OpenSubtitles – The Web’s Largest, Completely Free Searchable Subtitles Database
It’s a rather annoying moment when you realise that film, episode or documentary you downloaded (completely legally, of course) doesn’t come with the necessary subtitles.
The key is in the name, but OpenSubtitles.org aims to be as open as possible. This has allowed for a few features that give the website the edge over the competition.
The home page is packed with info and small text, but if you’re simply after a quick download then you’ll be done in no time.
Finding the subtitles you’re after is a fairly straightforward process. On the main page, enter your search query and hit Search. You’ll immediately be taken to a list of possible films that match your query.
Once you’ve found the film you’re after you’ll be taken to the subtitles results for that film. The language of the subtitles you are downloading is indicated via the flag in the second column of the results.
Simply click on a result to learn more information, add a rating or comment or click Download (ZIP) to download your subtitles. Extract the archive (put the subtitles file in the same directory as the movie, for ease) and you’re good to go.
You can then use your favourite media player to choose the file you just downloaded as a subtitle track and finally enjoy your movie.
In line with the openness mantra that OpenSubtitles.org follows, there are a few other ways of getting hold of your subtitles. There happens to be an API for the website, which a number of applications take advantage of.
The list of supported media players is a fairly long one. It’s also refreshing to see some big-name projects on the list.
Simply click Subtitles then Find Subtitles on OpenSubtitles.org. Your results will be showed almost immediately, and can be directly downloaded with a click.
Another media solution that makes use of OpenSubtitles.org is Boxee , the media centre application which transforms your TV into an internet-ready entertainment centre. Simply click the closed caption (“CC” in a speech bubble) button and Boxee will automatically connect and display results.
There are currently more than 220 registered user agents making use of the API, so there’s a good chance you’ve already got software that supports OpenSubtitles.
There’s also the website’s own project, the OpenSubtitles MKV Player which only works on Windows. Much like the other programs, it is a player that connects and downloads subtitles for you (though there are better media solutions out there).
Uploads & Requests
If you’re a particularly patient individual with a love of helping out your fellow man then you might be tempted to upload subtitles. You don’t necessarily have had to slave away on each and every line, you just might find a version in your collection that the website doesn’t have.
Simply click the Upload link to be taken to the subtitles upload page. You will need to input a fair bit of information related to the film that you’ve subtitled, including the IMDB ID and how many frames per second (FPS) your version adheres to.
If you can’t find the subtitles you’re after then you can lodge a request, but you’ll need to register on the site before you can do so. You can also see what everyone else is after, and whether you can help out.
If all that’s not enough, then there’s also some add-ons for your browser. For iGoogle users, you can add an OpenSubtitles gadget, there’s also a Firefox subtitle matcher add-on [No Longer Available] and an Opera widget if you’re that way inclined.
There’s loads of subtitle search engines and databases online, but none quite offer the plug-and-play ease of OpenSubtitles.org. The use of an API to deliver the content directly within media players is second to none.
Whether you’re physically searching yourself or have a media player that uses the API, you probably won’t find a faster way to download subtitles online.
Do you have any favourite subtitle spots? Do you use Boxee or SMPlayer and rely on the ability to directly download subtitles? Share the love in the comments.