Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Getting US TV Shows in Japan

One of my biggest irritations is when companies geo-block their content. Geo-Blocking is when the company restricts their content based on your location.  For example, Netflix wont let people outside of America subscribe to their service. Of course it's not really Netflix fault, you can blame that on Hollywood.  Netflix isn't the only service that is blocked. There are games, streaming services like Hulu, and even some content on YouTube is blocked.

So, how do we get around this you might ask?  There are two options that I know of: proxies and VPN's (virtual private networks). I haven't really had any luck with proxies, so I will talk about what I know.

There are VPN services out there that charge you a little bit of cash to give you an IP address in the country you desire.  I happen to use StrongVPN, and I haven't had any issues with most sites.  Netflix and Hulu work with no problem. Some of the TV network sites work and some don't with VPN's.  I haven't really worried too much about the ones that don't. I am sure if I messed around with the settings enough, I could figure it out, but there is more than enough content on Netflix and Hulu to keep me busy.

Basically all you have to do is sign up for a VPN service, set up a VPN connection in Windows, Mac, or on your smartphone. Connect to the VPN before you try to get to Netflix or Hulu, and you are in business.  Of course you have to pay for Netflix, but there is a free one month trial out there.  I have a US credit card with a US address and it works like a charm. My buddy has a Japanese credit card with a Japanese address and it works too.  So, it doesn't appear that Netflix cares about your billing address, only the IP address.

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