NzbDrone: A Sick Beard Alternative

NzbDrone is a Windows only PVR for newsgroup readers that was released early 2012. Similar to Sick Beard, it monitors for new releases of your TV media and when available, snags them from Usenet. The development team is hard at work and has already released 7 updates since inception. At this point, you might be thinking why all the work when we already have Sick Beard?

Sick Beard and NzbDrone might appear identical, but there are couple of differences that have some users making the switch. Here are some things the developers say NzbDrone improves upon:

” Differences from Sick Beard:

  •     Weekly Automatic Updates (When available)
  •     Unit Test Coverage to catch the majority of issues before they hit the user
  •     Quality Profiles – Customize once and re-use for multiple shows
  •     Frequent updates from TheTVDB (12 hours)
  •     Faster when retrieving information from TheTVDB as well as scanning disk for episodes
  •     Full Windows service support
  •     Self-Monitoring – If it cannot reach the WebUI it is restarted automatically”

To basically sum everything up, NzbDrone is being described as a faster and more reliable system when compared to Sick Beard. One of the chief complaints about Sick Beard is that it tends to act a bit slow when you have a large amounts of shows updating. A smoother running NzbDrone eliminates that problem.

Let’s now move on to installing and configuring NzbDrone.

What is Required?

  1. NzbDrone – Download Here (Download & Extract the .ZIP and run “NzbDrone.exe” to complete installation. )
  2. Microsoft .NET Framework 4 – Download Here
  3. SABnzbd+ Installed and Configured – Guide Here
  4. Account with a NZB Index – NZBMatrix Recommended
  5. Usenet Provider – UsenetServer Recommended

A big list, but if you’ve been reading our guides for a while now, you probably are already setup with the bottom three.

Configuring NzbDrone

Settings Screen


Click “settings” at the top of the screen over the nzbdrone banner.

Indexers Configuration Tab


Expand the section by click the arrow next to the NZB index you use. For NZBMatrix fill out the following:

  • Enable: Check Off
  • User Name: Enter your NZBMatrix Username
  • API Key: Enter you NZBMatrix API found in your profile on the NZBMatrix.com website.

Download Client Tab

Hopefully by now you have installed and configured SABnzbd+. If not, follow our guide here.

  • Download Client: Sabnzbd
  • Download Client TV Directory: Set this to where you want the media to download to
  • Click the Auto Configure Button or fill in the remaining fields in manually
  • SABnzbd Host: localhost
  • SABnzbd Port: 8080 (change if you use something different)
  • SABnzbd API Key: Find this in the SABnzbd Settings
  • SABnzbd Username: Your SABnzbd Username or keep blank
  • SABnzbd Password: Your SABnzbd Password or keep blank

Click test to make sure everything works!

Notifications Tab

Here you can setup NzbDrone to send over notification to  XBMC, Plex, Growl, Prowl, Email, or Twitter. We suggest you setup either XBMC or PLEX, but this is optional.

 System Settings Tab

Not much to do here. You just might want to consider unchecking Launch Browser on startup.

  • Launch Browser: Uncheck (Up to you if you want NzbDrone to start on startup)
  • Port: 8989 (Default Setting)

So there you have it. NzbDrone is now installed and humming along on your machine. As you can tell from the installation, the UI for NzbDrone is much cleaner if we compare it to Sick Beard. In addition to that, once you start to use it, you’ll noticed an improvement in speed and reliability. The only pitfall right now is that it isn’t available for MAC, but that might come along as the project progressed. We also can’t forget that it hasn’t been out as long as Sick Beard so all the functionality isn’t there. But we get the impression from the NZBdrone forums that the development team is willing to listen to user feedback.

Have you had a chance to use NzbDrone? Let us know what you think below.

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