Over the past several years, the trend of purchasing streaming devices (e.g. Amazon Firestick) that are “jailbroken”, a term used to describe the process of removing software restrictions that prevent third-party applications from being installed on a device, has become common amid rising costs for cable TV and streaming services. These cracked devices allow users to download apps that house libraries filled with pirated video content, often at a low one-time fee or free to those savvy enough to install the software themselves. While this offer sounds like a great deal, a device like this comes with a hefty amount of risks. In this article, we will break down some of the biggest threats posed to those who utilize these services and what we at the Glasgow EPB recommend for community members looking for the best option when it comes to their entertainment needs.

Legal Risks

The biggest fact when considering the purchase/use of a device like this is that consuming pirated video content is illegal and can cause civil and/or criminal penalties. While the process of jailbreaking and installing 3rd-party software is not illegal, accessing content that is copyrighted is. This means users of these applications who access illegal libraries of copyrighted movies, shows, and live channels can be issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement notices that may result in their Internet Service Provider (ISP) being forced to disconnect their service. In the worst-case scenario, users who access these illegal content libraries may face civil and even criminal penalties. Outside of the legal component, what users of these devices will often find is that the promise of these services is too good to be true.

Security Risks / Software Failure

One of the biggest risks with jailbreaking is the security vulnerabilities. Jailbroken streaming devices are susceptible to malware and spyware once these software restrictions are lifted, as this action is like opening a virtual floodgate of unmonitored applications that may contain harmful software and other security threats. These applications can cause instability for the streaming device and result in complete software failure, causing the streaming device to be unusable.

Slow/Laggy Streaming

One common complaint users of these illegal applications have is the laggy/low-quality streaming experience. More times than not, the servers for these applications are not built to sustain high amounts of bandwidth usage and are housed in off-shore locations that do not have high-speed broadband availability. This results in stuttery, buffer-filled streaming experiences that cause a lot of frustration for viewers of this content.

Blocked Content/Applications

Another risk that cracked streaming device users may face is their pirated content library of choice becoming blocked by the device manufacturer. Streaming device providers like Amazon, Roku, Google, and Apple are continuously updating their platforms and through these software updates push out new restrictions on unauthorized applications that house these illegal content libraries. This could result in the application that users are purchasing or jailbreaking their streaming device for becoming completely obsolete overnight.

The Better Option?

For those interested in streaming video content, the best option in terms of reliability and legality is the wide range of legal streaming services available. While it is completely understandable that these all-in-one low-cost or even free content libraries are enticing, they offer all of your favorites and allow users to save hundreds on their cable/streaming bill. The fact is, however, that these services open your device up to software instability, often get shut down by the device manufacturer, and provide a subpar viewing experience. On top of that, it is content piracy, something that can cause your ISP to be forced to disconnect your service, and in the worst case, cause you to face civil/criminal penalties. To find a personalized bundle of legal and reliable streaming services that fits your viewing needs, visit MyBundleTV.