Bell, Rogers and Videotron Target Retailers of ‘Free TV’ Android Boxes


If you thought buying an Android-based set-top box would save you from cable subscriptions, well think again. Bell, Rogers, and Quebec’s Videotron have started a legal battle against the forty-five Canadian companies selling those boxes, which sport a software allowing users to watch TV shows, live sports, and (you name it) for free with the use of high-speed internet (via CBC News).

Joel adams android box
From the cable service provider’s perspective, this is pirated content. However, this looks completely different from a user’s perspective, who pays the price of the Android box loaded with special software — from $70 to $250 — connects it to the internet and the TV, and has the option to watch whatever she or he wants.

The legal case started in June, when the aforementioned cable service providers launched their case in Federal Court, naming just five retailers. Since then, the list has gotten longer and now contains forty-five retailers.

“This is an obvious case of piracy, which is why we asked the court to stop the illegal use of our content,” said Rogers spokesman Andrew Garas in an email.

But whatever the legal argument is, this box business may be too big to shut down. And some say the legal case just brought additional publicity to these Android boxes. Bell, on the other hand, hopes the spotlight this case received will work in its favour.

By the way, you can buy the box from the US and then load the software yourself. It’s not a major task, and you can do it with some help (if needed). The box itself, on the other hand, is a legal product, and on YouTube, there are videos showing the necessary steps to set it up for TV service.

So what’s your take? Is this something you’d like to have, or do you agree with the cable TV service providers?


  • Well the question is where does the box get the content?
    I don’t know if, assuming the content itself is pirated, that’s enough to stop the box. The box is just a tool which allows the user to select whatever content they want (without restricting pirated content), that may be a different situation than if the box natively and explicitly provides or directs to pirated content.

    Dunno. A physical re-incarnation of Napster for TV? 😛

  • Ang

    Haha how do I find this box? What’s it called?

  • Michal

    unsure why or how they think they can stop this.
    Kodi can be installed on just about anything, and Exodus addon (popular one at the moment) … there are many IPTV providers… instructions ALL OVER the internets, youtubes.
    there is no stopping this…. imo.

  • Patrick Bouchard

    Yeah, this all depends on where the pirated content comes from. If the software is specifically designed to access infringing content, then take legal action against the software. But the boxes? With that logic they could go after Apple, Dell, HP, or any other computer maker because I could access pirated content on any of their computers too.

    Disclaimer: I haven’t used these Android boxes nor the software that runs on them.

  • Bruno

    The same software can be install on any regular computer. Are they going against all the PCs sold in Canada?

    What about lowering prices so people would avoid the hassle of dealing with this kind of software?

  • Tim

    PCs aren’t sold fully loaded with shady streaming add-ons

  • aRhyno

    Y’all are missing the point. The problem they have is that it’s too easy to buy these devices pre loaded for lazy/ non computer savvy people. If someone has to search online on how to do this and go through the hassle. That will kill off people 90% of the people buying these devices.

  • Eric Poirier

    True that a PC doesn’t come preloaded with shady streaming add-ons…Buy they do come preloaded with hardware specs that can make an Android box look like the iPhone 3g in comparison. In regards to piracy I have to say this is absurd. The box itself is not pirating anything but rather the apps contained in the box are capable of doing so. However, this isn’t a simple issue in terms of the law. Some content is most likely pirated but much content from the same apps will not be. Another thing to keep in mind is that the apps are used to stream television and movie broadcasts and may actually be pulling the signal from someone’s home computer that is set up as a media server broadcasting that person’s own television package which was a paid subscription.
    Whoever offers the server that is the origin of the streamed content is the only one who can even be considered for piracy. But, then again, not all TV broadcasters prohibit the retransmitting of their signal. This will make things painful and tiresome in court.

  • kayjay204

    This is exactly like the Napster battle and we all know how that ended. These cable and telephone service providers bend us over for mobile rates and bend us over for cable rates. It’s about time we say enough is enough. My android G box is great! I load up what I want (Kodi, Exodus, etc) and don’t need or use the rest. I will never pay for cable again!

  • Jason Chu

    Stupid question but why isn’t Shaw part of the group?

  • Rick

    I just got iptv from a company in the state got all the channels that are available trough Rodger Bell and videotron play Starz bunch of HBOs showtime etc play all the SKY uk stuff 500 English channels in 720p or better.
    Bell and the CRTC can screw themselves!