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Sky halts Plex side-loading on Now TV boxes by nixing developer mode

Sky has disabled the ‘developer mode’ on its £10 Now TV boxes to prevent users side-loading apps that could be used to stream illegal content.

In a blog post on the Now TV forums (spotted by Engadget) the company explained the quiet update was designed to halt piracy.

“The latest update has been designed to safeguard the device from piracy and illegal streaming of content; therefore it will disable the use of unofficial third party software or apps,” community manager Karl-F wrote.
“This will not affect your ability to watch NOW TV or download supported apps through the Channel Store.”

The Now TV box, of course, is just a re-branded Roku designed to promote Sky’s on demand streaming platforms alongside terrestrial platforms like iPlayer and 4oD.

Related: Now TV vs Roku 2

However, a small community of users had chosen to enact developer mode and install apps like the Plex Media Centre, opening the box up to a much wider range of content.

The revoking of that right has left some users (who, let’s not forget, forked out a whopping ten quid for the box) rather angry.

“Well unless you can confirm Plex will be available in the app store then it’s definitely goodbye Now TV,” wrote Raevelyn. “I’ll likely invest in a proper Roku box, but i wont be subscribing to Now TV on it. That’s me done!”

Others pointed out that you could still side-load on “proper” Rokus and pledged their loyalty to the manufacturer.

The Now TV box still represents solid value for customers simply seeking a bit of catch-up telly with on-demand access to the football, or new movie releases.

However, it lacks access to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime and does so by design.

Is Sky within its rights to revoke access to the dev mode? Or are customers right to demand access to use the box in any way they like? let us know in the comments below.

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