Mou

Taming kontiki – a kservice.exe solution for iPlayer and 4OD. No more 100% CPU usage!

Ive just stumbled across a blog post to by a fella called Murad who says he’s developed a mini application to stop the iPlayer and 4OD services completely on request – so when you’re done using them, you’re actually done using them and no longer subject to Kontiki’s kservice p2p bandwidth hogging “malware”.

More details can be found by clicking here.

I’ve so far held out from reinstalling either service since my initial discovery that 4OD were using the kservice.exe service to use my bandwidth without permission, and avoided the BBC iPlayer when it became clear it was using a similar underhanded tactic. Its been a while so I may take this as an opportunity to reinstall them again and see if any changes have been made. I’ll also test drive Murads application and see if it does what it says on the tin.

Hat tip to Geoff for pointing me in its direction.

Note – I’m not sure if this works with the Sky By Broadband flavour of the kservice.exe service and don’t have the facility to check. If anyone can confirm this, let me know!


30 Responses to “Taming kontiki – a kservice.exe solution for iPlayer and 4OD. No more 100% CPU usage!”

  1. I know about Iphone & Itouch but what’s iplayer ?….

  2. mou

    If you live in the UK you’ll know what the BBC is – the iPlayer is an application they released to allow people to watch programs after they’ve been on TV, except it installs a “service” in the background on your PC that is difficult to turn off and eats up your bandwidth.

    Theres a few more details about it here and here

  3. Bob

    When you sign up to the service be it Sky AnyTime, 4oD, or iPlayer you should read the terms and conditions. You’ll find you’ve agreed to allow the use of your upward bandwidth :-)

    How can P2P be termed malware if you’ve agreed to install it??

    The advantage of using P2P is that the content provider BBC iPlayer in this case don’t have to pay the cost of all the bandwidth (think 100’sK per annum for solutions that download content from a single source) – using P2P allows the cost of bandwidth to the content provider to be reduced (80% in the case of popular content)

    So what do you want to do??
    1) Pay extra on your license fee to pay for the required bandwidth??
    2) Allow p2p to use your upward bandwidth, which you have going spare??

    Either way…. your paying!

    The only problem is that ISPs don’t get to charge for P2P software using their networks. ISPs charge for downward bandwidth on the whole, so when they see P2P being used to distribute content they feel as though their missing out – they want two bites of the cherry.

    Also, consider available UK backbone bandwidth – P2P puts traffic onto local networks therefore leaving more bandwidth (speed) available to other applications.

    It really annoys me when people comment about these technologies and term them malware. You get iPlayer content for FREE!!

  4. mou

    Hi Bob, thanks for your comments.

    If you read either of my 2 previous posts on the subject, it may be a little clearer. I don’t think using P2P is a bad idea. And no, I wouldn’t prefer the BBC to spend millions more a year providing downloads directly from their servers.

    What I would like, is a statement within the T&C’s stating that the downloads will continue once the player has been shut down. If what I hear from current users is true, it may also be worth them mentioning that ticking the “do not share” button doesn’t work. This may have been done since I wrote the article, I don’t know – they lost my trust long ago.

    I’d also like the option to be able to stop and/or limit the download rate when its not convenient to me to have my broadband connection clogged with iPlayer traffic. I have no problem with sharing, I just don’t think they have the right to force me to share on their terms.

    Although I do agree with you – it also annoys me when people comments about technology and call them malware with no real insight on the subject. However, in this case, installing a piece of software that contains extra software for another purpose, that runs in the background, does not warn you it will be running 24/7 and constantly uploads data from your PC to other remote PCs – that sounds like the very definition of malware to me. I downloaded the iPlayer to watch old TV, not participate in an iPlayer sharing community. If that’s a requirement of using the iPlayer, then they should make that clearer when you’re installing the software.

  5. Good day,

    In retrospect it was unwise of me to download BBC Iplayer as it has slowed my computer and inet service – so I wanted rid of it together with Kontiki (loaded with the Iplayer) but when I disabled the Kservice ( via the windows service manager) I could no longer start my computer, XP failed to start until I reinstated Kservice and I’m concerned that removing Iplayer altogether might permanently prevent XP from starting as I assume Kservice would also be removed ?

