What is Showbox?
Showbox is a wildly popular media streaming app available on PC computers and Android devices that allows users to view film and TV content for free from all over the world. The software uses peer to peer (P2P) technology to create media steams similar to how torrent files operate. Torrents, for those of you who don’t know, work by downloading files in small chunks from a variety of host servers before seamlessly stitching the chunks back together into a video file that can then be displayed on your screen. The beauty in using a torrent/P2P system is that the video never gets bogged down by streaming from just one server as the software will always try to leech the file from multiple seeds (host computers) to ensure that little to no buffering is required.
Because the content on Showbox is shared by thousands of users worldwide, the sheer amount of content available is breath-taking. If it’s been on TV, on Blu Ray, on DVD, or at the Cinema it’s probably on Showbox.
How do you install Showbox on your Android Device?
Showbox can be installed on PCs or any device running a version of the Android operating system. If you want to install on a PC you will first need to get an Android emulator, download the Showbox apk (see below) and open it through that.
The beauty about installing directly onto an Android device is the ease that they can be connected directly to TVs. Not many of us have PCs hooked up to our TVs but a large majority of us do have Amazon Firesticks or Chromecasts etc in our living room setups. Unsurprisingly, you won’t find the Showbox app in the Google Play or Amazon App stores, so getting the app installed on your devices takes a little effort and a bit of tinkering. The instructions are as follows:
- Open your devices Settings App.
- Go to Security.
- Choose the Unknown Sources option and select allow installation from unknown sources. Different smartphones will have the Unknown Sources options in various places but finding it on your mobile should be pretty easy. If you are using an Amazon device you will need to turn on ADB debugging too. These options may or may not be visible on your device depending on which version of Fire OS you are running. If you cannot find the options then you may need to download the app Droidadmin from the Amazon Appstore and change the settings from within there.
- Go to the Showbox download page in a web browser. You can use any browser, including Chrome, Firefox, or the Samsung Internet app. If you are using a Kindle device you may need to install a file browser software to locate the file once downloaded or install a 3rd party Appstore like Aptoid and download the app directly from there.
- Click the download Showbox.apk link.
- Navigate to the file location where the Showbox apk file has been downloaded and click on it.
- You will be asked to give the app permissions. Allow all or the app may not work properly.
- Accept the Showbox terms and conditions.
- Click the install button and it will be installed to your device.
- Open the Showbox app from your home screen/app folder.
- The app may need updating. Let it.
- The first time you use it you may have to wait while the app downloads data, pictures etc.
- The menu will then load and away you go.
How do you use Showbox?
Well once Showbox is set up on your device you will find it not too dissimilar to other media viewing software programs, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or even iTunes.
The menus are divided into sections such as Featured – where you will find the latest films and TV programs, Trending – where you can see the most popular media content, and sections specifically for Movies and TV. You will also find a search button and a section for news and trailers.
When you have found the film or TV program you want to watch you will be presented with a full screen of information showing artwork, synopsis, cast information etc, just like Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Prime. You will also see a link to the files needed to watch the video. These links will be divided into quality of the video, whether that’s high definition, standard definition etc, as well as how many seeds (hosts) there are for the video. Obviously, you want to select the source with the highest number of seeds to ensure the quickest downloading and availability.
Speaking of downloading, back on the main menu you will find the downloads section. This is where the film or TV programs you have downloaded will be stored. Before you can watch a program in Showbox it has to be downloaded. This is different to how other streaming apps, like Netflix etc work. The reason the files have to be downloaded is threefold
- So the file can be seeded for others to download. P2P software is a two-way thing. You can leech files from others but in return, others can do the same from you. It’s the very basis of P2P and file sharing in general.
- Streaming videos through P2P without downloading would lead to constant buffering as the constant changes to the file location would play havoc with a live stream.
- Files shared through P2P software can disappear or become more restricted as people delete them from their own devices. It would be a shame if a film or TV program you enjoyed became unavailable because nobody was seeding it anymore.
Films that have been downloaded sit in the download section of the menu and will stay there until you delete them. Clicking on a movie in the downloads section will see it fire up immediately and play. If you have only just found the movie and are watching it for the first time then be aware that it will take 3 – 5 minutes for playback to start as the app buffers the required amount for playback to begin.
Obviously, because the videos are stored on your device, the amount of space can quickly be eaten up by gigabyte hungry HD or 4K video files. For those with limited space, it’s best to see Showbox as a rental or temporary service where content is consumed and then discarded in favor of more content.
If you do find a film or program you really want to watch or you have watched but really liked it, then you can favorite it and it will be added to the favorite menu. This is useful for finding content if the device you are using has a lot of storage and/or you have a lot downloaded.
What are the dangers of using Showbox?
A lot of the content streamed through Showbox is illegal, for obvious reasons. Watching the latest Marvel movie over a stream that you have not paid for is piracy. Piracy laws in the US and the rest of the world have been slow to react to these new forms of illegally viewing content but they are beginning to catch up. In most parts of the western world, your Internet Service Provider (ISPs) is now obliged to actively prevent piracy and will act if you are found to have broken the law. It is not uncommon for Showbox users to receive letters from their ISPs warning that they have potentially committed piracy. Most of the times these letters are sent to frighten people into compliance: a way to bring you back into line. But more and more we hear stories of arrests and private prosecutions being brought against those who frequently flaunt piracy laws.
What can I do to protect myself if I choose to use the Showbox app?
It is recommended that you connect your devices to VPN when you’re using torrenting apps, including Showbox. A VPN (Virtual Private Network), in laymen’s terms, is a way for your devices to connect to other devices elsewhere in the world and appear as if they are on the same network. As such using a VPN can make your devices appear like they are in a different part of the world to where they actually are. This will make it harder (but not impossible) for the authorities to locate the owner of the device. Access to a VPN is not normally free, however, and you may have to purchase a subscription from a 3rd party before you can use one.