Last week, more than 50 million IPTV customers had their services disconnected in a huge European police crackdown when Xtream Codes was shut down by Italian police. For a more detailed explanation about IPTV, please refer to How To Watch IPTV On Your Smart TV.
What Is Xtream Codes?
Xtream Codes is an IPTV panel that allows providers to manage their own IPTV service and also manage their customer database. It is without doubt the most popular and most widely used platform for IPTV management. Xtream Codes isn’t an IPTV provider and the platform itself is legal.
Although Xtream Codes have been taken down, it’s the resellers that the authorities are really after because they capture paid TV channels and then stream them online, thus infringing copyrights. It’s a massive business in what many have seen, up till now at least, as grey hat.
The point here is that Xtream Codes is not illegal software, in the same way that Bit Torrent isn’t illegal, but it’s said that Xtream Codes holds a database of millions of IPTV clients and providers and may have dipped a toe into murky waters by actually reselling TV content. However, on the face of it, that’s a bit like taking down Mozilla or Bit Torrent because their software was used illegally and it’s sent the fear of God up the streaming community. From what I can gather, IPTV “providers” subscribe to Xtream as a control panel and then stream content accordingly, either legally or illegally. But where does this leave IPTV? It’s worth bearing in mind that the BBC and many other major broadcasters are IPTV providers because in itself it’s simply TV broadcast over the Internet, even though the BBC has the right to demand that anyone watching UK TV has to pay a licence fee, even if they watch it on their PC or other devices, but that’s another matter. I’ve read that “providers” are now switching to other content management software.
There are dozens of legal IPTV providers, some of which are free and others that require a subscription of anything between $15 to $40 per month and therein lies the rub. In my opinion, grey hat IPTV will always be available where there is a demand from viewers who are not prepared to pay those kinds of prices. Further, many legal providers do not stream on a worldwide basis– Hulu is a good example, for which you need both a US postal address and a credit card registered in the US, so even a VPN would be useless in that case. It’s similar for BBC iPlayer, where you need a TV licence, but this can easily be overcome with a decent VPN. In fact, I tried the free version of TVPlayer with a VPN and it works flawlessly. Am I breaking the law by using a legal IPTV service behind a VPN? Is everyone who uses a VPN a criminal?
Similar raids were carried out in Bulgaria eighteen months ago, yet the proliferation of illegal IPTV providers shows no sign of abating. One theory is that streaming prices need to come down in order to combat this kind of piracy. For example, with Netflix and Prime being in the affordable realms of between $6 to $10 per month, it’s said that illegal torrenting and other kinds of piracy have dropped considerably. So, perhaps grey IPTV wouldn’t exist if prices were more accessible?
What do you think?