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

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 26, 2014
Music and Video

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.

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.

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)


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source – WorthyTricks.co.cc

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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