The days of being able to buy android TV boxes blantantly loaded and advertised as offering pirate satellite and cable content may be coming to an end. Traders that have been offering Android boxes complete with apps that enable free viewing of TV shows, movies, and live sports events found themselves in hot water after raids by UK authorities. Trading Standards, police and Sky TV.
The source of the problems lie with the free media software known as Kodi (formerly xbmc) which enables users to avoid paying subscriptions to services like Sky, Netflix, Sky and BT Sports. Hardware such as android devices, Apple TV boxes, computers and the Raspberry PI can all run this software. Although Kodi is legal to own and download, the problems come when third-party addons are added allowing all the illegal stuff in.
Android and other media boxes are perfectly legal to sell but more and more sellers are loading them full of illegal streaming services and selling them on Ebay and Amazon as ‘fully loaded’ devices. It has gotten so blatant that many sellers are openly advertising the fact that they offer free satellite, cable and viewing of any movie or TV show ever made. The sellers are becoming blase’ about the fact that what they are doing is highly illegal.
Raids have already been carried out by Trading Standards accompanied by police officers on Android box sellers that have boxes already setup to stream and download unauthorized content to the buyer.
So what does this mean? Well Android TV box sellers will be frantically scrambling around changing their dodgy listings (whilst also changing underpants) and hoping they dont get a knock on the door. Meanwhile users can still buy android and other TV devices, but will probably have to load all the apps and add-ons themselves.
Are Android TV Boxes Illegal?
Buying any android device including android boxes is perfectly legal, but the legality issue arises when it is used to view illegally distributed content. it is a bit of a grey area because users do not download the content, but just stream it. Although content stored on a hard drive or downloaded to any device is definately a no-no, streaming is never stored on a users device. But some say that because the content was uploaded to the web illegally in the first place without consent of the owner, this makes even streaming illegal.