “Season One”. Now inside that folder left click and select “paste”. This will move this file into your new folder. I usually re-name my media at this point. Since this is the first episode of season one we need to rename it “s01e01”.

Its that easy! You just added a new TV show to your TV Shows folder!

There are a lot of websites out there to use to search for media for your Assassin HTPC. Good luck torrenting!

Now that your uTorrent client is configured, lets move on to some slick automation tools. This way you won’t have to mess with any searching, moving, or renaming unless you just want to for nostalgia


Improving Streaming in Kodi w/ Easy Advanced Settings

Easy advanced settings is an add-on from Kinkins repository that allows the common user to manipulate the .xml files (how Kodi acts) without learning how to read code and navigate tons of texts lines.  Its a great little add-on and can improve performance of several different Kodi features (if you know what you’re doing…or have a guide).

This guide has been adapted from Tekto’s guide on how to use Easy advanced settings with some comments and thoughts of my own.

Keep in mind these changes are to help with streaming and Video on Demand content.

Easy Advanced Settings have already been configured and activated on your Assassin HTPC instant download.

If you need to download direct form his repository to install it via zip file. You can find his repo HERE.

Before we get started you will need one piece of information for this:

From the Kodi Home Screen…Click S or go to System and note the amount of Free Memory.

Click Settings and then System Info

Note the Free Memory amount and write it down exactly.


No go back to Settings –> Add-ons –> My Add-ons –> Program Add-ons –> Easy Advanced Settings and click it to open.




The Goal of improving streaming is acheived by using as much free RAM as possible to Cache our video stream and smooth out any dropped rames or packets.

Kodi stores the video stream in a small buffer, 20mb by default, which consumes 60mb of RAM – 30MT “in” buffer, 30MB “out” buffer . We want to use as much as our device will let us, then we’re going to get Kodi to fill it as fast as possible to smooth out our stream and hopefully avoid any “buffering” stoppages.

We are Interested only in these settings for now:

Curl – commands to test our source response speeds

Buffer Mode – what we will cache

Read Buffer Factor – how fast to read

Cache Mem Buffer Size – how big to set the buffer

(ignore the HTTP ones)

We need to be EXTREMELY careful with the buffer size.  Making it too big will crash Kodi. You must avoid simply copying in numbers you find or that get posted up online which could leave you in a huge mess and more frustrated than the original buffering problem!

Advanced Setttings XML

curl ; (Client URL Library)

curlclientimeout = 10

curlowspeedtime = 10

These two commands basically allow us to test a host to see how fast it is and how long to test it for (both values or in seconds), this appears to make autoplay function quicker  and more accurately, but its not perfect by any means. It does help with manual selection and reduced “working” or “loading” waits on slow or bad sources.

I’ve set mine to 10 for both as you can see in the image further down the page, but if your internet is slow then you might need to start with 15 or even 20 or you may just get lots of timeouts when selecting links.

buffer mode – has four settings but we are only concerned with 2.  Set this to 2 to help with streaming buffering.

buffer mode 1 – local and internet files buffered

buffer mode 2 – internet files only

readbufferfactor – variable setting, too high and your device might get sluggish, so increase with caution. This number determines how fast we download the  stream “x avgbitrate”, 4-10 is ok, I have run with  100 in testing, but not much gain as a lot of sites limit the max stream rate per connection.  Start with 5.



&cachemembuffersize – This is the one that can get you into trouble if you wing it.  This is dictated by your free RAM (not storage) with Kodi loaded and waiting to go.   You can find your free memory in System, system info, summary or hardware.  This number is given in MB so we need to convert it into bytes (multiplyin by 1024) and then use 1/3rd of that number.

Now remember the free memory we wrote down earlier from the screen below?



IMPORTANT: You MUST check your free memory with Kodi loaded. Once you have that number you can calculate  as follows. Don’t blindly guess (got that yet?).

4,119 MB x 1024 = 4,217,856 Kilobytes

We want BYTES so we have to multiply even more:

4,217,856 x 1024 = 4,319,085,544


4,319,085,544 = 1,439,694,848

So that is what I would put in for the value of me cachemembuffersize (WITH NO Comma’s).

So Click cachemembuffersize

Delete the word  “DISABLED” and Key in your “Bytes” from above – no commas

Click done

Now back out 3 times to this screen


And Click Write XML File




Improving Streaming in FIRE STICKS w/ Kodi w/ Easy Advanced Settings

Easy advanced settings is an add-on from Kinkins repository that allows the common user to manipulate the .xml files (how Kodi acts) without learning how to read code and navigate tons of texts lines.  Its a great little add-on and can improve performance of several different Kodi features (if you know what you’re doing…or have a guide).

This guide has been adapted from Tekto’s guide on how to use Easy advanced settings with some comments and thoughts of my own.

This change is specifically to help the Fire Stick and other like devices perform better while streaming.

Easy Advanced Settings have already been configured and activated on your Assassin HTPC instant download and before this guide you should do the guide above this on Improving Streaming Performance



Now go back to Settings –> Add-ons –> My Add-ons –> Program Add-ons –> Easy Advanced Settings and click it to open.


This time Click Audio/Video Playback Settings


Click SKIP LOOP FILTER (DISABLED).  It should be the first item in red.

This is the one main setting we want to change to improve performance, the rest we can leave as is:

This setting is important for Amazon Firestick’s because it reduces the overhead on the GPU by removing some “unseen” frames from the video stream.

Change this setting to 8 which is the optimal Fire Stick setting.


Press Back 2 times.


Don’t forget to WRITE THE XML FILE!

























You can back up to the twice and hit Write XML file


oing to get Kodi to fill it as fast as possible to smooth out our stream and hopefully avoid any “buffering” stoppages.

©Copyright 2011 by Assassin HTPC. All rights reserved.
This guide and its contents are copyrighted by Assassin HTPC.

This may be used for personal use by the purchaser only; users are forbidden to reproduce, republish, redistribute or resell and material from this guide without the permission of Assassin HTPC.