PIRACY-ENABLING STREAMING DEVICES pose "substantial" fire and electrical risks to consumers.
So says the results of a joint initiative between Electrical Safety First and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), which tested nine illicit streaming devices and found that they all failed to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.
What's more, none of the devices come with sufficient safety or warning information to ensure safe and correct use, assembly, installation or maintenance of the equipment, according to the firms.
Steve Curtler, product safety manager at Electrical Safety First, said: "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 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," Curtler added. "Not only are these devices breaking the law, but they could be putting your loved ones at risk."
Electrical Safety First hasn't named the Kodi devices but told The Independent that the fire-prone boxes "typically range from around £30-£100". It does call out the OTT TV Box 4K Kodi box, though, which was recalled by the EU earlier this year due to "a serious risk of electric shock."
Kieron Sharp, director general of FACT, added: "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. 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."
These findings come just months after FACT revealed that more than one million Brits have purchased piracy-enabled set-top boxes in the past two years. µ
A surprisingly busy week in a quiet month
Measures just 15.75mm at its thickest point
Firm expects GPU sales to start drying up