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    A sly Now TV update is culling sideloaded apps like Plex

    This is a discussion on A sly Now TV update is culling sideloaded apps like Plex within the NOW TV forums, part of the Other Sky help and support category; https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/16/...te-kills-plex/ Sky cites piracy as the reason for disabling developer mode. Ever since the launch of the first Now TV ...

    1. #1
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      A sly Now TV update is culling sideloaded apps like Plex

      https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/16/...te-kills-plex/
      Sky cites piracy as the reason for disabling developer mode.

      Ever since the launch of the first Now TV box for just 10 in 2013, some buyers have been using the little streaming pucks in ways Sky hadn't originally intended. Cut through the branding, and Now TV boxes are just Rokus in disguise, complete with a developer mode that lets users sideload apps not available in the sparse Now TV store. But no longer, as Sky has quietly begun issuing an update to Now TV boxes that disables developer mode and purges any apps that've been installed on them using the loophole.

      Not many Roku apps can be found neatly packaged for sideloading, and you can only maintain one shoehorned app on the boxes at any one time. It's no surprise, then, that a niche community has developed almost exclusively around filling that one slot with Plex. For starters, the official Plex Classic client is easily found online, and the powerful media centre software adds a plethora of otherwise absent functionality to the Now TV boxes.

      As a post on the Now TV support forum explains: "The latest update has been designed to safeguard the device from piracy and illegal streaming of content; therefore it will disable the use of unofficial third party software or apps."

      I've pressed Sky to elaborate, including asking for examples of illegal activity in which developer mode was accomplice. At time of writing, I haven't heard anything more than the above, illogical explanation. As far as I know, Plex is the only sensible use for the lone sideload slot, and I've kept a lazy eye on the community ever since I penned a guide on how to turn the first Now TV box into a Plex machine. The software is both popular and available in the Roku app store, and it's probably worth mentioning at this point that Sky is a significant investor in Roku. It just doesn't add up.

      So, if the piracy line is a PR exercise, what's the real motive behind killing developer mode and the adjoined community? Doing this, it would seem, needlessly alienates part of the Now TV customer base. I suspect -- and this is just spitballing, mind -- that Sky simply doesn't want to encourage the Plex crowd to buy Now TV hardware any longer. The primary purpose of the boxes has always been to push Sky's paid content, and I believe they are sold at a loss -- the second-gen Now TV puck sells for just 15, yet it's based on the Roku 3, which launched in the UK for 99.

      It's understandable that Sky would prefer buyers to have a genuine interest in purchasing complimentary content passes, not those in the market for a cheap-as-chips Plex machine. Sky has never advertised developer mode as a feature, and of course, the company is perfectly entitled to disable it, even if does come across as a tad anti-consumer given some people have bought Now TV boxes purely to take advantage of sideloading.
      But business is business, not piracy.

      Update 2:
      It would appear the trickery below doesn't successfully disable automatic updates, so there's no way to stop it reaching Now TV boxes barring taking them offline altogether.

      Update: Apparently, you can stop Now TV boxes from automatically applying the update if you haven't already received it. The trick is to get into the "Platform Secret Screen" using a button combination similar to the one that lets you enable developer mode in the first place. From the main homescreen, use the remote to punch in:

      Home, Home, Home, Home, Home, Fast Forward, Play, Rewind, Play, Fast Forward

      You should end up on the Platform Secret Screen. From there, head into the "System Operations Menu" and "Disable network pings." Close out and everything on the Now TV box should continue to work as normal, it just won't check for platform updates anymore.


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      Re: A sly Now TV update is culling sideloaded apps like Plex

      Would it not be better for Plex to make their software available legally on the Now TV box, if they care for it.
      But it sounds like Plex is going the same way as Kodi, allowing pirated content methods.

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      Re: A sly Now TV update is culling sideloaded apps like Plex

      Neither Plex nor Kodi "allow" illegal content as such. Kodi and Plex are just media players that can be hacked. If you put a platform on the open internet such as Plex or Kodi somebody far far cleverer than the coders such as the likes that Sky, Now etc etc have, will find a way around it. The real reason why illegal content is out there and is so popular is that organisations like Sky and Now are stupidly expensive for what, at the end of the day , is mediocre ex-american content laced with endless repeats and other junk. I gave up on Sky TV years ago and I would not go back. I have kept Sky Fibre as I do think that it is the best, or at least it has been for me. Freeview is fine for the amount of telly that I now watch. Other stuff I can substitute from You tube and the internet. I have dabbled with a hacked Amazon firestick in as much that bought one but there isn't a lot on there that I wanted to watch and, whilst I will admit that I lost money on that, I have now got rid of that. I am capable of installing free content on to a free download of Kodi on my computer although I haven't done that as I have said there wasn't anything I particularly wanted to watch on the Firestick. I also think that the powers that be will be clamping down soon on Kodi/Plex/Firestick installs so for that reason I don't use them any more.

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      Re: A sly Now TV update is culling sideloaded apps like Plex

      It seems that some of the people impacted by this change have been running the PLEX (client) app on NOW TV boxes to access their own content held on a computer within their own local network that is running the PLEX server software.

      So they are now angry that they are now unable to do so once the NOW TV Box has updated to software version 7.5.3

      Effectively they were able to bypass the normal app installation method, which was to download from the selection of "approved" apps in the NOW TV App store, and take advantage of "developer mode" (a "loophole" that allowed unapproved apps to be side-loaded onto the box).

      Thus, this made buying a NOW TV box (which is made by Roku - based on the Roku 2 I think - but runs a somewhat customised and locked down version of software) to be seen as a cheap way of getting a Roku box for use as a PLEX client connected to a TV.

      I must admit, I did this myself in the early days of being a NOW TV user!

      But it wasn't long before I realised that the NOW TV box and app store was too restricted, as I also wanted to access Netflix and Amazon Video, so I bit the bullet and picked up a Roku 2 for about 40 in one of Amazon's frequent price-cut promotions on Roku gear. This gave a much wider choice of apps and services.

      Oh and the PLEX app on the Roku store is much better looking and easier to use & navigate than the much older PLEX Classic app that was the only version that could be side-loaded to NOW TV.

      Job done, sorted...
      ++ speedyrite ... powered by Sky Broadband since 2007 ++

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      Re: A sly Now TV update is culling sideloaded apps like Plex

      supprised someone hasnt dumped the nand of the roku box and flashed straight onto the now tv boxes tbh and be done with now tv

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      Re: A sly Now TV update is culling sideloaded apps like Plex

      Quote Originally Posted by Shonk View Post
      supprised someone hasnt dumped the nand of the roku box and flashed straight onto the now tv boxes tbh and be done with now tv
      I think if you Google your statement I think you'll find that they have.

     

     

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