In an effort to clarify what the Android TV boxes are and can do we have decided to compile an FAQ page. We must point out that we are not lawyers, and the information below is provided as a guide only.
Q. Are the Android TV boxes legal?
Yes, they are certainly legal to sell, use and own. They do nothing that your phone, tablet or PC can’t do. Many large retailers such as Office Works, K Mart and Aldi also sell these same boxes, albeit for a higher price. They only contain software which can be installed from the Google Play Store
Q. What about Kodi?
Kodi is a free open source application that can be installed on a number of devices. The app itself is available for free in the Android Play store and is perfectly legal to install and use. You can install the same app on a tablet, phone, X Box or PC.
Q. Is it illegal to use the add-ons in Kodi?
In short, no, but it depends on the add-on being used and the purpose it is being used for. All add-ons are developed and maintained by different individuals and organisations. Some are perfectly legal to use, with free or royalty free content or paid subscriptions. However, some will stream content which has been either illegally obtained, illegally copied or distributed without the owners consent.
Q. But I’m only streaming the content, not downloading it. Can I still stream new movies and TV shows?
This is a gray area, but we would advise against it. Laws exist which prevent downloading or possessing pirated material. As we have seen in the past, unauthorised streaming of content can lead to prosecution. This falls under copyright law which prevents the unauthorized duplication or work and its distribution for profit. Using one of the add-ons which have been developed for Kodi will stream the content to you, but not download it. However, viewing content that you have not paid to view is no different to entering a cinema without paying or reading magazines in a news agency without paying for a magazine. We believe it is unethical, wrong and a form of theft. Others may look at it as merely in the same ball park as borrowing a book from a library or a movie from a mates place. Oddly enough, you can legally buy a movie and share the physical DVD with as many people as you like, but yu can not make a copy and distribute it, which is what streaming does. You have only enjoyed the book, but not taken possession of it or a copy of it.
Q. Which Kodi add-ons can I use if I don’t want to stream content I haven’t purchased?
There are several worth a mention without taking up a month to list them all. Some add-ons are YouTube, Netflix XBMC and USTVNOW. There are hundreds more, but they are the most popular. Some may charge a subscription fee to use them and some may be free. They may also block access from outside different countries. Using a virtual private network service like those offered by ExpressVPN will allow you to bypass geo-blocking. It is worth visiting kodi.tv for a list of Kodi (XBMC Foundation) approved add-ons. We are currently developing our own video add-on which will be able to be used to stream documentaries which are free and perfectly legal to watch.
Q. I want a box that isn’t fully loaded. What can I do?
Luckily, you can buy a box from us. All of our boxes are not fully loaded and only contain apps that are in the Play Store or officiall Kodi add-ons. They are add-ons which do not stream pirated content.
However, if you have a fully loaded box and only want a few add-ons the easiest thing to do is head to settings>>applications>>Kodi and click on uninstall. Once it has finished being deleted head to Google Play and install the Kodi app again. It will install in a fresh install with no add-ons, except those provided by the XBMC Foundation. If you are uncomfortable in doing this please leave an order note and we will be happy to remove the add-ons for you.
Q. But I still want to watch the free movies and TV shows. Can I do it?
The Kodi XBMC Foundation has taken a stance which we also support and mirror. While we don’t encourage or support you to stream content which you haven’t legally acquired, if you choose to do so it is at your own discretion and risk. There are certainly plenty of Kodi add-ons and Android apps available which will offer you the ability to stream TV shows and movies for free. For example, TenPlay, Plus7, 9Now, ABC iView and SBS on Demand all provide free video content. You can read our list of the best streaming Android apps.
Q. What if I still want to watch video on the box, but not the content from Kodi? Can I still do it?
You certainly can. Because these boxes all run on Android any app in the play store that is available for the version of Android installed on the box should work. You will be able to use subscription based services from Quick Flicks, Netflix and YouTube Red. Other free video streaming apps apart from the ones mentioned above such as Crackle and Film On are available to download from the Google Play store.
Q. Why do you recommend a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a must have tool in todays online society. Apart from protecting your identity online and allowing you to remain anonymous, it also allows you to appear as though you are in different locations around the world. This will allow you to access different versions of Netflix, US TV shows through the paid or free subscription Kodi add-on USTVNow. It can also help you save money when making online purchases. Everything from airline tickets to handbags and apps can be purchased at a reduced price from a different country.
Q. Who do you recommend for a VPN?
We recommend the best, ExpressVPN. They have the fastest speeds (really necessary if streaming), outstanding customer support, best value for money and the highest reviews online. Pay them a visit and either give them a try for 1 month, or save 35% on a 12 month plan. You can see their plans here.
It must be remembered that for the entertainment industry to flourish and continue to provide top quality content for the consumer to enjoy, they must be able to turn a profit. Without a profit being made companies will not make the movies and TV shows we all love and enjoy. So please, for everyones sake, watch some commercial TV, go to the movies once in a while and maintain those streaming subscriptions. But please don’t misuse Kodi. It’s just not good.