    If anyone else has encountered this problem and has a solution I would be grateful for help – would it be safe to uninstall Iplayer from my machine?
    Regards, David JP

  6. mou

    Hi Dave

    I can say with some certainty that its not designed to break your PC if you uninstall it!! But its hard to say if it will, in case the installation botched.

    And from what I’ve heard, uninstalling the iPlayer will not necessarily mean the kservice.exe service will be removed.

    A few people have recommended kclean.exe as a method for removing kservice completely, but I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t say either way if its effective/safe or not, although that links points directly to the SkyByBroadband website (another user of the p2p software) so I’d assume from that its a trustworthy download. Use at your own risk!

  7. tastyfish

    Hi,
    I think part of the problem is that the BBC appears to be abusing its own trust. People see the name ‘BBC’ and just assume everything is OK and above board. Surely the good old Beeb wouldn’t be up to any underhand tricks? How many people actually bothered reading the Ts and Cs? I know I didn’t, because I trust them. More fool me.

    These days it’s all too easy for any company to hide behind terms and conditions. Ts and Cs are not set in stone – they can be challenged if they are unreasonable. The thing with the BBC is that they are hiding important technical aspects of the service within their Ts and Cs and not really explaining to the ordinary user what is actually going on and what it means to them.

    I would say I’m fairly technically literate but even I’m surprised at the way the BBC, Sky and Channel 4 have handled this. I don’t mind P2P, I’m quite happy to act as a server for downloadable content as we all benefit. However, I would like to have more control on what goes on on MY laptop. If I say ‘OFF’ I want it to be off. If I choose to let it open at startup I’ll let it – if I don’t, I won’t.

    I wonder if P2P will become the next big headache for users and how long it will ake before it becomes common knowledge? Look how long it took the industry to respond to spyware and hacking.

  8. Gavin

    Hi
    Just a few comments, I have iPlayer, and cant get it to work. However, the T&C’s when I downladed iPlayer a few weeks back made it clear it uses P2P technology. The how they do is unimportant really, you agreed to allow them to do it, and had the option to not download.

    As a second point, ZoneAlarm, a fairly decent firewall always asks me do I want allow the connections, unless of cause i tell to remember that I said yes, which for KService I dont know. So Kserver has net access only when I let it.

    Uninstalling KServer shouldnt stop XP from working and if it does, I believe illegal act has been commited, as they have written software that damages your PC this is a crime in the UK.

    You should be more worried about Phorm really, now that is evil and illegal (wiretap/intercept laws I believe this time.) *shrugs*

    Anyway back to trying to getting KServer to actual start

  9. mou

    @Gavin

    Thanks for the comments. Although I don’t agree! How they do it is the most important point. Many programs use P2P software at the back end, not many design it to run 24/7, regardless of whether the software is being used. And if they do, I’d hope they’d declare it in the T&C’s – which they didn’t. That may have changed now, I don’t know – like I said before, I won’t be installing it again so its irrelevant to me.

    And yes, I did get the ZoneAlarm warning – while I was installing the iPlayer. So the assumption was, I’m allowing the iPlayer to connect to the internet. You don’t become aware of the problem until after you allow access.

    Isn’t phorm that advertising thing the ISPs are signing up to? The one thats run by a guy that used to run a spam business? lol. Yeah, I’m glad I heard about that early, so I know to opt out when the time comes.

  10. If you untick the “Allow services to be shared when you exit the download manager” option in the iPlayer download manager and then exit it when you are not downloading, doesn’t that stop the iPlayer using your bandwidth?

  11. Lemmin

    I installed 4OD a while back. Its been fine for weeks, maybe months, but recently kservice.exe has reared its head and started using all the processor time of one CPU (thank goodness its not mutli-threaded!)

