One of the inconveniences of travelling abroad is having to miss your favorite TV shows because the streaming service you subscribe to has a different library where you’re going, and the shows you follow are not in them. Worse still, your company has relocated you for an indefinite period of time to another country, just when the series you’ve been watching on Netflix in your home country ended on an explosive cliffhanger.
Living abroad is exciting with a bit of apprehension thrown in, but after the thrill has cooled off, homesickness sets in, especially if you can’t find a decent pizza or a juicy American burger to eat, and you’re deprived of the TV sitcoms, horror and sci-fi shows you love so much. But the recent spate of subscription-based streaming and video on-demand services has changed all that. Outside of the US, where the big players in internet TV service are based, you can catch up with the TV shows that were in your home country. Or so you thought.
The problem is, as anyone who has travelled abroad knows, Netflix and Amazon Prime don’t have the same shows in the countries where they’re available. Hulu serves only the United States. The geo-blocking that these services impose are due to territorial licensing. Whatever, if you’re already subscribed to any of them, and you’re hoping to continue watching your favorite shows in your new location, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
But wait! There is a way to go around this geo-blocking thing. You can use a VPN whose server is in the country where your Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription is, and you can watch the shows you love that isn’t in your relocated country. Your VPN will trick the streaming service into thinking you’re in your home through its IP address and unblock the service, allowing you to watch the same movies and TV shows as if you never left.
But not all VPNs are created equal, and some of them have been detected by media service companies, giving you proxy errors whenever you try to open Netflix in your new abode. Hence, it pays to learn about virtual private networks and which ones to choose from, since there are so many of them. If you’re an Apple user, get the best VPN for Mac since several providers don’t offer them for their computers. With a VPN, you can watch all the TV shows you love till you reach saturation point.
If you’re concerned about legal issues, you can rest easy on that. VPN usage is legal, unless you’re in Russia, North Korea, China or Iraq. Needless to say, torrenting copyrighted stuff is illegal, with or without a VPN. VPNs have become popular too, after the disclosure of data breaches and privacy violations. Watching TV shows and films on Netflix, Hulu and other services providing VOD via a VPN gives you access to your subscription in your native land by bypassing country geo-restrictions. It may not be fair to its subscribers, but Netflix, et al are bound by their contracts with the film distributors.
Other than that, using a VPN while travelling safeguards you when you want to connect to the internet using the airports’ wi-fi or other public connections. Don’t wait for the tech giants to encrypt their web traffic or rely on regulations to protect your privacy. Be proactive and use a VPN.