Pirates plundering streaming television market

January 9, 2015

While stunning televisions and sizzling content services starred at the Consumer Electronics Show, not far away a light was shined on cable service plundering pirates.

"Pirates closely follow legitimate technology innovations," Irdeto senior security director Mark Mulready told AFP while demonstrating streaming television piracy gear and tactics in hotel suite not far from the CES show floor that closed on Friday.

"Pirates are moving to rebroadcast over set top boxes."

And piracy has become such an established and lucrative business that it can be challenging for consumers to figure out which streaming television services are legitimate, according to Mulready.

Irdeto, an arm of South Africa-based Internet services titan Naspers, specializes in hunting down and sinking .

"Set-top box piracy is really a global problem that is growing very fast," Mulready said.

Manufacturers in China openly hawk set-top boxes that pirates can distribute to subscribers, according to Irdeto. The set-top boxes themselves are legal, the trouble begins when pirates rampantly restream cable programs without permission.

"They basically take what's coming through a legitimate set-top box and restream it," Mulready said. "Unfortunately, it is terribly easy."

The top show on pirated boxes last year was "Game of Thrones," followed by "The Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad," according to Irdeto data.

An aspiring pirate can buy 500 boxes for less than $21,000 and bring in $173,000 in annual subscription revenue from customers who pay an average of $390 for 12 months of access, according to Irdeto, which buys boxes under cover in its investigations.

In 2013, Google searches for set-top boxes allowing access to pirated content surpassed online hunts for legitimate boxes, Mulready said.

Explore further: Dish adds Netflix app to some of its set-top boxes

Related Stories

AT&T's U-Verse connects wirelessly to TVs

October 25, 2011

AT&T Inc.'s U-Verse TV service is going wireless - inside the home. Its new set-top boxes will use the home's Wi-Fi to get their TV programming, with no need for a coaxial cable.

Australia to crack down on online pirates

December 10, 2014

Australia's government Wednesday outlined plans to tackle online piracy as it moves to end the country's position as one of the world's top illegal downloaders of television shows such as "Game of Thrones".

HBO Go comes to TV, through Roku players

October 11, 2011

(AP) -- HBO's Internet streaming service, which gives subscribers access to its shows on PCs, smartphones and tablets, is going back to where it all started: the TV.

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 10, 2015
Should this become a sufficiently serious threat to someone's revenue, I wonder what sort of response we'll see? It often seems often to be in the form of bad legislation; awkward, unworkable and rife with collateral damage. Not to say that some may seek a technical remediation; awkward, unworkable and a rich source of collateral damage.

I'll toss out an idea for free: TV sets that can be remotely bricked, should it be detected that they are playing unauthorized content. Better yet, how about TVs that can take selfies by remote command.
not rated yet Jan 10, 2015
Phys Org has right-wing clients?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.