Free Streaming TV in Canada with Android Boxes Pegged at 7%: Study


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Canadians are tempted to gain access to unlicenced content with the help of Android TV boxes, according to a new study released by Waterloo-based technology company Sandvine.

The company has recently published its findings on the North American market after analysing the presence of Kodi, formerly known as XBMC, and Xbox Media Centre, an open source media player that allows users to view local and remote videos on PCs, set-top boxes, smartphones and tablets.

According to an interview with CBC News, Sandvine monitored the home internet traffic of tens of thousands of Canadian households for a month. What they found is rather interesting: “over 10% of Canadian households had a Kodi device, and with similar “Unofficial Add-on” adoption rates in both the US and Canada, it means that over 7% of Canadian households have a Kodi device configured to access unlicenced content”, the company spokesman Dan Deeth said in a blog post sharing the company’s findings.

Android TV boxes pre-loaded with Kodi are attractive to users, because they allow the streaming of pirated content on any TV. The “fully-loaded” Kodi box is essentially a small set-top box with enough computing power to play HD content. Importantly, it comes pre-loaded with the unofficial add-ons and Kodi software configured to access unlicenced content. Simply by plugging such a box into a television and connecting it to the Internet, a large catalog of unlicenced content becomes available to even the most technically challenged user, the Sandvine report reads.

And these boxes can be purchased for roughly $100 from various sources.

The Sandvine report comes shortly after Bell, Rogers and Quebecor took legal action against at least 45 Canadian dealers selling loaded Android TV boxes. Where to buy an Android TV box? There are a bunch of models available on


  • Bleep Bloop

    I would rather pay twice as much for my TV content than have to teach my fiancee how to use Kodi.

  • SV650


  • Jason

    Thats funny to me because whenever my parents, in their 60’s have technical issues they call me. That being said my dad has a MI box i got him and has since downloaded Kodi and is using it to its full potential. He uses youtube for a reference. My mom uses her iPad to watch netflix etc. They love it.

  • Mark

    “Sandvine monitored the home internet traffic of tens of thousands of Canadian households for a month.”

    Isn’t this invasion of privacy?

  • There’s something with me that stops me from using shitty, under-developed and slow boxes.

  • Damn right Canadians use Kodi. We face such a high cost of living here in Canada on everything else (housing, mobile phones, etc.) it’s no wonder we’re looking for relief in entertainment costs. The amount of disposable income Canadians have is probably at an all-time low. If it weren’t so bad in this regard, less Canadians would be pursuing cheap (free) alternatives. Quite frankly in a lot of cases it’s out of desperation for ANY type of relief on overall costs. And no we don’t NEED movies and TV shows to live but … the costs of leaving the house for entertainment is so high that we’re looking for cheaper alternatives.

  • Joe

    This is a very fair point.

    For decades, corporations have told us “Greed is good.” If greed is so good, who can blame Canadians if we’d rather keep our money instead of spending $100/month on cable packages?

    Believe me, if I could cheat on housing costs instead of entertainment, I’d much rather do that. But in a world where everything except income keeps going up, you’ve got to skim where you can.

  • stephen

    What this article suggests is illegal. ISP in Canada are not allowed to divulge information about their users. With our ISP help someone monitoring can not guarantee IP addresses. If someone logs off then logs on gain they will be assigned a new IP which only the ISP would know is the same customer. I am on a dynamic network sharing one IP with multiple users. This would appear to a monitor to be one user.

  • raslucas

    I am personally very happy to pay for what I watch. The problem is that the content providers make it pretty much impossible to do so, instead forcing me to pay for what I watch as well as every other possible thing that anybody else may choose to watch.

    I’d love to just pay for Rogers Gamecentre and watch Canucks. But I can’t because those rights are owned by Sportsnet Pacific, not Rogers and they still haven’t figured out that they actually themselves own Sportsnet.

    I want to watch Whitecaps games, but I can’t. I tried to pay for mls live, but I can’t because they are also blacked out. I need TSN rights. Bell hasn’t gotten their stuff together so there isn’t an app for AppleTV.

    I know Kodi is more for shows, and that is true as well, I can’t just pay a few a month to get Global, for example either.

    I don’t feel sorry for the content providers at all, if they want people to pay for their content, let them pay for their content, not ALLLLL OF IT

  • Riddlemethis

    Add-ons, sources, suppositories… I mean repositories, zip files, etc. Kodi is such an archaic platform it’s no wonder it’s user base is extremely small. That coupled with incessant buffering despite a super fast Internet connection, non intuitive interface makes it ridiculously undesirable by many . It seems only those who like a big challenge embrace Kodi.

    Sure, when it’s up and running and you have just a few sources it’s not much more difficult to use than Telus TV, but getting there is tough part. That’s why those who use Kodi typically do so with an android box.

    And for those unaware, the EU courts recently ruled that streaming copyrighted content without authorization is illegal. You will see Kodi use drop for sure. Of course, you’ll always have those who prefer doing things the hard way or using old technology who used to use mIRC over Morpheus or Napster.

  • Riddlemethis

    I think it’s only those in rural parts of Canada who typically use Kodi.

  • Riddlemethis

    It’s not just the hardware but software too

  • Riddlemethis

    What is your definition of using Kodi to it’s full potential? What do they watch? How many sources and add-ons are installed?

    Having more than a several might be construed using it’s to it’s full potential provided of course everything is setup correctly and one has one point and click functionality which is what most of us want and expect ie. simplicity

  • Jason

    Figure of speech. They can download, delete, watch live tv and all tv shows and movies. To me, regarding my parents, thats using it to its full potential. It’s a good thing. As for what add-ons I have no idea. I’m not part of the Kodi community. I also live 5500 km away. They seem to be doing great with it and thats all that matters.

  • So what do you use, then?

  • I really don’t find it that hard to use. It’s quite simple, really

  • I don’t know what you are trying to argue. We are all saying that it works for us and that we like it. And that we find it easy. Sooo end of story. Who cares if we use it to “full potential” or not. All that is important is that it does the the things we want it to do, ie stream movies and TV.

  • speedracer99

    Time is money. Tried a family member’s Kodi and it’s hit and miss for quality. Attempted to watch a few movies, hunting for quality version took time and did not always find good quality. Poor picture or audio not synced with video. Time is money and I’ll just pay 4$ to rent it on iTunes.

  • I find Kodi is good for newer releases, and/or very popular movies. For these movies I usually don’t have a hard time finding quality streams. For older or less popular movies, I don’t use it – because it takes too much time to find quality.

  • But I do like having the option to choose …

  • I was wondering same … I wonder how they collected this data?

  • What makes you say this? Do you have facts to back this up? Or just guessing?

  • You really can’t complain too much when it’s free. But if you’d rather pay, that’s your prerogative.

  • Great point. You really can’t blame Canadians for finding other alternatives. Fix the system, and then maybe people would stop pirating.

  • Aleksandar Matijaca

    I love my mygica android box. The best thing about it is that I can watch shows that are not available on regular channels, some as very old TV shows for example.

  • Riddlemethis

    That’s my point. There will always be those who view something complicated or that requires more effort than necessary as being quite simple. I can do a 20 km run in a very short time but I recognize that the vast majority can’t.

  • Well, apparently 7% of Canadians (aka millions of people) find it simple enough to use. Hence the whole point of the article.

  • Michael Massey

    I don’t know if its still the case of shaw used sandvine for years to monitor and prioritize (ie slow down P2P)