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Dodgy Kodi boxes could kill you, safety experts warn

Streaming is great until it tries to kill you, which is why ‘Kodi box’ users are being warned to stop using their devices immediately due to fire and shock risks.

Testing of nine popular but illegal Kodi streaming boxes carried out by experts at Electrical Safety First have found all the boxes fail to meet electrical equipment safety standards.

As such, these dodgy streaming boxes pose a serious risk of starting electrical fires and electrocuting users if left plugged in.

“Given the nature of the safety issues we found, [the worst case result of one of the devices malfunctioning] would be for a fire to break out, causing severe property damage and even fatalities, and of course fatalities from electric shock,” Steve Curtler, Electrical Safety First’s product safety manager, told the Independent.

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“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.”

More than one million illicit steaming devices intended for use with the Kodi online service are estimated to be in use around the UK, according to the Intellectual Property Office. This means there’s potentially a lot of people at risk from poorly made streaming boxes with sub-standard electronics and wiring.

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With the Black Friday offers underway there are likely to be such streaming boxes available for cut prices, but the risks they may pose should have you thinking twice before buying.

“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,” said Curtler.

When buying any electronics, particularly unbranded devices or gadgets from lesser-known brands, it’s worth checking that they meet safety standards by looking out for the ‘CE’ mark and ensuring plugs fit nearly into sockets and that there’s at least 9.5mm between the pins and the charger edges. Instruction leaflets should also be equipped with suitable warnings as well.

One thing to note is that the Electrical Safety First research was supported by the Federation Against Copyright Theft, an organisation not exactly friendly towards Kodi streaming and its capacity to facilitate illegal content streaming.

As such, the report may be pushing an agenda other than just electrical safety, though it’s still worth proceeding with caution when it comes to buying less-than-legit streaming boxes.

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