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IPTVs are generally safe to use, as long as you’re using the legal ones. Illegal IPTV services may outnumber legal ones on the market, but they’re also loaded with malware and other stuff that you wouldn’t want on your computer. And, a VPN won’t help much.

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What are IPTVs?

Understanding the potential safety issues that may be associated with the use of IPTVs will be quite a hassle if you don’t understand what they are in the first place.

IPTV or Internet Protocol television refers to any platform or service that lets you access streams over the internet, as opposed to using a traditional satellite or cable TV. While popular streaming services like Netflix are technically IPTVs, they’re rarely referred to as such.

The specific definition of an IPTV depends on the context. However, most people are more comfortable with using IPTVs to generally refer to services that let people access movies and TV shows from popular streaming services illegally.

To aggregate all of these, it will be pretty accurate to say IPTVs are services that let you stream live TVs without having to go through the regular cable and satellite TV routes.

From this explanation, it’s pretty easy to understand why people refer to IPTVs as unsafe. People don’t see legitimate streaming services as IPTVs, just those sites with thousands of malicious ads to every paragraph of text.

Since that’s most probably what you had in mind before reading this article, I’ll treat IPTVs to mean such, only that I’ll add the illegal prefix. Over the next few paragraphs, you’ll get some pretty compelling arguments on why you should consider not using illegal IPTVs for streaming.

How Does IPTV Work?

IPTV works quite simply. You don’t need any expensive software or external hardware to start streaming an IPTV to your computer, as long as you’re going for the legitimate ones.

There are different types of IPTVs; live IPTV, time-shifted media, and video on demand. Netflix, Hulu, or whatever streaming service you pay for is most likely a video on demand site. Most illegal IPTVs, however, offer live TV, but without the appropriate licenses.

Video-on-demand IPTV services will typically load their site with a plethora of videos. You can access the site, pay for a subscription, and browse through their catalog of videos, choosing whatever you want to watch whenever you want to watch them.

Live TV services don’t work the same way. Most people who sign up to IPTVs offering live TV follow sports since sports is only at its best when it’s live. There are many legal IPTVs with live TV, but almost everyone you’ve encountered is illegal.

Lastly, shifted media IPTVs let you catch up on what you’ve missed during the live broadcast. Time-shifted media is a balance between video on demand and live TV, as it allows you to stream shows you’ve missed on-demand after they’ve aired.

All of these types of IPTVs have legal and illegal ones, and you’ll be exposing yourself to a whole lot of disadvantages by snubbing the legal ones.

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Is IPTV Legal in the USA?

There is no specific law in any state in the United States that outlaws the practice of watching IPTV per se. If you’re watching one, however, you’re most likely committing a crime, but just not in the way you think.

As explained earlier, Netflix, Hulu, and other legitimate IPTVs buy the rights for their content. They adhere to DMCA laws and pay the appropriate dues, making everything you stream over Netflix legal.

However, that is not always the case for illegal IPTVs that bring you paid content for free. Most times, they use not very legal tactics to bring you the content you stream, as they don’t have the license to let you see the content.

To cut the long story short, watching IPTVs isn’t the problem here; the problem is watching copyrighted content that the service doesn’t have a license to stream. Unless you’ve acquired the right to watch the content legally, you may get in legal trouble for watching anything off an illegal IPTV.

Legality is one of the little things you’ll have to worry about if you’re deeply invested in the IPTV ecosystem. With those malware-peddling ads, you’ll need hundreds of antivirus software to ensure you don’t nuke your computer or mobile phone while watching an ad.

While there are many other disadvantages of using illegal IPTVs, this isn’t the correct section for those. In the next section, I’ll show you some of the major disadvantages of getting most of your video content from these illegal sites.

Disadvantages of Using Illegal IPTVs

At this point, it’s already pretty clear that you should stay away from anything related to IPTV. While they may offer seemingly enticing benefits, you’ll almost always have something to lose.

From users’ experience with some popular IPTVs, here are some of the consequences of using illegal IPTVs that will generally want to make you stay away from them.


If you’ve never suffered a virus or ransomware attack, you’ll think getting hit with a fine by the government is way worse. The FTC has a statement regarding malware from illegal streaming. According to that article, illegal streaming malware can lead to:

  • Steal credit card information and sell it to other hackers on the dark web.
  • Steal log in credentials for sites you shop on and go on a spending spree.
  • Steal the log in credentials for your bank account and steal your money.
  • Use your computer to commit crimes.

If you want to learn the hard way, continue streaming illegal IPTVs, and you’ll make a testimony on Reddit soon enough.

Due to the illegality of their services, it’s evident that not many advertising companies are willing to take in these illegal IPTV streaming websites. However, the maintainers have bills to pay and servers to maintain, and how do you think they manage to do all that?

In theory, it’s pretty simple. They get ads from anyone willing to take them in, show you hundreds of ads every second to make just enough to get them by. Do you know who’s willing to sponsor illegal streaming websites? I’ll leave that for you to figure out.

In practice, however, it’s not that simple. Since malware creators have bought all the ad spaces on these sites, you’ll see hundreds of spooky ads every second. You must close all of these ads intelligently to access the stream and avoid nuking your computer at the same time.

While you may get to watch the stream quite frequently, you may not have as much success with “not nuking your computer.”

Any wrong click, and you’ll have another big malware on your computer. To cut the long story short, you’ll eventually have to pay the price that you should’ve paid for a legitimate streaming service but buy antivirus packages this time.

They are illegal.

One of the last things you’ll ever want to do on your computer is illegal things. You may get a criminal prosecution, leading to a pretty heavy fine at best and throwing you behind the bars at worst.

While most legal streaming services don’t do enough to try to bring offenders to book, there have been a couple of instances when an illegal stream has gotten people into trouble.

Given that most people who stream illegal IPTVs don’t have any plan put in place to help secure their privacy, the prosecution will be pretty easy work if the government sets its heart to it.

Loss of money.

It doesn’t matter how “honest” an illegal IPTV may look; you’re eventually going to lose the money you paid to access it. This isn’t usually up to the guys running the service; they set up an illegal service, and they know it will probably come crashing down sometime.

If you’ve ever wondered why almost all illegal IPTVs close up after a couple of months, it’s because they’re illegal. Most only need a “cease and desist” letter to take down their services, and there are stories of those that ended up in court.

It doesn’t matter how they finally end up. Since you never had a legal contract with them in the first place, your money will also go with them, regardless of how much you paid.