You know the drill.
When you hear of a deal that sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
So after hearing that a Canadian TV streaming company was promising that its users could say goodbye to paying monthly cable bills we were obviously a bit skeptical.
Well, CBC News is reporting that Free TV Box, a Canadian company that sells basic Android TV boxes (very similar to Apple TV) is about to do just that. Their Android platform means vendors can load the boxes with special software so each box has access to a nearly unlimited amount of television shows and movies.
Customers just need to attach the loaded box to their existing TV and stream whatever they want…with no commercials. There are no monthly fees, just the up-front cost of the device.
Joel Adams sells the loaded Android boxes online from his home in Hubbards, N.S., and says “It works very similar to Netflix, except you get to watch whatever you want to watch.”
So this is where our skepticism begins to kicks in. After all, we all know nothing is free in this world.
But according to CBC, there aren’t any catches, at least not yet. And while customers may be watching copyrighted content at times, they technically aren’t downloading the material. They’re simply streaming the content, and streaming in Canada falls into a “legal grey area” says internet law expert Michael Geist who adds it’s due to streaming video being considered a “transient, temporary display.”
Okay so if the streaming boxes are technically legal, how do they work?
Adams says he orders the Android boxes from China and then personally loads them with extra software and apps. His most popular model sells for about $120. Adams originally intended on selling the boxes as a side job, but last month he made more selling the boxes than working at his full-time job at a printing company.
Adams explains the box’s apps provide access to giant content libraries. The content comes largely from material that people from across the globe have uploaded and made available on file-sharing websites. When a viewer types in a show title using the box and does a search, numerous links will pop up. The person then clicks on a link and streams the show.
This process is very similar to the free streaming services that are available online, the only difference is the amount of content that’s available in one place. And while the TV Box streaming business is flourishing, Adams says the only thing capable of shutting down his business will be the cable companies.
“I’m sure they’ll make some kind of move to counter this,” he said.
Which is why Adams isn’t planning on quitting his day job any time soon.