What is geo-blocking and unblocking
Geoblocking is where online content providers limit access based on your geographic location. If you are outside of the designated geographic region you are blocked from accessing the content.
How does geoblocking work?
Geoblocking is a simple method where Netflix and other providers know your location based on the IP address. Your IP address is assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) when you connect to the internet. This information allows websites and services to block certain users based on their country location.
Why do HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu and others use geoblocking?
Video steaming providers like Netflix and Hulu have signed copyright agreements with studios that (a) limit the geographic region to which they are licenced to stream television and movies, and (b) require them to take steps to prevent viewers from outside that region from accessing the service. Studios have sold exclusive agreements to other overseas broadcasters, such as Australia’s Foxtel cable television, which means they can’t allow United States services like the US version of Netflix and Hulu to stream that content to Australians.
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How does that affect me?
Firstly, if you live outside of the United States, which is by far the biggest content producer, you are prevented from accessing the vast online movie and television libraries streamed by the US version of Netflix and Hulu for very affordable prices (starting from only US$7.99).
Secondly, if you want to access the better movies and television programmes being broadcast overseas, you have to subscribe to Australia’s super expensive Foxtel cable network or enduring the ad-hoc and delayed timetables of free to air broadcasters. Foxtel has recently reduced its prices given the threat of online streaming providers making its business model and cable network redundant (note Foxtel and their political partners oppose the NBN which would bring superfast video streaming in Ultra-High Definition without using Foxtel’s cable network). The Australian version of Netflix has only a tiny proportion of the shows and movies available on the US and UK versions of Netflix.
So, how can I bypass geoblocking and get access to overseas streaming services like U.S. Netflix and Hulu?
Fortunately, it there is a simple and affordable way of tricking Netflix, Hulu and more that you are located in the United States rather than your country. This unblocks the service and allows you to subscribe to their affordable and vast streaming libraries.
The simplest trick is a third-party DNS provider (rather than using your ISP’s DNS) that assigns you an overseas IP address when you visit Netflix, Hulu and others. Your IP address for your other internet use remains unaffected.
Sound complicated? It’s not really and you don’t really need to understand how it works to enjoy the magic. Once you’ve set it up on your devices you don’t really need to worry about it; it just works.
So who provides this DNS magic and how do I get it working?
I use providers called Unlocator and Getflix which work great for me. Unlocator has a free trial so you can first see if it works before you hand over your credit card details. Getflix currently has a lifetime subscription special deal. HBO Now, Netflix and Hulu also have free trials so you can get up and running for free to start streaming their great content libraries of movies and television. Unlocator is only a few dollars per month so it’s very affordable (especially compared to cable television). Just click here to get things started with Unlocator or click here for Getflix.
What about a VPN; is that the same as the DNS trick?
Virtual Private Networks (or VPNs) can also give you a new IP address that says you are overseas instead of your true location. VPNs work by encrypting and tunnelling all of your internet traffic through a server located overseas. This can also be great for your privacy (as you internet surfing is hidden, even from your ISP and government agencies) but can slow down your other internet due to the speed capabilities of the VPN computer server. Another disadvantage is that Smart TVs and Blu-ray players can’t use VPNs.
If you want the best of both, you can choose a service provider that offers smart DNS and VPN packages. Head on over to overplay.net which offers a package DNS and VPN deal for less than US$10 per month by clicking here.
Surely this must be illegal?!?
If you live in Australia, take comfort from these words by Mr Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Minister for Communications, who states the following about circumventing geoblocks:
“Q: Many Australians use a VPN to access Netflix in the US. Is it illegal for me to use a VPN to access Netflix?
- The Copyright Act does not make it illegal to use a VPN to access overseas content.
- While content providers often have in place international commercial arrangements to protect copyright in different countries or regions, which can result in ‘geoblocking’, circumventing this is not illegal under the Copyright Act.”
So, what are you waiting for? Get started now by clicking here!