Is the FreeStream Media Player worth the $599.00 that it costs? No. Absolutely not. I know why you are reading this right now. You were or are at the fair or a home show or boat show etc. And you took a look at a set up that sounded too good to be true. Cut cable and get this wonderful streaming box that gives you access to every cable channel you want, all of the NFL football games, all of the NBA games and pay-per-view events for free. And it’s less than the cost of half a year of the expensive cable or satellite package you pay for now. If it smelled fishy to you there is a reason. this sort of thing is not a legitimate video services option.
Too Good To Be True
Just by the description, it should be obvious that it is not a legit product. Pay per view means you pay to see things. So if you are told that a service gives you access to things like that for free based on one purchase price you should understand that it can’t be legal.
NFL Content Is Expensive and Exclusive
The NFL’s Sunday Ticket is the crown jewel of DirecTV’s TV service. The representatives from Free Stream will tell you that they are able to offer the NFL package with a psychobabble explanation about the company having so many IP addresses registered and blah blah blah. This is simply not the way that these kinds of services work. Otherwise, every major TV distributor would offer the package for free to every customer. Much less, companies like Roku and Amazon.
Premium Channels Have Legal Apps
HBO and other premium channels are available via both TV packages and their own free-standing apps. There is no way to get the service legally via a magic box from the fair. Otherwise, they would advertise this option on their own website.
Local Channels Don’t Make Deals With Random Distributors
Local Channel distribution is based on separate deals between major media companies and rights holders. There is no way on earth some outfit out of Texas without a corporate phone number worked out deals with every single TV station group in the entire country. Zero Chance. In fact, it’s pretty complicated for the giants of the industry like Comcast to maintain the relationships needed to provide network affiliates.
Company Apprehensive On The Phone
We spoke with a technical support representative asking questions along the lines of how do you offer programming such as Sunday Ticket and HBO content and were told “We don’t offer any programming”. And when asked how the box has all of the content that is demonstrated we were told “All the stuff you see on the box can be found on the Internet”
Basically, it is the same defense other Android-based box distributors throw out when either questioned by authorities or sued by rights holders. The thing is that when you interact with these people face-to-face they sell you on the idea that the services and the programming are the product.
Next to no info on their website
On their own website, this is what it says about the box in the FAQ. You must only use apps (or APK files) and addons found in the TV Store, App Store or Google Play. If you use or download apps and/or addons from other sources, you do so at your own risk, and this voids the warranty. We will not replace any Media Center that is damaged while downloading or using apps and/or addons downloaded from any other source. We do not provide Technical Support for any apps or addons. These are optional programs intended to enrich your user experience with the FreeStream Media Center. If you have questions about or need Technical Assistance with any app and/or add-on you must contact the developer directly.
Now, let’s get to the product itself. If access to the content is not guaranteed, it can be assumed that the cost of the product then is for the hardware. Are these little Android machines worth $600.00? No. Take a look at the cost of this Android-powered media player.
This is a classic bait and switch. The company puts together a showstopping demo that wows you in a few minutes. Sets up the pitch around the value of the programming and content available, but then if it messes up will tell you that they are not responsible for what is and or is not available. And all it costs is $600.00.
Do not jump on this my friends. You will regret it.
Correction. An earlier version of this story accidentally referred to a company known as ClearStream. The two brands are unrelated.