Watching premium television has become increasingly more expensive in New Zealand, especially with the increase of individual pay channels, our TV networks are paying out more and more for TV series that we get way behind other countries. With more and more people watching on demand, why should we be restricted to only watching the media that we’re “allowed” to watch?
Netflix is awesome, it has a massive library, its own series and provides on demand programs for all the family. Why we don’t have it here is a mystery, NZ television could gain much more of a foothold across the globe. So in the meantime, let’s access Netflix in the US.
In this series of articles, I’ll explain how to access overseas based media so you can watch or listen to what you want.
Netflix in NZ
At US$7.99 a month, having Netflix is a bargain for the range of shows you get! They’ve recently released an update which provides different profiles, so you can have one for the adults and one family friendly profile.
They’re even producing their own series, such as House of Cards, which gained an Emmy nomination and instead of normal TV where they stretch it out over months, they’ll release the series all in one go so you can have a viewing marathon!
Now go to www.netflix.com and see what happens. Yep, you can’t create an account because it knows you’re outside of the USA. So what we have to do is to appear to Netflix that we’re in the USA and we can then use their services.
Note: This is not illegal but Netflix could possibly frown on it, except they’re making money from it, so I doubt it!
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) used to be the way to go. This was a virtual tunnel to a computer in another country, giving the appearance of you being in that country. But they have overheads and speed limitations. It’s not to say they’re not useful, especially if you’re not on your own network.
But new technologies and developments have meant that the simplest way to do this is by changing what’s called a DNS server. DNS servers change www.whatever.com to a number (e.g. 123.45.678.90), which is the real address for websites. New technology allows traffic that would be sent to certain sites to be modified to show as coming from another address. In normal language, if you go to www.netflix.com it will tell Netflix that you’re in the US. It doesn’t change your New Zealand IP address, so you still appear to everyone else as being here. It only affects those sites that you want to watch media from.
So that’s the explanation, now let’s get on and do it.
Obtain an overseas address. There are a number of country specific Netflix sites but I’ll concentrate on the US or UK sites.
The easiest way to get a UK or US address is to use Youshop. It doesn’t cost anything to setup and is handy to have in case you order anything from Amazon.
Setup an account and write down the address and telephone number.
Payment method. Netflix and other sites are not free, but they’re a lot cheaper than the NZ competitors. You can use Paypal by setting up a US account, but it’s easier to buy a virtual credit card. I use Entropay because it’s simple to setup and maintain. I don’t have to go through the hassle of using my normal card with its NZ billing address or remembering my different paypal accounts. Just remember, top it up occasionally otherwise you’ll lose Netflix!
The all-important DNS software. I’ve used both unblockus and unotelly. Me, I prefer Unotelly as it is easy to set up on your router and also provides a VPN service so you can access Netflix from any wireless network. But unblockus is a good alternative.
Go to Unotelly.com and sign up for a free trial. I recommend the Gold service as you get the VPN service included. It starts from US$8 a month on a month to month service to US$5 a month for 12 months service.
There’s two installation methods:
For the router setup which is the easiest, access your router’s admin page (ORCON Genius guide?)
Replace your router’s DNS addresses with the following addresses.
Once complete, login to Unotelly and update your IP address on the system. Make sure the banner is green for go. If not, follow the troubleshooting guide.
You will find if you’ve a dynamic IP address, it may be changed occasionally by your ISP, you’ll know when it’s changed as trying to go to these sites will redirect you to Unotelly to update your IP address. That’s as simple as clicking on the update IP button!
If you’re not able to access your router or you’re using a shared connection (like me), but still want to access these services, you can setup the individual devices. Just follow the guides below
Some devices require the Netflix application to be installed. If you want Netflix on your iOS device, you’ll have to create a US account (guide coming soon) then download. With Android, it’s a little trickier, but install the vpn settings you will have received in an email from Unotelly then follow this guide.
Go to www.netflix.com and you’ll see that now you can sign up for an account. You’ll also be able to get a free trial so book a weekend off! Using your virtual credit card and US address, setup your account. You can start watching on your computer straight away.
On your device, login with your Netflix account, get some popcorn, sit back and enjoy!
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