So How Can I Install a VPN on my Smart TV

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.

The Christmas Proxy Dash

For anyone with an interest in UK Television, be it ex-pats, Anglophiles or just lovers of great TV programmes – Christmas can bring some great online treats.  The BBC iPlayer website for instance reruns loads of fantastic shows, documentaries, comedies and biographies over the festive season.  There are also some wonderful shows broadcast for the first time which you can either pick up live or from the iPlayer site for a couple of weeks later.

I’m in the bracket of ex-pat abroad, although I do still live in the UK for most of the year. I have tried English language TV in many other countries and to be honest I haven’t found anything quite as good as the BBC.  There’s some wonderful stuff on US TV, Canadian and Australian TV of course but usually accompanied with adverts every few minutes – incredibly annoying unless you’ve been brought up with this.    For me I’ve been brought up with mainly non-commercial TV, namely the BBC and my favorite programmes are still there.  For me, I’ve never seen a better sports show than Match of the Day, a better nature documentary than those by David Attenborough and of course the best Science Fiction drama ever made – Dr Who.

christmasproxies

Which kind of brings me to the purpose of my post – how do you – watch Dr Who Christmas Special abroad?  Or perhaps you’re stuck somewhere where the TV sucks or you can’t understand the language.  Then having access to unlimited BBC can be a real boon, especially if you’re away from home and a little homesick.   But of course, the BBC online content is not actually accessible if you’re outside the UK – the web site checks your location and if it’s not the UK then you get blocked.

But as you may have discovered there are solutions and one of the most popular are proxies.  The secret is not changing your IP address like many would imagine, but hiding it from those who seek to restrict your access.  A proxy is basically a server that sits between you and the site you want to visit, so the location of that computer actually affects what you can see.  A UK proxy can allow you access to all UK media sites, a USA proxy  will unlock the US sites like Hulu, Pandora and HBO for instance.  Check this video out for an example –

As you can see it’s very simple, and although the example is on a computer there’s similar techniques that work on tablets, smart phones and TVs and most media streamers.

Why do you Need a UK Proxy ? For the BBC of course.

My first realization of the extent of internet filtering, came in a hotel located on the edge of an industrial estate about 20 kms outside Stockholm. It was boring, I can’t remember the hotel chain but it was like a British Travel Lodge. Nice enough to sleep in, but absolutely nothing to do if you a) couldn’t speak Swedish b) didn’t know anyone. There were indeed some gorgeous looking Swedish women in the bar, unfortunately all of them appeared about 3 inches taller than me – so I slunk back to the hotel room with my laptop like any self respecting geek would do.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Sweden, it’s a great place, the people are friendly, everything is clean but it can be expensive. For a very mean, self expensed traveller that can be a bit tough, some of the internet charges would make your eyes water! However when you’re really bored, a bit fed up and lonely then internet access promises a lot of things – World of Warcraft, Online poker and of course UK Television at least I thought it did. It was a Saturday night and I thought Doctor Who, followed by Match of the Day – cheered me up no end.

Unfortunately that was until I tried to access any of these sites, only WoW worked and it kept dumping me on a Swedish server. My main focus was British TV of course, and that was when I discovered that even a fee paying, UK citizen is denied access to the Beeb if he’s sitting in a box hotel in Stockholm. In fact this is true any where outside the UK, you just get blocked with a little apology.

It’s true I didn’t take this well, but fortunately I have many friends who are cleverer than me and who travelled more. Ten minutes late I was redirected to this video which showed me how to reassert my nationality. The video is still on Youtube and you can find it here – or watch now.

That’s all there is to it, at least on a PC to access on a iPad or similar you need to do some other stuff but again it’s not hard. Here’s a video I found later that shows the steps you need for that using the same service.

Further Information on this technique can be found at the following –

http://www.theninjaproxy.org/tv/how-to-use-a-bbc-iplayer-proxy/

 

How to Find a Turkish Proxy

The internet used to be one big happy family, where we could all go to the same websites and see exactly the same. However this is not the case anymore and many web sites block or restrict access based on your location – here’s how you can use a Turkish proxy to access web sites restricted to people in Turkey only.

You might not think there are many sites which only allow access from Turkey like this but you may be surprised, many Turkish banks, TV stations, online newspapers and YouTube videos are accessible only if you have a Turkish IP address. Of course there’s only two ways this can happen –

  1. You’re in Turkey
  2. Using a Turkish Proxy or VPN to hide your real address

Where to find a Turkish Proxy

Now you can find free proxy servers online, but you’ll be struggling to find a Turkish one that isn’t going to infect your PC with malware and allow the administrator to run off with your account details if you try and log in to anything. So you’ll be left with one of the paid VPN or proxy providers, although there’s not many that supply a Turkish server.

The one I use is called Overplay and they have been around for many years. Here’s the interface of the connection program –

Connected via Turkish Proxies
Select a Turkish Proxy

All you do is scroll down the list and select the desired country, in this case Turkey then press connect.  From this point in all your traffic will be encrypted and  routed through the Turkish server and you will appear to be connecting from Istanbul (where the server is located).

You can see from this screen shot now when I visit Google I actually get redirected to the Turkish version –

Turkish Google

When you have finished you merely select deselect, or if you need to access content in another country then connect through a different server.  For example if you’re in Turkey and want to access the BBC Iplayer you would choose a UK server.  If you needed to access some American only sites like Hulu then choose one of the US servers.

