I don't think I've assigned it any particular level of evil - it was an interesting part of the experience because it shows just how much this area has been affected by changes in technology. You're right in that in many cases, people might not fork over cash for the channels, or might not be in a place where they could do, even if they wanted. Sky is never, for instance, going to be retailing Sky Sports 1 anywhere other than in the UK, because they don't have the rights.
But people are spending the cash on some of these boxes, so they're clearly willing to pay for content, and in some cases don't realise it's not legit. Perhaps in some ways, the challenge that broadcasters and rights owners have there is not really the technical one of stopping piracy, but rather the issue of trying to come up with a more sensible way of handling rights, so that people can get what they want, where they want it, at a reasonable price.
Some of the boxes I saw had over a hundred sports channels from around the world, because if you're knocking up a box like that, why not? You aren't paying for the content, after all. However, I would suspect that many of the people who buy such a box probably only want a few specific channels - for say Premier League, or Nascar, or Ice Hockey, depending on their tastes.