So it's no surprise Canada's cable giants are targeting upstart dealers selling loaded Android TV boxes. The devices enable users to access pirated content with ease for a one-time fee
Bell Media, Rogers Communications and Quebec's Videotron have taken legal action in Federal Court against five Canadian vendors.
The cable companies have already won a temporary injunction (external - login to view) to stop the defendants from selling the boxes.
The boxes are similar to Apple TV, but they use the Android operating system. Vendors can load them with special software that provides easy access to pirated content online.
Customers can attach the boxes to their TVs and stream a vast array of unauthorized movies, TV shows and even live broadcasts, sometimes eliminating the need for cable.
"We even got rid of Netflix," loaded Android box customer Jenna Galloway told CBC News earlier this year.
The Cole Harbour, N.S., resident said she uses the box to access all her favourite shows, including Call the Midwife and The Walking Dead.
The loaded boxes can be purchased online from sites such as Amazon (external - login to view) for a one-time fee ranging from $40 to $250.
They're growing in popularity in Canada and across the globe, making them a target for cable companies.
The defendants named in the Federal Court case are MtlFreeTV, iTVBox, Android Bros Sales, WatchNSaveNow and My Electronics.
According to the injunction ruling, they promoted their boxes as a way to watch TV without paying for cable.
Android Bros in London, Ont., for example, advertised that customers "can 'cancel cable today' and still watch all of their television programs for free."
Bell, Rogers and Videotron alleged "there is a serious issue to be tried" due to "copyright infringement by the defendants." They also allege the businesses are selling devices intended for illegal purposes.
They argued the defendants should halt sales of the loaded boxes during the legal proceedings because continued sales would cause "irreparable harm" to their business.
The cable companies claimed "piracy is one of the top causes for declining subscriptions for television services in Canada."
Only one defendant, Quebec-based MTLFreeTV, appeared at the injunction hearing. Owner Vincent Wesley argued the loaded boxes are nothing more than "a piece of hardware" loaded with software that's freely available to the public.
The judge didn't buy the argument, and agreed to a temporary injunction to halt sales.
Cable companies launch court battle against 'free TV' Android box vendors - Business - CBC News