    I was certainly not aware when I installed 4OD that I was installing P2P softare. Maybe I should have read the Ts&Cs, but I kind of assumed that channel4 would be on the level – they are a British institution, after all.

    Even with only one CPU eaten up, the computer is still sluggish, and the 4OD program takes minutes to respond to any mouse click – its basically unusable now. This can’t be good for channel4 either. Needless to say I’ve emailed them asking whats going on.

    I certainly agree that if they are going to use P2P they should make the fact obvious, and more importantly give more control over it. I don’t want some program using all my upstream when I’m trying to play a game, or send an email, or upload a picture to a website. I should be able to limit how much of MY bandwidth it uses. I was definately under the impression that 4OD was a centralised server based system, not a P2P system. I’m just glad I didn’t install iPlayer!

    LEM

  12. Jerry

    Easy fix:
    Start -> Run -> services.msc OK
    Scroll to KService
    Double click
    drop down to Startup type manual
    Click apply
    Click “stop” if you are not downloading from iplayer
    obviously choose “start” if you want to download from iplayer.
    Like switching of the light when you are not in the room eh 😉
    To get rid of it… iplayer will stop working though
    Do
    Start -> Run -> cmd
    type:
    sc stop KSERVICE
    it should respond:
    SERVICE_NAME: KSERVICE
    TYPE : 10 WIN32_OWN_PROCESS
    STATE : 3 STOP_PENDING
    (STOPPABLE,NOT_PAUSABLE,ACCEPTS_SHUTDOWN)
    WIN32_EXIT_CODE : 0 (0x0)
    SERVICE_EXIT_CODE : 0 (0x0)
    CHECKPOINT : 0x0
    WAIT_HINT : 0x0
    Now type:
    sc delete KSERVICE
    it will get deleted, you will need to re-install iplayer to get it back.

  13. Jerry

    Easy fix:
    Start -> Run -> services.msc OK
    Scroll to KService
    Double click
    drop down to Startup type manual
    Click apply
    Click “stop” if you are not downloading from iplayer
    obviously choose “start” if you want to download from iplayer.
    Like switching of the light when you are not in the room eh 😉
    To get rid of it… iplayer will stop working though
    Do
    Start -> Run -> cmd
    type:
    sc stop KSERVICE
    it should respond with details about stopping the service, several lines!

    Now type:
    sc delete KSERVICE
    it will get deleted, you will need to re-install iplayer to get it back.

  14. David Lawrie

    Hi,to limit kservice.exe CPU use, use BES – free (beta) – 1Mb RAM, http://mion.faireal.net/BES

    Actually works with any process, but mentions Kontiki in ‘help’.

    Also: use, say, ‘Process Tamer’ to reduce priority.

  15. Inksaver

    Hi
    simple one to use is create a shortcut on the desktop and rename it Stop 4oD.bat. Right-Click and edit to open notepad. Paste these lines and close:

    net stop kservice
    net stop khost
    reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run /v 4oD /f
    reg delete HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run /v kdx /f

    This stops the services and deletes the registry keys that re-start it on re-boot.

    Also if you are using Windows Media Player version v11.0.6000.7000 or less you can use FairUse4WM / Mirakagi to remove the DRM if used before the licence expires

  16. Jasper

    John Bates wrote above (March 29th):
    “If you untick the ‘Allow services to be shared when you exit the download manager’ option in the iPlayer download manager and then exit it when you are not downloading, doesn’t that stop the iPlayer using your bandwidth?”
    The answer is NO. Kservice completely ignores this setting & continues to run in the background unless killed.
    This is the biggest single issue with that I have with iPlayer right now – you explicitly select an option and it ignores it! I use a work PC for downloading content to watch when I’m on the move – it’s a sackable offence to use P2P software so I have to be very careful to ensure that I don’t load it when on the company network, using email clients etc. This stealth has exposed me to something that I chose to disallow and I am fuming at the BBC for this blatant disregard for its consumers.
    And yes – I now have to switch the light off every time I leave the room, Jerry.

