You may have heard from some of your friends or co-workers about these gadgets called "Kodi boxes" and they're praising them like they're the best thing since sliced bread.
"Fully-loaded" versions of these boxes seem to be sprouting everywhere - on eBay, third-party sellers on Amazon, someone even tried to sell me one of these in our local drone shop, of all places.
On paper, there's so much to like - sellers claim that these boxes will replace all your streaming services with content that's totally free!
You won't need Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now or Hulu if you get one of these boxes, they say, and you can stream and watch anything you may ever want without no additional costs!
Online, these boxes are often advertised with enticing taglines like "Free TVs and movies!", "Watch any movie without a monthly subscription!", "Fully Loaded Media Center, Stream Anything!" but really?
Are these so-called Kodi boxes too good to be true?
What is a Kodi box?
Kodi, on its own, is a free program that gathers media including movies, music and photos from multiple sources - think of it as a customizable media manager/player.
Kodi used to be known as Xbox Media Center (XBMC) for the first Xbox console but was eventually expanded to natively work with other systems like Windows, Macs, Linux and Android and was finally rebranded by its developers as Kodi in 2014.
If you install Kodi on its own on your computer, there's actually nothing on it. Nothing to play nor watch, just an empty interface.
It takes a bit of know-how but it's up to the user to add media sources, either locally or online. These online media sources are often added to Kodi via installable packages called "add-ons" or "plug-ins."
For this reason, some enterprising people are selling these black market "Kodi Boxes" - pre-configured gadgets like Amazon Fire streamers or mini PCs with Kodi filled with add-ons and plug-ins for free streaming content.
As such, this free streaming content includes movies, TV shows, and music and get this, even the latest blockbusters and even movies that are still in the theaters!