Zona is an all-in-one piracy app from Russia

Before I start the review of Zona, a new application that provides you with access to movies, TV series, music, games and live TV, I'd like to use a paragraph or two to tell you why I'm reviewing the application.

I find it interesting that apps such as Zona or the previously reviewed Popcorn Time deliver what legitimate companies don't for whatever reason.

The current media distribution system is highly fragmented. Depending on the country you are residing in, you may not be able to get legal access to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, or stream TV shows or movies that you like to watch legally.

This is especially the case if you prefer to watch shows and movies in their original version and not synchronized or delayed by months or even years.

The programs show how an all-in-one solution could look like, and while we are as far away from it legally as ten years ago, there is hope that a company will eventually come up with a worldwide solution that works for everyone.

Zona is a Java application that you need to install on your system before you can make use of it. Virustotal detected five hits out of 51 indicating that the package may contain potentially unwanted software.

Once you have started Zone, you see an interface that looks similar to the one of Popcorn Time. One difference here is the obvious focus on Russian content. While you will find many English titles listed by the app, you will also notice quite a few Russian titles.

zona movies

First thing you may want to do is go to the Settings and set your preferred watching language to English. While it won't change what is being displayed, it ensures that English contents are streamed when available.

You can filter the listings by country, and if you filter by US, you end up with over 17,000 movies and 1800 TV shows. Some covers are still displayed in Russian though so keep that in mind.

The program works similar to how Popcorn Time does. It pulls information from various torrent sources from the Internet as well as VK.com, and makes them available in the app.

You can stream contents to your system or download them instead as well. Once you have selected an item, it takes some time before it becomes available. This is normal as the torrent file requires some buffering before the media file can be streamed without buffering issues.

zona

You find download buttons attached to streaming contents so that you can save a local copy as well.

Movies and TV series work in the same fashion, with the difference that  you find seasons and episodes listed beneath selected TV shows.

The application displays additional information about shows and movies including the actors, playing times, a short description, and ratings.

When you check out the TV channel listing, you find many popular US and European channels listed here. This includes Fox, Discovery Channel HD, Eurosport, Cartoon Network, CBS Drama, BT Sport, Sky Sports and a boatload of Russian channels.

A plugin is downloaded before TV contents can be streamed.

There is also live sports, radio, and the previously mentioned music selection.

Closing Words

While I cannot say if Zona can be legally used in Russia, it is certain that using the app is not legal in most countries. What sets it apart is that it combines different types of media in one application, which makes it the first, or one of the first, cross-media platforms that is offering all types of media you might be interested in.

For now, I'd be happy if a legal alternative would become available that would offer TV show contents and movies in a similar fashion worldwide. (via Torrentfreak)

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Responses to Zona is an all-in-one piracy app from Russia

  1. Oxendine April 26, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    According to many reviews, which cannot be verified, but which are too numerous to be ignored (among them, one is from the forum of the manufacturers of Dr.Web, famous Russian antivirus - http://forum.drweb.com/index.php?showtopic=312666 (Russian)), Zona, along with another app, MediaGet, are on the edge of malware. I am genuinely surprised to see ghacks even mention such apps.

    Edit:
    Here is the description of this app, which I have acquired from this forum: http://forum.drweb.com/index.php?showtopic=312666&page=2, and have translated from Russian:

    [Zona] is a torrent-client with integrated search. Actively uses Java. In case the user's computer does not have Java installed, the program downloads an outdated Java runtime package from its webpage and installs it.

    In some cases it changes the start page and search system in browser settings to
    rambler.ru.

    In fact, the Azureus torrent-client is used.

    • Martin Brinkmann April 26, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

      I would suggest to run the program either in a sandbox or virtual environment in case you want to give it a try. Thanks for the comment, it is appreciated.

  2. Maou April 27, 2014 at 1:25 am #

    Seems like they don´t want to make more money, instead they love to waste time and money making new drms and restricting access.

    Btw Malwarebytes dislikes this too.

  3. Dwight Stegall April 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    The only problem I've seen is it requires Java. If you don't have Java it will install it for you. I hate Java! Nothing is more insecure. :(

  4. David April 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    I won't be trying this, but I'm pleased that Martin covers such applications. The best way to solve a problem is to make it worse, so popularity of programs like this should encourage the creation of a legitimate solution.

    That Popcorn thing looks much better anyway. It doesn't matter that it's discontinued, does it?

  5. Ray April 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    Use XBMC and get some video addons. Don't use something that might have malware.

  6. Anonymous April 27, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    promoting piracy application by this way is no good idea.

  7. Alex April 28, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    MediaGet, Skymonk, and now Zona are actively promoted in runet on some shady sites like file sharers. There's absoultely no information about who made this apps and i believe they are 100% malicious in some way -- it is likely that they're spying on user or turn your machine into a node for a botnet. There's no proof, though, it's just my thoughts.

  8. Timson April 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    BTW "Zona" (Zone) is a common Russian slang term meaning "prison" :)
    You know, just fwi

  9. Dante April 28, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    Cool! I'll load this in a VMware instance. Hate waiting for Doctor Who episodes to finally show up in the States.

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