It can be a challenge finding Turkish proxies to use however, you won’t find any free ones and some sites charge a lot of money for them. Fortunately for anyone looking for specific proxies like ones from Turkey, then Overplay have the biggest proxy/VPN server network anywhere and they only a charge a small subscription fee to cover all their servers which you can cancel at any time instantly.

I can thoroughly recommend them – Overplay VPN Service.

Edit – after recent events in Turkey from Erdogan thought this might be relevant – Turkish Block Twitter

How to Get a British IP Address

Lot’s of people arrive at this site asking this question, how can they change their IP address to a British one.   Mostly it’s Ex-Pats or people who just have some connection with the UK, or simply want to do something like watching the BBC Iplayer abroad.

The reason is that although the internet used to be pretty much open and standard for everyone, that is changing all the time.  Wherever you are based I am sure you’ve been presented somewhere with a message saying ‘sorry you can’t watch’  or ‘not available in your country’  – it happens to all of us wherever we are based.  Of course it happens a lot more if you’re in a country like China or Thailand who heavily censor the internet, but you’ll still get blocked by companies even if you’re based in Britain, France or the USA.

Anyway  this post is specifically about how people can  get a British IP address so I’ll focus on that.  The IP address is the number assigned to you when you connect to the internet,  it’s unique to you and can be used to identify you and your location.  This is what a site like Hulu, or the BBC do when you first connect to their sites – check the location of your IP address.

Here’s what happens if I try and watch the new Stargazing programme on BBC Iplayer –

 You’ll just get this message, whether you’re in the US, Spain, Japan or Canada it doesn’t matter.  If you’re not in the UK you won’t have been assigned a British address when you connected.  This is the same thing that happens when you get a message from YouTube about the content not being available in your country – it’s checking your location and deciding what you can see.

But now a small confession, at the moment I am actually in the UK and I’ve tricked the BBC Iplayer application to believing I’m in France.  It’s just for demonstration to show that it is perfectly possible to control your IP address and surf completely unrestricted.

Here’s how – fortunately it’s perfectly possible to cloak your real IP address and show the site your visiting a completely different one.  You basically connect to the web through an intermediary, or specifically a proxy server – when you connect to a site, the IP address presented is that of the server.  So if you use a French proxy you’ll have a French IP address, a US proxy will give you an American address, a German proxy a German address  and of course a British proxies will give you a British IP address.

Because this opens up so many different web sites a mini-industry has been created with applications that allow you to connect to a network of private proxies which allow you to control your IP address.  Here’s the very best of them – a program called Identity Cloaker.

Hopefully you can see from this screen shot, that the software allows you to connect to any number of proxy servers based all over the world – From Australia, USA, Canada, France and of course the United Kingdom and many, many more.

You simply click and select the country you wish to appear from, a huge list of fake identities to hide your real location.  It’s all perfectly safe and legal you’re merely hiding details of your connection from the website you are visiting.  In the screenshot here – I’ve got a German IP address to watch a site that streams some great films but is only available in Germany.

To watch  the BBC Iplayer, if you’re not in the UK then you’d simply select one of the British proxies, it’s actually one of the most popular uses of Identity Cloaker and why they have a huge number of British servers !  Even crossing the border makes a difference, which is why lots of people use it to watch BBC iPlayer In Ireland too.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by some online blocks then this is your solution.  It’s the most sophisticated  yet utterly simple to use and has by far the fastest proxies available.

The trial version lasts ten days and doesn’t automatically rebill like many such applications.   Best to test it out first  – believe me it opens up a huge number of websites that you may have been blocked from previously and doesn’t just include a British IP address there’s lots more countries watch US Netflix, Hulu and ABC for instance  – here’s the link for the  10 day trial of Identity Cloaker.

Additional Reading
http://www.uktv-online.com/

Using a Proxy to Watch Hulu

Have you ever watched Hulu – it’s wonderful, apparently it’s one of the most popular sites on the entire internet.   However very soon after the site was released they restricted access  based on location, you can’t even access Hulu in Canada!

Anyway at first it wasn’t too much of a problem using a proxy server you could change the IP address you connected to. So you just had to use an American one, a Hulu proxy if you like and you were allowed to access the service.   But then Hulu got wise to this and was able to detect the use of them, so free proxies and methods like HotSpot Shield stopped working altogether.  People are still using proxies for some media channels – for instance a German proxy server will still unlock most sites in Germany but in most instances VPNs are needed now.

Currently the only way to watch Hulu from outside the US is to use some sort of VPN (Virtual Private Network) which creates a tunnel from your client to a VPN enabled server.

There’s a few of these around commercially or if you work for a multinational company you may find you have access to a US based server that you can connect to.

Remember the idea is simple – your browser or computer is irrelevant, what’s important is that  your connection and IP address needs to appear to be from the USA.  Here’s the software I use – it’s called Identity Cloaker.

 

There’s a few hundred servers in all different countries but for Hulu we obviously need one based in the US.  When I click on an American server it sets up a SSH connection to the US which all my internet activities will be tunneled down – more info here.  This means that when I connect to Hulu it will see the IP address of the server (which is American) and allow me to access Hulu wherever I happen to be.

Works like a dream and comes recommended – test with the trial account first  at Identity Cloaker.  There are quite a few others that work well too – but remember you need more that just a proxy server for Hulu (although a proxy still works for BBC Iplayer from outside the UK).   You’ll have a selection of different countries available, they concentrate on the US and major European countries though – if you want something a little less usual like a Japanese or Turkish proxy – check out the rest of this site for alternatives.

Good luck

Further Reading – http://www.proxyusa.com/