If you‘re a cord-cutter, you may have used an app called TVZion to stream movies and TV shows for free. TVZion provided unlimited on-demand content, but unfortunately, it was shut down in 2019 due to legal pressures.
The good news is, there‘s an excellent app called Syncler that has taken its place. Syncler comes from the same original developers as TVZion and delivers a very similar streaming experience.
In this guide, I‘ll explain what happened with TVZion, how to install Syncler, and provide tips on safely streaming free content. Let‘s get started!
What Happened to TVZion?
First, some background on TVZion. It was a popular Android streaming app that offered free movies, shows, live TV, and more.
TVZion didn‘t host any content itself. Instead, it aggregated links from third-party sources across the web. These included file hosters like Google Drive and Rapidgator as well as torrent sites.
This approach allowed TVZion to provide a massive library of on-demand content. However, there was one big problem:
Most of the movies and shows on TVZion were pirated.
While free streaming sounds great, it comes at the expense of content creators. When you watch a pirated movie, none of that money goes to the people who worked hard to make it.
To combat copyright infringement, groups like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) crack down on apps like TVZion through legal actions.
In November 2019, the developers behind TVZion announced they were shutting it down to avoid further legal trouble. While the app itself was not illegal, it clearly facilitated mass piracy.
The TVZion team ultimately decided the risks weren‘t worth it anymore. They shuttered TVZion before things escalated further.
Why Free Streaming Apps Get Shut Down
TVZion is far from the only free streaming app to meet this fate. App shutdowns have become common over the years:
Ares TV – An immensely popular third-party streaming app averaging over 1 million users per month before it was discontinued in 2019.
Neptune Rising – A Kodi addon allowing access to pirated movies and shows. It was shut down after legal threats in 2018.
123Movies – One of the most used piracy sites that was seized and taken offline in 2018.
Popcorn Time – An open-source BitTorrent client for free streaming that has been repeatedly targeted and shut down since 2014.
The pattern is clear: if an app gains traction providing illegal free content, it‘s inevitably targeted and taken down.
No matter how beloved these apps are in the cord-cutting community, they operate in a legal grey area that keeps them unstable. At a certain point, the threat of legal consequences outweighs the benefits of running the app.
While the loss of TVZion was disappointing for many users, a new alternative has quickly taken its place.
Meet Syncler – The Replacement for TVZion
Just a few weeks after TVZion shut down, a new streaming app called Syncler emerged. Syncler was created by the same original core developers behind TVZion.
In fact, Syncler is essentially a rebranded TVZion. It retains all of the key features and provides an identical free streaming experience:
Huge media catalogs of movies, shows, live TV, and more
Aggregates links from file hosters, torrents, Usenet, and streaming sites
Completely free access with no ads, fees, or subscriptions
So why did the developers start over with Syncler instead of keeping TVZion running?
Syncler appears to be a legal protection strategy. By shuttering TVZion and launching Syncler, they have more distance from any past legal concerns.
Of course, Syncler ultimately faces the same underlying issues around aggregating pirated content. But creating a new brand buys the developers more time to operate freely.
Assuming Syncler gains the same popularity as TVZion, though, it will eventually end up in the same situation with legal pressures. For now, Syncler works great as a TVZion replacement. Let‘s go over how to install it on your streaming device.
How to Install Syncler on Fire TV & Firestick
Here is a step-by-step guide to installing the Syncler app on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices:
Enable Unknown Sources
From your Fire TV home screen, go into Settings.
Select My Fire TV > Developer Options.
Turn on the setting for Apps from Unknown Sources. This allows you to install apps outside of the Amazon Appstore.
Download & Install Syncler
Go back to Settings > Downloaded Apps and open the Browser app.
Type the URL
http://syncler.net/installinto the browser bar and press Go.
The Syncler APK will begin downloading. Once finished, select Install.
After Syncler installs, press the Home button to exit the browser.
On the Fire TV home screen, navigate right to Your Apps & Channels and find Syncler. Launch it and start watching!
The entire process only takes a few minutes. Syncler will now appear in your Fire TV app menu for quick and easy access.
How to Install Syncler on Android TV Box
You can also install Syncler on any Android TV box like the Nvidia Shield, Xiaomi Mi Box, etc. The process is nearly the same:
On your Android TV device, open Settings > Apps or Application Settings.
Enable Unknown Sources or Install Unknown Apps.
Launch the Downloader app from your Android TV home screen.
http://syncler.net/installin the URL box and download.
Select Install once the Syncler APK finishes downloading.
Open Syncler from your Android TV app menu and enjoy!
Syncler works great on any model Android TV box or smart TV. It provides a smooth ad-free streaming experience just like TVZion.
