Thursday, November 8, 2012

Watching American Netflix in Canada and other thoughts.

If you live in Canada and have ever tried to watch media on a US site you might have received a notice saying that you are out of range or your country is not a viable location to access this media. This is no doubt a source of frustration to many, most of the population hovers just above the border so why not can we access this content?
I will illustrate a completely free way of accessing American content from another country. There is only two steps, some of you might slap yourself wondering why you didn't do this sooner.
First you need an application called Hot Spot Shield

Download it for your computer here
Download it for android here
Download it for iOS here

This application one of the few free options for VPN service, for those who don't know, VPN stands for Virtual Private Network,this, in essence creates a funneling system that takes your connection and puts it through servers located elsewhere. Making it look like you are somewhere else. Since your internet traffic is being funneled through various servers, your history stays local to the machine, giving you an added layer of security. This is yet another advantage.

Once it is installed, activate the program, when it is connected try going to an internet location that was previously locked out to you, it should no longer be that way. The quality of the connection will vary from device to device, for example, sometimes I have to reset Netflix and Hot Spot Shield a couple of times to get it to work on my Android tablet ( it's free I'll count my blessings). I have yet to test it on Mac and iOS devices but I would imagine it works just fine.

I found this process works best on a desktop computer. In most other cases you would be paying an annual fee to access a VPN network. So there's an entire business made just to redirect internet traffic. This raises some questions that perplex me. Firstly, for what reason do content providers restrict their content based on country? And what kind of customers do VPN companies receive? What percentage use them to access foreign content? At the end of the day it's people outside the United States who are willingly paying a premium to access their content on top of all already high prices on things like shipping and internet. I wonder whether this trend will continue or will us foreigners have to stretch even further to access content we should already have access to?

 For now enjoy the gift of Hot Spot Shield while it lasts. Good things don't last forever.

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