What is Showbox?
Showbox is an Android version of Popcorn Time. An app that runs on phones and tablets that can stream movies and TV shows direct to your device. If you use an Android emulator, you can use that to play Showbox on your PC too.
So far, Showbox has managed to do what Popcorn Time hasn’t. Keep a low profile, quietly make itself available to millions of users and provide a viable media streaming service using both P2P and non-P2P streams. It is estimated that Showbox is currently installed on several million devices across the world.
Not content with being ‘just’ an Android app, Showbox is also being successfully installed on set-top boxes like Kodi. Again, unlike Kodi, Showbox has managed to avoid many of the headlines and legal issues of its better known alternative. So far.
What does Showbox offer?
Once installed, the Showbox app offers access to free movies and TV shows. Music is also present and is being actively developed right now too. It is ad supported but the content itself is free and features some of the newest movies and TV shows. Some movies on offer are still in the cinema right now.
Showbox streams content from a variety of sources and uses either HTTP streaming or P2P. It seems to prefer non peer-to-peer streams if they are available but will switch to P2P if it needs to. It is a neat system that ensures the content you want to watch is always available.
Content is available in a mixture of qualities. The usual options are Standard Definition, High Definition and Ultra High Definition. Depending on your bandwidth and playback device, you can choose the most suitable as you need. Quality is good and as media is digital so will scale up to match the screen size it is being played on.
Is Showbox legal?
The strict legality of these things is always difficult to assess. I am not a lawyer so you would need to consult one if you are concerned about such things. In Europe, Showbox is technically legal as streams are regarded as temporary. Here in the U.S., the law is much murkier when it comes to copyright and our rights.
All I can say is that so far, Showbox has survived where other such services have not. They must either have made an arrangement with the studios or it will be a matter of time before it goes the way of other streaming services.
How to get Showbox
As you might imagine, you won’t get Showbox from the Google Play Store. You will have to sideload it instead. You can acquire the Showbox APK from here and load it onto your device using the instructions. iOS users will need to use a different downloader but the good news is that you don’t have to have a jailbroken device to use it.
If you want to use Showbox on your PC or Mac, you can use the ARC Welder Android emulator for Chrome and watch content that way. Add the APK to ARC Welder and open using the app. It is a little fiddly getting Showbox working with ARC Welder but it is the only option for Mac computers. If you use a PC, you can use an emulator such as Bluestacks instead if you prefer.
Why Showbox is worth using
While Showbox is still available and not subject to legal proceedings, we should support it where we can. While going to the movies is great, it is expensive and by the time you have gotten popcorn, a drink and parked, you’re north of $20 per person. Netflix is better, but there are too many restrictions in terms of geoblocking. It’s fine if you’re in the U.S. but if you live elsewhere, your options are very limited.
Showbox is the ultimate equal opportunities streaming service. It works on most devices, streams as much content as is available and isn’t geoblocked or restricted in any way. If it was fee-based, I think everyone would still use it. Instead, ads support the running and development of the app itself and infrastructure.
While I haven’t used the music side of things yet, it seems we will be able to stream music too. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not. If Showbox has managed to sneak past Hollywood and keep a low profile, I’m not sure angering the music industry is such a good idea. I guess time will tell on that one.
Have you used Showbox? Got any feedback you would like to share? Tell us about your experiences below.