When the Fusion repository went offline, many of the more popular live TV add-ons for Kodi became inaccessible. During this time, people were looking for add-ons which were available from other repositories. One of the more popular alternatives to Fusion-hosted add-ons is the Kodi Bubbles add-on, a very popular add-on which provides access to a wide range of media, from movies to sports and everything in-between.
Bubbles’ popularity is somewhat muted in its notoriety, however. While the add-on has gained sudden popularity, its primary focus is heavily on unauthorized content streaming.
Bubbles is also a bit more complicated to set up than most add-ons. However, we’ll be walking you through what this add-on does to help you gain a better understanding of why there are some significant privacy concerns with the add-on. We’ll also be discussing some of the privacy issues that all Kodi add-ons (including Bubbles) have and will take a look at some alternatives.
Copyright law is some of the most complex legislation that there is. What is legal in one country may not be in another, and for this reason, it’s important that you know the laws in your country of residence. Gaining an understanding of the relevant laws and the way in which Kodi add-ons work will help you to minimize the risks that come with streaming content via Kodi.
Comparitech does not condone or encourage any violation of copyright restrictions, including illegal streaming through Kodi. Kodi can be used for many excellent, legal online streaming purposes. Please consider the law, victims, and risks of piracy before downloading or streaming copyrighted material without permission.
How to use Kodi safely
The first thing that you need to know is that Bubbles is a third-party add-on. As such, it may not have been subject to the stringent and thorough quality control measures that an officially supported add-on would have been. This means that Bubbles is more vulnerable to hijacking (although even official add-ons aren’t fully secure), and could lead to malicious software running on your machine.
There is another issue that should be addressed before you start using Kodi properly. A lot of the major internet service providers (ISPs) don’t like streaming content. There’s a chance they’ll try to limit your download speeds, even if you aren’t doing anything illegal.
So how can you protect yourself? Essentially, an ISP can tell if you’re streaming by examining the ways in which you receive data. By using something called a virtual private network (VPN), you can hide your browsing habits from third parties and keep your business exactly that: your business. A VPN can even help to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks and allow you to watch content which is usually only available in certain countries since you can easily choose which server to connect to.
We recommend using IPVanish. While it is a paid for a service, unlike with a free VPN, it doesn’t sell your data to anyone – it can’t since it doesn’t keep any logs of your traffic and is one of the few VPNs fast enough that it won’t ruin you streaming experience and cause Kodi buffering issues.
Reader deal: You can save up to 60% on an IPVanish plans here.
Better still, it works with all Kodi add-ons we have tested and can be easily installed on a Fire Stick or Fire TV.
Bubbles is a third-party add-on for Kodi that provides access to media for streaming. It’s a link scraper, which means it finds links to films and TV shows from a variety of websites before delivering them to the Kodi user.
One of Bubbles’ biggest flaws is that none of the sites it pulls links from are providers of legal content. While it could be argued that Bubbles isn’t doing anything wrong since it doesn’t host the content directly, the developers made a conscious decision to only include illegitimate sources, and as a result, there’s a good chance that any content that you watch will be pirated.
Although the content is grouped by category, there’s no way to search exclusively for legal content such as public domain movies. While some of the content on offer is legal (The Little Shop of Horrors and Night of the Living Dead, for example), it’s up to the user to identify it for themselves.
Additionally, Bubbles relies heavily on paid content providers. The providers, such as Real Debrid and Usenet services, allow individuals to pay for access to higher quality pirated streams. Although streaming copyrighted content for free is legally questionable in most cases, offering money in return for that content is purely illegal for these content providers.
For the reasons above, we do not recommend that Kodi users install or stream content with Bubbles.
Alternatives to the Bubbles Kodi add-on
Despite Bubbles being fairly popular, it’s not a particularly good choice for people who want to watch TV or movies legally. These people can breathe easy, however: despite Kodi receiving a lot of negative press in recent months, there are actually quite a few high-quality add-ons which are completely legitimate. We’ve listed some of the best here and have a separate guide here to the best Kodi Movie add-ons and here for the best Kodi sports add-ons.
FilmOn.TV is a Kodi add-on (and website) that provides access to live television broadcasts from all around the world. There’s also a limited selection of pre-recorded content in case you get bored of switching channels. While access to these services used to be free, FilmOn have recently started using a subscription-based model instead. Despite this, the service is reasonably inexpensive and provides a wide selection of categories to choose from.
One of the things which make FilmOn TV better than Bubbles is that the entirety of its content is legitimate. That said, it is important to note that as it broadcasts in real time, viewers in the UK will require a TV License in order to legally watch any of the live channels.
This add-on can be found in the SuperRepo repository.
USTVNow is a Kodi add-on that provides users with the ability to watch live American television from anywhere in the world. You can also rent movies if you choose to. Although it is a subscription service, once you create an account, there is a free tier which offers indefinite access to seven channels, and you always have the option to upgrade if you find that you like it.
USTVNow requires that you be a US resident or citizen in order to use their service, but there’s really no verification process in place. As a result, there’s nothing stopping you from tuning in wherever you’re from.
This add-on is better than Bubbles for two reasons. Firstly, it’s legal and allows you to sample its offerings for free. Secondly, you can tell it to record specific shows in advance. In contrast, to get DVR functionality in Kodi, you have to install additional add-ons, which takes longer and increases the risk that you’ll install something malicious.
The latest version of USTVNow is available in the SuperRepo repository.
Everybody has heard of YouTube, but not everyone realizes just how much content is on there, or that there’s a dedicated Kodi add-on. Most of the videos are pre-recorded, but there has been a huge increase in the number of live videos on the site as well. Some of them, usually the music-based ones, even stream for 24 hours a day.
Most of the videos on YouTube are user-created and moderated, so the odds of you finding copyrighted material are very low. Better still, one of the great things about this add-on is that there’s such a huge range of things to watch, spanning every genre imaginable.
Not only is all of this content completely legal to watch, but it absolutely dwarfs Bubbles’ content library. These factors alone make YouTube a far better place to find something to watch than Bubbles, but when you also consider that you can rent or buy movies directly from YouTube, the argument becomes irrefutable.
YouTube can be found in the official Kodi repository.
Overview and privacy concerns
Bubbles has a decently sized library of content, that’s beyond a doubt. However, the vast majority of this is pirated, which could be illegal depending on which country you’re in. To make matters worse, there’s no way of telling what it does with your data behind the scenes.
The fact that this is a third-party add-on means that it may be more vulnerable to hijacking than an officially created and hosted add-on. This would allow someone to run malicious and potentially damaging scripts on your computer, which is why we recommend using official add-ons whenever possible. When you consider that most of what Bubbles offers is available legally in some way, it becomes clear that it’s not as attractive as it appears at first glance.