UK cracks down on pirate TV boxes

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

June 16, 2015

Making a ‘pirate TV box’ is very easy. All you need is a computer (almost any computer will do), a copy of the free and open source Kodi (was XBMC) media player software, and some third party plugins.

And if you can’t be bothered to install third party plugins, never fear, because TVAddons has your back with a preconfigured version of Kodi loaded up with everything you need to access just about any streamed movie, TV show or sport event content, without the pesky details of worrying about copyright or paying for a subscription.


It seems that some people are even lazier than that, though, and prefer to buy ‘pirate TV box’ devices preconfigured, so all they need do is plug them in and slob out in front of unlimited free content!

Although Kodi can be installed onto a Raspberry Pi, most entrepreneurial sellers of ‘pirate TV box’s’ prefer to use cheap Android sticks, which do the job perfectly well. Unsurprisingly, in the UK these low-cost devices have become rather popular, with sellers such as GeekyKit Ltd openly selling them from their physical retail outlets. Equally unsurprisingly, copyright holders are not impressed.

Earlier this week, officers from the UK’s Trading Standards authority performed a series of raids on sellers of these devices (notably GeekyKit), seizing computer equipment and arresting a 38-year-old man under the Copyright Designs and Patent Act.


Given that there is nothing illegal about selling either Android devices, or Kodi software, it is unclear on what legal grounds the police have acted (or what crime the accused has been charged with committing.) Of course, we don’t blame companies such as GeekyKit for playing it safe under the current circumstances,

As you may be aware we were visited yesterday by Sky in conjunction with Trading Standards. Whilst we continue to investigate our position the stores will remain closed and support will remain suspended. Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.


This is a position echoed top UK supplier DroidSticks, who has has been quick to distance itself from Kodi add-ons that can be used to avoid copyright restrictions,

DroidSticks have never sold any device with pre-configured Kodi add-ons or apps that allow access to free content. This has always been done by the user with use of a Kodi setup wizard. Until DroidSticks has more information on whether  devices can be sold with setup wizards pre-installed Droidsticks will no longer sell any device with Kodi wizards/kodi add-ons installed.

This means that users wanting an Android stick that gives them access to free content will need install Kodi from the Play Store (Kodi for Android is now in open beta), and follow the wizard instructions themselves (or just use TVAddons). Oh the inhumanity!

Douglas Crawford

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

26 responses to “UK cracks down on pirate TV boxes

  1. Post Brexit, the Goverment should have better things to do than chasing down TV boxes that give people a break to watch sport without making excessive payments to Sky. As Sky created the problem they should be left stew in the selfish mess the created. It might make them realise that you cant rob all the people all the time, without a backlash.

  2. To pay sky and watch the same film over and over again within a month. same as other programmes.
    Too expensive and when they bring out new channels we have to pay more money . The tv boxes are great.

  3. I think KODI should ban every third party developer streaming illegal content on the KODI video media player or KODI should themselves stop the ADDON .
    Also dream boxes should also be banned in the UK because I pay full for my content and I dislike others getting the same content as me for free or paying £10 a year m it should be stopped at once .

  4. I am an expat lived in australia for 39 yrs i enjoy my motor sport F1 motogp wsb, channel 10 as sold the rights to pay tv for F1 we get some races but 1 hour of high light for the rest and as you know there are 19 races we used to get both races of wsb now we get half an hour of high light that as gone to pay tv motogp we used to get all the races even when Jack Miller was leading in moto3 they would only tell us how he was doing so guess what i bought a android box i setup kodi i love it and all the other stuff well worth the money one of my Dutch mates who plays European soccer as asked me to get him a android box and the picture quality is brilliant. BobJ

  5. And Now For Something Completely Different… NOT !!!

    James you nailed it bro……. the rich get richer,the poor get (bleeped)..

    If these lying toe rag members of government can’t legally get there hands on a piece of the pie then they make it illegal… no matter what it is…

    Yours faithfully..
    ( sorry when I was teached as a children we couldn’t afford names )

  6. Let’s think about it….sports stars wages have gone through the roof due to the ever increasing subscription costs. All games used to be free, players were paid less and we had a lot less premadonnas in the game. I say bleed them dry! To the comment about stealing, if £80 a month subscription isn’t stealing I don’t know what is!

  7. i now belive as technology grows so will these illegal boxes Infact there will be so many devices and gadgets allowing free tv and sky , bt, and the rest of the tv outfits will eventually suffer because theer will be so many boxes the authorities wont kno were to start. Im also one of 1000s very happily enjoying the rewards of free sports all day and movies. ive even watched movies still not out on dvd all in my little box.

  8. Screw them. They have been bleeding us dry for too long. It’s too fractured and too expensive. a hand full of corporates and bankers get very rich while we pay ever increasing subscriptions and fees and put up with more adverts while money becomes less and less valuable. While the beholden government’s and councils give even more money and power to these corporates and bankers. Screw them all. They have bled this country dry for profit and returned nothing but debt. I’ll take their shit for free or I don’t take it at all.

