Proxies have been the ‘must have’ tool for anyone who wants unrestricted and unfettered access to the internet for years. In July 2007, the BBC launched the iPlayer application on to the internet as a ‘free catch up service’ for UK TV license payers. A few days later thousands were already accessing the service from all over the planet, many who had never even heard of a TV license fee never mind paid it.
To be fair, the BBC has always been fairly laid back about blocking access to it’s TV services. The official line has been that you can’t access without a) a TV license and b) being located in the UK, however this is rarely the case with no millions watching from all over the world – making the BBC a hugely important global media giant. A very simple proxy is all you ever needed until recently to access the BBC iPlayer service. In fact you only ever needed it until the programme started streaming to your computer, switching off the proxy was perfectly possible after the initial location checks had taken place.
Advancements have led to more sophisticated VPN based services like this one, which open up global media even more allowing you to switch your connection through a long list of different locations as you require. However there has always been one issue, the fact that all these services have been much easier to use on a computer. The fact is that we no longer all sit at a powerful PC to access the online world, now we use all sorts of different devices like phones, games consoles and a myriad of other gadgets. These devices can be difficult to use a VPN or proxy on, indeed some are deliberately locked down to prevent their use.
So there are now newer technologies which you can use to access blocked content. If you want to watch the BBC iPLayer from your Spanish residence then you no longer need to try ad configure a UK IP proxy on your Smart TV you can use this –
As you can see from this video, there is no requirement here for a proxy or connection to a VPn server based somewhere. This technology is called Smart DNS and is explained on this site, but it basically works by only routing the location based queries through an intermediary proxy server everything else just streams directly.
There are numerous advantages to this method, for one it’s cheaper as the bandwidth costs are significantly reduced. However the major advantage in this world of internet connected devices is that it’s much easier to configure on things like media streamers, smart TVs and games consoles. The reason is that it doesn’t require any client based software like a VPN, and configuration needs only a change of DNS servers. At the moment this network configuration is openly accessible on most devices and modification requires no technical knowledge at all.
It’s too early to say that Smart DNS will see the demise of proxies and VPNs certainly in the media blocking world. Certainly there are restrictions, Smart DNS provides no layer of security and it could be that it is ultimately much easier to block from the media companies themselves. We’ll have updates on the developments at thenewproxies.com though so watch this space.