  17. I have uninstalled Kservice / Iplayer / Sky player a week or so after I have installed it about 3 times …

    For the following reasons –
    – it made my PC slowwwwwww right down on startup, from less than a minute to nearly 5 minutes, as I want to do work on a train out of a 45 minute journey it does eat into it quite a lot … and I generally want my system to load up PDQ.
    – it often want to connect using Bluetooth so bandwitch is quite critical
    – it does take a lot of bandwith / CPU usage.

    I truly object to anything that doesn’t go when I want it, in fact i try and get rid of anything that sits in the background and uses resources (including battery).

  18. Some good tips and advice on here – thanks for sharing. Personally I agree that P2P is a good technology and it’s great to see BBC / Channel 4 using it – but they need to be less sneaky about it and make it obvious.

    Wonder if this will be the television company’s next “phone line scandal” to hit the press?

  19. Ankur

    Hi

    Guess what – Kontiki has extended their reach – this has now gone beyond the UK.

    On Sept 2nd 2007 I installed Big Flicks player from
    http://www.bigflix.com/ – its a reliance company in India. kontiki downloaded the same day – i noticed it today while doing a check through MSCONFIG – oh my oh my

    So now have to go through what all of you have.

  20. Instead of Jerry’s suggestion re: “services.msc”, isn’t it easier to kill both khost.exe and kservices.exe in the Task Manager? Or does this not stop them totally?

    I’ve only just downloaded iPlayer (a second time after and initial dissapointment months ago)so not used it this time but I thought issues had been ironed out.

  21. tab

    i have had iplayer for months, but ticked the do not share box, which was clearly presented. seems fine.

    i have now just got the channel 4 one, and couldnt understand why my internet seems to be working all the time.
    checked the usage – processes and saw Khost and Kservice – googled one and found this info here!
    thanks everyone.
    i do have to say that i have not had this problem with iplayer though.
    and i dont remember seeing an obivous place to click for not sharing on the channel 4 player though.
    cheers
    tab
    :-)

  22. anon

    All 3 VOD apps mentioned were actually developed by the same company – a small outfit based in York.

    Hmmmmm

  23. Quinno

    Hey guys,

    Yeah I’ve had this problem with Kservice.exe, but only with 4OD (I think Iplayer made the P2P thing a lot clearer than Channel4). I installed 4OD and my bandwith got gobbled like Pac Man on a mission within a week.

    Thanks for the advice above!

    Cheers
    Quinno

  24. Rafael

    Hi,

    Appzo’s idea right, no reason to install more program to turn off Kontiki for current session.

    30 seconds manually in Vista:

    1. right click taskbar and click ‘task manager’
    2. in ‘processes’ tab, right click KHost.exe and select ‘end process’
    3. in the ‘services’ tab, click ‘services’ button at bottom, continue, scroll down to find entry for KService, right-click it and select properties, change start-up type to ‘disabled’ and click stop

    To turn off permanently go into the control panel. Control Panel -> change startup programs -> disable the two Kontiki items.

    What a piece of shit is.

    OK
    Rafael

  25. Natalie

    my 4od has intalled but when i go to watch anything it plays the adverts and when it comes to play the actual programme it gives me a message saying that there is an error with the scriptson this pag, do u want to continuend i click yes and it palys the adverts again and comes back on, when i click no it does the same thing as if its ending the programme…has anyone got any solutions as to why this isnt working? if anyone does have any solution please let me no,
    thank you

  26. TimBob

    @Rafael

    Thanks.

    Also, to people in general, Does all this schist pose much of a problem if you only stream off the sites and don’t actually download?

  27. masta f

    i tried to use tv on demand monitor with 4od but i get object error…. please help

  28. Fraser

    I’ve just got into the habit of running “net start kservice” when I want to use 4od and “net stop kservice” when I’m finished.

    I’ve also set the kservice.exe entry in services to manual start rather than automatic.

    Simple.

  29.  
  1. Woops, Kontiki did it again - kservice.exe and the BBC iPlayer | mou.me.uk
  2. kservice.exe, Channel 4 and the stolen bandwith… | mou.me.uk
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