The devices, which in themselves are not nececsssairily unlawful, are used to receive pirated broadcasts streamed over the internet without any payment going to the rights holder.
None of the devices that were tested had been supplied, designed or manufactured in accordance with the principal elements of the safety objectives given in Schedule 1 of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.
Steve Curtler, Product Safety Manager at Electrical Safety First said, “This year consumers thinking about buying an illegal streaming device for Christmas need to know that by plugging them into their TV they could be potentially be putting themselves, their home and their family at risk. We urge anyone with one of these devices to unplug it and stop using it immediately. Not only are these devices breaking the law, but they could be putting your loved ones at risk.”
In June, the EU issued a recall notice for the OTT TV Box 4K, a Chinese-made ‘Kodi box’ due to a serious risk of electric shock. The devices in question had faulty power supply units which didn’t comply with Europe’s Low Voltage Directive meaning users were at risk from touching live components.
Kieron Sharp, Director General of FACT said, “The fact that so many illegal streaming devices have all failed to meet UK safety standards is shocking. Alongside the risks of exposing your home network to damaging malware and your children to inappropriate content, it should now be clear that the dangers these illegal devices pose far outweigh any benefit of buying them. This year, if you want to safely and reliably enjoy premium sports, TV or films go directly to the official provider.”
The Intellectual Property Office estimates one million illicit streaming devices have been sold in the UK over the last two years.
Read “Myra Moore: Video pirates – the new TV service providers?” for an analysis of the current situation where legal Kodi software and STBs with the simple addition of a third-party plug-in allows content streaming without permission from the copyright holders.