As an owner of an Android phone, you’ll have probably already come across the Showbox app –essentially, by adding it to your phone, you will be able to download and stream films and your favorite TV shows in HD for free. It’s recently been updated and now allows subscribers to download music and play it as well. You can also add subtitles – but you’ll need an OpenSubtitles account to do this. So far, so good – but is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Showbox is pretty easy to use. Once you’ve installed it, you can select the film, TV show or music you want to watch or listen to and tap on it on the screen – it’s the same whether you want to stream or download and keep the program or movie. You get to decide the quality you’d like to view it in too – according to the App’s blurb, films are available in a variety of qualities – and there are tons and tons of content. So what’s not to love?

Well, there are a few issues we’ve come across that make consumer experiences a little less than beautiful. Several sites show comments from users who have had no end of problems with the app. Many say it stops working once they have downloaded only
very few films or TV shows, while others lament about the frequent crashes they face – usually mid-way through an edge-of-the-seat bit of a movie – which isn’t great and can be super frustrating.

Some users have experienced an increase of Malware on their Android phones and tablets after downloading ShowBox App. This could be down to the way consumer’s access the app. Rather than downloading it directly from the Google Play store – as you would with most other applications -it is side-loaded instead, which might be how the Malware as mentioned above is creeping in. While there’s no real hard evidence to support this, what is true is that Google Play has several Malware filters – however, nothing is entirely safe – you just need a supersonic hacker to load an app with a bunch of nasty viruses and boom – your android device is
infected. On the Brightside though, Google is checking things a lot more regularly, so it’s likely that as time passes, Showbox will be a less risky prospect.

Aside from the technical issues users experience, there is the not insignificant question of how ethical – and indeed legal – such an app like Showbox is. Most people don’t sit down and think bout the morals behind downloading films, music and TV shows for free – heck, all love a free lunch don’t we? However, the law on illegal
downloading or indeed, streaming of films and music – not to mention TV shows –is a little hazy, to say the least.

So far, we can’t find any evidence in the course of our research that points to any end-user being prosecuted for watching a downloaded episode of Suits on their smartphone – usually, the police and industry bodies go looking for the facilitators. However, that might all change – and if it does, you might want to think twice about the legality of downloading a freebie – it could end up landing you in hot water – and apps like Showbox aren’t helping.

So how do you know if what you’re watching is fair game? Well, it’s pretty simple really. If a film is allowed to be broadcast – and thus has no restrictions placed on it – it is said to be in the Public Domain’ – these can be watched guilt-free. If it’s not in the public domain, then the chances are it’s illegal. To clarify the status of something, we found that by simply putting the name of the show, film or song you want to watch into Google and adding the term public domain, it will tell you straight away if it’s prime viewing game or not.

All in all, the Showbox app has its pros and cons. It’s easy to use, and you have access to a plethora of content at your fingertips, however, with that comes the danger of Malware and the annoyance of frequent crashes – not to mention the dubious legality of some of the content – then go ahead – if you think the positives outweigh the negatives. It might be better to stick with Netflix. Just Sayin’.

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