For me it happened when I was on a short holiday in the USA, and I started up my Netflix account and it was a revelation. Although I used my own UK based account, because of my location I was redirected to the US version of Netflix which is so much better. Thousands more films and TV shows, movies which had only just left UK cinemas and a whole host more where available, isn’t something I wanted to lose when I went back home.
If you investigate, it’s incredibly common and not just restricted to Netflix. The majority of the big media sites all have some sort of restrictions or blocks based on your location – in fact try and access Netflix from some countries and it’s not even available even if you have an account. BBC iPlayer only works in the UK, Pandora the online radio station will now not work outside the US, every TV channel is normally restricted to it’s country of origin.
But if you keep investigating , you’ll discover there is a way to take back control and watch whatever you want, irrespective of your location. The technology you need is called a VPN (Virtual Private Network), forget the other solutions that you see mentioned like Smart DNS and proxies. Although they work both are intermittent and easily blocked – setting up a VPN to the country of broadcast is what you need to do.
It works like a dream, install a VPN client on your PC or tablet and you can access whatever you need. I use a service called Identity Cloaker primarily because it’s fast and inexpensive, however there is a problem using all these services – How Can you Use a VPN on a Smart TV?
Or really any non-computer type device, for example I watch online stuff through my Smart TV, phone, Roku, Wii U and a load of other devices. However I simply can’t install any client VPN software on my TV even if it would let me, in fact many of these devices are increasingly restricting access to the network configuration screen to stop people bypassing these blocks. Well what you have to do is look one step away from these devices, in my case my router which connects all these devices to the internet – How to Set up a Smart TV VPN
So instead of messing around with lots of different versions, installing client software on numerous devices and tweaking settings – just set up the vPN on your router, access point or modem – basically the device that connects
you to the internet. This ensures that everything connected to this router uses the VPN by default and you can turn it on and off at will. Of course, it’s not perfect and it does mean that if my US VPN is turned on – another device cannot watch the BBC iPlayer at the same time (the BBC will see the US IP address of the VPN server and block it). However you can switch these on and off very easily when you need to.
Not all VPN providers allow this manual access though, so it’s worth checking before hand – Identity Cloaker does on all it’s servers and I would imagine most of the ‘reputable’ VPN services do too.