FACT stressed that what makes the revelation all the more significant is that the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) estimates that more than a million of these illegal devices have been sold in the UK in the last two years, representing a significant risk to the general public. It noted that in June 2017 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, and called for owners of the box to stop using it immediately. 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
“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,” warned FACT director general Kieron Sharp. “We believe hundreds of thousands of illicit streaming devices were sold between Black Friday and Christmas last year. This year, if you want to safely and reliably enjoy premium sports, TV or films go directly to the official provider.”
Added Steve Curtler, product safety manager at Electrical Safety First: “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.” Electrical Safety First advised that the only way to guarantee that a product was safe was to buy a known brand product direct from a reputable manufacturer.