Jump Right in: ezNZB is a free Mac download that is designed to teach NZB-newbies how NZB downloading works. It will take you through the process step-by-step.
Overview: NZB downloading requires three things:
- An NZB downloader program such as SuperNZB (free download).
- An NZB search engine such as Binsearch.info (free).
- Access to a Usenet server. (Free if your ISP has one).
The Process: The steps below look complicated at first glance. However, it’s not that hard, and it won’t take that long to go through it:
- Think of a file that you want to download.
- Search for it on an NZB search engine.
- Download an NZB for your file.
- Load the NZB into your NZB client software.
- Configure your NZB program with your Usenet server logon info.
- Download your file.
- Verify, decompress, and play your file. (More below).
NZB files are plain text. So you can open and view them with any word processor. The text is in XML format, and NZB files can be freely copied between Macs, PCs, and web servers. So, you can use any NZB search engine to acquire your NZB files.
Usenet servers also operate in a standard way on the Mac and PC. And just as you don’t need special NZB files for your Mac, you don’t need a special Usenet server either.
However, most files on Usenet are uploaded by PC users. So, while you can easily download them, you may have to install additional software to use the files. For example, when downloading video files, you will find the majority of them to be in the Windows AVI format. But you can easily play almost any audio or video file on your Mac with the free VLC player. So, there is nothing to worry about there. Of course, if you download PC games or software, you would need some sort of emulator to use them on your Mac.
Usenet is very old; it was invented before the first Mac went on sale in 1984! So, Usenet has a few foibles. Since it was never designed for exchanging files, Usenet has no automatic error detection. This is dealt with by using PAR files, which you will see in almost every NZB that you download. Modern NZB downloader programs like SuperNZB will handle the PAR processing for you. So, most of the time, you don’t need to think about PARs.
Usenet was designed as a discussion system, so it still expects to handle small amounts of text data. Because of that, large files must be chopped up into thousands of little pieces before they can be uploaded to Usenet. So, that explains why NZB files themselves must be so large compared to torrent files, for example. The NZB must have a pointer to each and every little part on Usenet.
Most of the people who post to Usenet are in the habit of compressing and segmenting large files with WinRAR. So, when you are done downloading an NZB, you will often have a set of RAR files. If for some reason your NZB downloader fails to decompress the RARs, you can do so manually with MacPAR Deluxe.
To learn more about the nuances of NZB downloading, continue reading on this page: Learn to Download NZB Files.