According to recent press, "Kodi boxes" can KILL.
Okay, to be specific (and perhaps a touch less alarmist), the power supplies on cheap, untested devices are often a bit on the dreadful side, and that's where a risk of things bursting into flames resides. Beyond that, we assure you that the Kodi software remains friendly, docile, free-range, and free of any killer instinct. We could bore you with other tales of devices that report fake RAM size and heatsinks that rattle inside the case, but that would distract from the point of this blog post.
Our issue with the current wave of articles is not the shock-horror, click-bait headlines, but the choice of images used. Instead of showing one of the many thousands of generic black boxes sold without the legally required CE/UL marks, the media mainly chose to depict a legitimate Raspberry Pi clothed in a very familiar Kodi case. The Pis originate from Cambridge, UK, and have been rigorously certified. The case is from a good friend and partner of ours, FLIRC, in sunny California, USA. It's a combination that's as safe and unlikely to burn down your house as any Kodi device can be (indeed, neither even comes with the sort of dangerous power supplies that are in question here). We're also super-huge fans of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and the proceeds of Pi board sales fund the awesome work they do to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in schools. The Kodi FLIRC case has also been a hit with our Raspberry Pi users and sales contribute towards the cost of events like Kodi DevCon.
It's insulting, and potentially harmful, to see two successful (and safe) products being wrongly presented for the sake of a headline.
In related news, you may be aware of issues in the piracy community that drives the sales of these devices. There are a number of legal actions underway, and we regularly read news of large numbers of pirate add-on developers and repo operators fleeing from these legal issues. We still see strong downloads from kodi.tv: interestingly, there's also an increase in the rate of user churn, which is probably linked to the above and our discontinuation of support for the older versions of Android that many of these devices run. This does not concern us. Our general stance on piracy remains neutral, but fewer people damaging the Kodi name is a good thing.
Here's the reality: if your mates are spending hundreds on something per year, and you can get it for free - If it looks too good to be true - yeah, it probably is too good to be true. You make your own choices.