Now let‘s explore Syncler‘s features and settings in more detail.
Syncler App Features and Setup
Syncler has a beautiful, easy-to-use interface optimized for TV screens. Here are some of the great features available:
Huge Media Library – Syncler indexes movies, shows, live TV, and more from dozens of websites. There‘s always tons of content to watch.
Real-Debrid Integration – Connect Syncler with Real-Debrid to get high-quality streams from cached torrents. This requires a Real-Debrid subscription.
Trakt Integration – Link your Trakt account to track what you watch and sync your media library across devices.
Auto-Play – Turn on auto-play so Syncler will pick the best stream source automatically after you select a title.
Subtitles – Easily download subtitles right within the app.
Local Media Playback – Syncler includes a built-in player so you can even watch your own local media files.
Take some time to dive into Syncler‘s settings to enable and customize these features to your liking. The app includes tons of options to tweak the streaming experience.
For example, adjusting preferences for the Media Player and Link Filtering can improve stream quality and speed. Enabling Real-Debrid also bumps you up to fast premium streams.
Next, I‘ll go over some tips for safely using Syncler and other free streaming apps.
How to Use Syncler Safely for Free Streaming
While Syncler is very similar to TVZion, it comes with the same legal disclaimer:
Some of the free content may be illegally hosted. Streaming pirated copyrighted material is generally not recommend, as it hurts content creators.
However, there are still ways to use Syncler responsibly as your personal media streaming app:
Prioritize watching older public domain content over newer releases. For movies, those made before 1968 are more likely to be in the public domain.
Avoid recently aired TV shows and live sports. Streaming within hours of airing is very risky.
If streaming newer content, use reasonable precautions like a VPN to keep your activity private from prying eyes.
Be careful with downloading media directly versus streaming. Downloading leaves more evidence on your device.
Consider supporting the creators you truly value by subscribing to legit platforms like Netflix or HBO.
Delete any pirated content afterward rather than indefinite storage. Treat streaming as temporary access versus ownership.
Use your best judgment and follow trespassing rules – take only what you need, leave no trace, don‘t destroy anything, etc.
With basic common sense, you can safely enjoy apps like Syncler for personal use. Just be responsible by supporting content creators when you can, and never redistributing anything illegally.
Why You Should Be Careful with Piracy
While chatting about apps like Syncler and TVZion, I should address the ethical concerns around piracy. I don‘t recommend using these tools without understanding the impact:
Piracy hurts content creators. Movies, shows, sports events, etc. require thousands of people working hard behind the scenes. Pirating undercuts their pay and jobs.
It stifles innovation and quality. Content companies lose revenues and motivation to fund bigger and better projects when work is stolen.
There are legal risks. Copyright holders do actively monitor and prosecute piracy misuse, typically targeting distributors over individual viewers.
Free doesn‘t mean victimless. When you pirate, you take advantage of content you didn‘t pay for. The "free" nature makes it easy to rationalize, but there is harm being done.
Consider more ethical options. Services like Netflix provide affordable access to tons of content while properly compensating creators. Or use free legal sources like IMDbTV, Kanopy, Hoopla, PlutoTV, or your local library.
While apps like Syncler themselves aren‘t illegal, I believe using any tool responsibly is important. I recommend erring on the side of supporting artists and companies whenever possible.
Okay, stepping off my soapbox now! Let‘s wrap things up with some common questions about Syncler.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Is Syncler legal and safe to use?
The app itself is legal. But some sources may provide pirated content, so use discretion. Streaming safely avoids most risks.
How much does Syncler cost?
Syncler is 100% free including all features and no ads. Real-Debrid is optional for better quality streams but costs extra.
What devices can install Syncler?
It works great on Fire TV, Firestick, Android TV boxes, Android smartphones, and more. Syncler is designed for the big screen experience.
Can I use Syncler anonymously?
Yes, connecting Syncler through a VPN will hide your streaming activity from your ISP, government, etc. This adds a layer of privacy protection.
Does Syncler have its own media player?
Yes, Syncler has a built-in player so you don‘t need external players like VLC or MX Player. But external players are still an option in the settings.
Final Thoughts on Syncler
In the end, Syncler succeeds TVZion as a top code-cutting app while staying on the right side of the law. It continues the open-source spirit and amazing community around free streaming.
The process to install Syncler is quick and easy on any Fire TV or Android device. With great customization options, Syncler delivers an incredible viewing experience.
As with any powerful tool, remember to use Syncler‘s capabilities responsibly. Prioritize content where possible, minimize permanent local copies, and keep your viewing activity private for peace of mind.
I hope this guide has been helpful for learning about TVZion‘s shutdown, getting Syncler installed, and using streaming apps safely. Never hesitate to reach out with any questions!