S'poreans work around ban to access thousands of TV box apps channels by simply changing DNS settings

Technology is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

Belmont Lay | November 27, 2018, 12:40 AM

Singaporeans can still continue to access thousands of channels made available by TV box apps despite having access blocked by Internet service providers.

Changing DNS

It was reported that ISPs have been ordered by the High Court in Singapore to block access to streaming applications that come pre-loaded in TV boxes.

However, in a follow-up report, Channel News Asia found that users here can circumvent the ban by installing a pre-loaded app.

This then alters users' Domain Name System (DNS) settings, which effectively bypasses any bans put in place by ISPs.

This was demonstrated by at least one shop staff at Sim Lim Square that sells such TV boxes.

Legal grey area of such boxes

At the moment, retailers are disputing the illegality of their products.

Other Sim Lim Square shops have even said the devices they are selling are legal.

They cited the fact that TV boxes are devices pre-loaded with apps and are not the same as decoders of the past that have been outlawed.

But the other reasons cited for the devices legality are descriptive and not totally convincing.

For example, sales assistants said the UBTV app that is pre-loaded in Ubox is connected to a Hong Kong server, while the ATTV Box is connected to the Singapore server -- a distinction without a difference.

Both of the Ubox and ATTV Box are different types of devices that can sell for between S$129 and S$198 and are also known as Android boxes.

Other cheaper boxes can go as low as S$118.

Position on such boxes will be clearer soon

So far, two TV box sellers, An-Nahl and Synnex Trading, have been charged in January with "wilfully infringing" the copyright of four companies.

The trial is fixed for April next year and it represents a chance for the courts in Singapore to clarify the law concerning piracy that gives users unbridled access to copyrighted programmes and its legal position on the use of such boxes.