  9. The way people go on you would think we have a divine right to watch any content at anytime but also add free. If everyone used a kodi box then your programmes wouldn’t exist, these things cost money to produce and they paid for by advertising, dvd sales, syndication. Etc. You are not sticking it to the man using these boxes, you are just stealing. I am sure most of us can afford a subscription too just choose not to pay it. Freeview, fa cup, international games/tournaments, they sport freeview, sky sports freeview days, there is ample sport on to with just a license. You just want it all without paying anything, that’s fine but don’t complain about why there are adverts on tv

    1. I have to pay for a TV license, but can’t get terrestrial tv, so had to go down the Sky route.
      Pay through the nose for Sky, and they still show adverts!
      Every time Sky won the Premier League contract my bill went up, despite not subscribing to Sky Sports.
      Just a greedy company. I’ve got no qualms about depriving the Murdoch’s of a few quid. They won’t miss it!

  10. The UK government will do whatever it can get away with. It’s the sheep syndrome if they cry Wolf loud enough and often enough the majority beg for a means of safety and the government and big business shout it’s the android and on line streamimg that threaten the county’s stability and the people believe what is shouted the loudest most repetitively. Wile behind the veneer of respectability the government do what government’s do best lie the bigger the lie the easier it’s believed and the biggest lies produce the biggest revenue and the pore Android tv viewer is held to account for his so called crimes…

  11. Hang on a minute is my memory playing tricks. At one time all sport was free (if you discount the BBC license cost that is) and BBC and ITV had a kind of love hate thing going while they tried to beat each other to the best sports coverage there being no point them both covering the same events; especially as BBC without adverts would usually get the best viewer rating but it was all very gentlemanly and British of course.

    Then this little Aussie chap came along and decided he would chuck loads of green stuff at the FA and others for exclusivity, and then the public who wanted to watch the premier league would have to pay him loads of dosh and then he could chuck more money for more exclusivity of other events and programs and then charge the public even more money. Eventually he would have all the best sports and entertainment programs exclusively for his own network and he could then charge everybody as much as he wanted. .. But! .. Others were watching all this money raking and along came Virgin and BT as they also wanted a slice of the exclusivity pie so that they could charge everybody loads of dosh as well. So a bidding war broke out and the poor old public then had to pay ever increasing subscriptions split into all types of individual content and tolerate almost endless adverts with bits of program dotted between them into the bargain and all because the little Aussie, but mostly because of Joe public allowing themselves to be reeled in and paying for what was previously free before voting with there feet and doing without for a bit until the little Aussie got fed up and went back down under.
    So what we have now is all kinds of outfits trying to squeeze every last penny, two and three over in some cases, for every last bit of broadcast media they can justify charging for and they wonder why piracy exists. .. almost unbelievable .. and they call the public pirates and what’s even more incredible is some people even think it’s a bargain .. LOL!

  12. First came BBC, no advertising so you need a licence.
    Then came independent television, no licence but you have to put up with advertisements.
    Now we have satellite TV which you have to subscribe to, you still need a licence, their advertisements run relentlessly and they still show the same crap we were watching in the 70s and 80s.

  13. Yep, the grubby word money comes into play, the conglomerates, are not happy that you are paying for a tv licence, as theres nothing on “normal tv” you buy a subscription to Virgin media or sky, then you are incensed that after settling down to watch Only fools and horses, after just 7 minutes of your show-the dreaded adverts come on, then i timed them, 6 minutes of adverts !!! fed up with all the crap you pay for-you finally find the best option, an android tv streaming box, and low and behold the U.K Government wants to make it illegal to use these devices, because they havent thought about how to tax them yet, oh my lord, is it a crime to watch the tv programmes YOU want to watch, when you want to watch them and without adverts and geographical restrictions, that’s it i have had enough i’m subscribing to a VPN service, i’ll watch what i want not what i’m allowed to. it’s a free country right ? yeh course it is.

  14. Serves sky and the likes of BT sport right , they have milked the system making it impossible to watch sport on TV without expensive subscriptions , making it unaffordable for millions, the Gaullist thing is most of that money goes to immorally overpaid footballers propagating the myth that celebrity vs hard work is the best lifestyle option

    1. Just to remind everyone that BT and SKY have to bid on packages from the likes of the Football Premiership and then in turn they have to charge the subscription fee, so it would be wrong to say that SKY and BT Sports charge a high sub rate.

      1. RichB
        If that’s even your real name…even across the pond there’s a revolution a’brewing. WE THE PEOPLE aren’t gobbling up anymore shit pies disguised with pretty bows when we’ve paid for fresh fruit filling! Somewhere along the way we just ate a bit, the next generation a bite, the third got a slice…..but when the whole pie that I buy is just shit… can stick it where it came from because we are not gonna let our kids become slaves to the elitists pricks who’s ancestors got to the top by beating us into submission until we say “well that’s just the way it is….” Horseshit. I won’t be watching my fellow man get beaten for not submitting and I’m gonna get my kids some FRESH FRUIT FILLED PIES!
        He blames the morally bankrupt celebrity prick because the system was built by the same asses you want to sympathize with.
        And about VPN…its not about what I’m doing online….ITS ABOUT MY PRIVACY!

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