Android vs. The Monopoly

anvroid-vs-the-monopolyI like to think that I’m a responsible, respectable, law-abiding citizen. Or at least responsible and law-abiding. But I have to confess that I have removed most of the “DO NOT REMOVE” tags from the pillows inside my house. GASP! On occasion, I have totally gone wild and parked my car where I shouldn’t and received a parking ticket for doing so. WHAT A REBEL! And…I use an Android box to watch premium television programs for free.

New Kid on The Streaming Block

For the uninitiated, an Android box is a mini computer loaded with software which allows the user to access and stream thousands of movies and television programs from the Internet. You can buy one through Amazon for under $100, which is less than the cost of one month of a premium cable package from one of Canada’s largest television providers (rhymes with Dodgers). Installation is easy. Just connect the box to your TV through a HDMI port and to the internet through WiFi or direct through an ethernet cable. Television shows are usually available within an hour of their original broadcast and movies are available to watch before they should be. The quality is surprisingly good, although if it’s a Star Wars movie, the box is hardly a replacement for the theatre experience.

I really don’t watch a lot of TV, but I like Game of Thrones. I mean how can anyone not like a show that features voluminous amounts of dragons, drinking and sex? But I just wasn’t willing to pay over 100 bucks a month for it, no matter how many other channels (that I would never watch), came with it. So, my millennial daughter says, “You should get an Android box”. So I did and I haven’t looked back. I haven’t lost any sleep over it either.

What The Android Box Means For Big Cable Companies

I should point out that it’s not illegal to own or to use an Android box in Canada because you are streaming the content as opposed to downloading it. Streaming does not violate The Copyright Act unless you are doing it for profit; even then the law is fuzzy. However, the big television providers (Rogers, Bell, etc.) aren’t too thrilled with the rapidly growing sales of Android boxes as they are cutting into their monopoly – I mean business. So these businesses have launched legal action to stop the sale of the boxes inside Canada. But even if they are successful (as I write this article the case is before the courts), the boxes will still be available from international sites like Amazon. The file sharing sites that host the shows are from outside Canada so I doubt they will be going anywhere anytime soon.

Personally, I believe that if the cable giants wanted to stop the proliferation of products like Android boxes they could do so simply by offering their products at a reasonable price. I still have Netflix despite the fact that I can probably get anything that Netflix offers (and more) through my Android box. But I want to support companies that offer fair prices and good value to their customers and I think that Netflix meets that criteria.

I know Android boxes aren’t for everyone and I respect that. But if you’re tired for over-paying for cable…the boxes are an option available for your consideration. With that, I’m off to watch VEEP now.

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