I put together some frequently asked questions (FAQ) from readers regarding jailbreaking various streaming devices.
What Does Jailbreaking Mean
Jailbreaking is the practice of removing restrictions from the operating system of a device. The term jailbreaking originally became popular in reference to “jailbreaking an iPhone.” Apple has always preferred stability to flexibility. Therefore, iPhones are very meticulous about which apps their users can install. Jailbreaking circumvented these restrictions, allowing the users to install unsupported software on their iPhone.
The formal definition from the Oxford dictionary is:
Modify (a smartphone or other electronic device) to remove restrictions imposed by the manufacturer or operator, e.g. to allow the installation of unauthorized software.
Recently, with the advent of cord cutting, the term jailbreaking has been erroneously applied to a few streaming devices. I explain why this is a misuse of the term in an article I wrote on Jailbreaking a Firestick.
People inquiring about jailbroken streaming devices, typically mean they want a streaming device with Kodi installed (and usually configured to view pirated content)
How To Jailbreak a Roku
Considering Roku (see: What is Roku) is the most popular streaming device on the market, readers are always asking me “How do I Jailbreak a Roku?” As I explained in the article on jailbreaking the firestick, that’s not really the right question.
People asking this question are really inquiring about installing Kodi on Roku. Unfortunately, Kodi isn’t supported on Roku. There is a workaround where you can use Miracast to mirror your android phone or computer to your TV, but it’s a fairly terrible viewing experience.
Your best Kodi option to stream TV and movies on your TV is the NVidia Shield. Kodi is an easily installable app on the Shield, and it’s fully supported.
What Does Jailbreaking Do
While “jailbreaking a streaming device” is misused term in most cases, actual jailbreaking takes a bit of tech knowhow. The operating system that runs the apps on your phone is governed by a kernel.
Jailbreaking a device involves applying patches to the kernel that adjusts the rules of the operating system. This process also provides administrative rights and privileges on the device also known as “root” access. This allows for limitless flexibility when it comes to device configuration.
If you can install Kodi on a streaming device without applying a kernel patch or gaining root access, it’s technically not jailbreaking.
If you have a question about jailbreaking a device, ask in the comments. I’ll add the answers to the FAQ.
If this article didn't answer your specific question, check out the Cord Cutting Guide. It provides links to the most important articles in our over 200 pages of content to help you ditch pay TV.
You can also get help online with any technical questions you may have. Just check out this Online Tech Support Chat Tool
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