TechSpot: How to Access Region-Locked Online Content From Anywhere

Online services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Spotify, Steam and many others have changed the way millions of people access media. They've brought upon an era of instant, on-demand digital media consumption in a world where linear programming, bundled content, and physical formats no longer fit many people's lives.

Unfortunately this is a revolution not everyone can partake in (not yet or not as easily, at least) as such services employ region locks to limit access from specific countries. More often than not it's not actually their fault, they just need to abide by archaic license agreements enforced by the actual content owners.

In this article we’ll offer you three alternatives to get around these restrictions. Each has their advantages and disadvantages and whichever route you choose will depend on the services you need to access as well as the devices you need to access them from -- not to mention whether you are willing to pay or not.

Read: How to Access Region-Locked Online Content From Anywhere

These articles are brought to you in partnership with TechSpot.

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i actually have been paying for my VPN for some time now and I enjoy shows that are Geo Blocked. It depends on your internet speed and how bad the host country is being hit by it residents. i do not see it as piracy but freedom of content on the internet.

The problem is most of the said media companies are American and get everything and don't care about people who live in other regions.

Here in NZ we only JUST got spotify and there are a million TV ad's for some crappy version of netflix that is trying to start itself up. Really there is no option, the national broadcaster has TVNZ Ondemand which shows most of the TV shows that are broadcast but it's fairly limited. One HUGE hinderance to web media in NZ is crippling data caps and poor infrastructure. The price is high and the web quality is poor meaning it would be expensive to use a service such as netflix in NZ (based on data caps etc) and the quality would be poor for many.

I am often frustrated by geoblocking, the most annoying thing is its all America. Other than a few german artists every region blocked Youtube vid is american, all the streaming sites are American, all the iTunes restrictions are American, Play store, american. Everything by the yanks is blocked for NZ. It seems bad to rant and the yanks but it's not JUST them. This whole region fiasco is worse than that STUPID region locking idea. God that ****es me off, play a DVD? na wrong region. Buy a game? Na wrong region.

//Rant

There are all kinds of things in America that you can't see/use/experience without actually being in America. For some reason, media is the only one that peeves everyone off.

As a human with priorities, getting all sandy-vag about the availability of shoddy entertainment doesn't make a lot of sense to me. OH NO YOU CAN'T WATCH AMERICAN TV! Congratulations, most Americans would think that's a blessing. Our TV is crap, our movies are crap, and the effort people go through to get their paws on it is comical.

/NZ is filled with some of the angriest, whiniest people I've ever met. Nobody ever leaves NZ gushing about the hospitality.

Joshie said,
There are all kinds of things in America that you can't see/use/experience without actually being in America. For some reason, media is the only one that peeves everyone off.

As a human with priorities, getting all sandy-vag about the availability of shoddy entertainment doesn't make a lot of sense to me. OH NO YOU CAN'T WATCH AMERICAN TV! Congratulations, most Americans would think that's a blessing. Our TV is crap, our movies are crap, and the effort people go through to get their paws on it is comical.

/NZ is filled with some of the angriest, whiniest people I've ever met. Nobody ever leaves NZ gushing about the hospitality.


There are a few shows worth watching, however they never lift off and get canceled after a few seasons, just cause of them locking it down to JUST US public. They're shooting themselfs in the foot. They do not think outside the US and thats their loss.
I do not torrent or download Southpark, I watch these on their own website, even click on an ad or two sometimes. Watch the ads, I have really no issue with this system. But except Southpark, there is no american (/canadian) show around which does the same.
If they'd go with modern times, a couple of canceled shows would still be around, since they are often very popular among me and my friends and many other europeans who found out about these shows by... PIRACY!

Same with music, I would NOT have known 99% of my playlist, if it wasnt for piracy. Many, many great artists would still be unknown, if it wasnt for piracy....

Piracy does allot of good things, not my (our) fault the American Media Industry has no clue how to go with these developments.

Its all about the goddamn money.

Nashy said,
But if I tell people how to download it via torrent, I would be in trouble?

Yes, websites like 4oD (in the UK) have permission to make said program available, and usually force you to watch adverts just like on TV. Where as you torrent it and get no adverts.

Of course downloading the the TV show illegally gives you the better experience in every way i agree, and is easier to do...

Nashy said,
But if I tell people how to download it via torrent, I would be in trouble?

It is to do with the way the content is delivered so a legal minded friend of mine tells me.

Teebor said,

It is to do with the way the content is delivered so a legal minded friend of mine tells me.

You're going against their terms and conditions of viewing. It's that simple. It's against their terms. You are accessing something you are legally not allowed to licence.

These laws on content restrictions are pretty dumb, even more so for TV shows.

I fully understand the need to restrict content to create a market place for the value people in that region can afford, but when they restrict things such as TV shows for the sole reason to delay it being shown in other countries its retarded.

Here in the UK we get some american shows, such as CSI and The Big Bang Theory. However, they are sometimes several seasons behind what the US are being shown. The UK promotes it as 'all new' (more like never seen on UK TV). You like the shows facebook page, get notified of the latest show, click to see the preview trailer and .. yeah, the show is actually several years a head of whats on the TV AND we've been blocked from viewing it on the offical website... so not only are they blocking via regional for the actual shows, but for fans, they're blocking being part of being fan.
Without a way to even pay to watch the content, or interact properly with the company behind the shows what else are fans expected to do? sit and wait for 3 years until a TV channel is allowed to buy the rights to broadcast it in the UK, all the while still being blocked from visiting the offical website.
to be honest, they've done well with the big bang theory its only a few weeks old by the time we see it in the UK, but we're still blocked from watching anything on the website, even old content.

sagum said,
These laws on content restrictions are pretty dumb, even more so for TV shows.

I fully understand the need to restrict content to create a market place for the value people in that region can afford, but when they restrict things such as TV shows for the sole reason to delay it being shown in other countries its retarded.

Here in the UK we get some american shows, such as CSI and The Big Bang Theory. However, they are sometimes several seasons behind what the US are being shown. The UK promotes it as 'all new' (more like never seen on UK TV). You like the shows facebook page, get notified of the latest show, click to see the preview trailer and .. yeah, the show is actually several years a head of whats on the TV AND we've been blocked from viewing it on the offical website... so not only are they blocking via regional for the actual shows, but for fans, they're blocking being part of being fan.
Without a way to even pay to watch the content, or interact properly with the company behind the shows what else are fans expected to do? sit and wait for 3 years until a TV channel is allowed to buy the rights to broadcast it in the UK, all the while still being blocked from visiting the offical website.
to be honest, they've done well with the big bang theory its only a few weeks old by the time we see it in the UK, but we're still blocked from watching anything on the website, even old content.

To be fair, the big shows like the CSIs and The Big Bang Theory are not seasons behind in the UK.

Yes, sometimes shows are months behind, but hardly ever seasons behind anymore. Also shows on FTA/basic TV can be even further behind (sometimes with it being so bad that they ARE seasons behind because the Pay TV channels (Sky, FX, Syfy, Universal) have first run rights, but this is often not the case on the "first run" channel.

Shows like the CSIs & Big Bang Theory actually get their first UK airing on FTA/basic channels (CSIs on Channel 5 & Big Bang Theory on E4 for example).

Salem874 said,

To be fair, the big shows like the CSIs and The Big Bang Theory are not seasons behind in the UK.

Yes, sometimes shows are months behind, but hardly ever seasons behind anymore. Also shows on FTA/basic TV can be even further behind (sometimes with it being so bad that they ARE seasons behind because the Pay TV channels (Sky, FX, Syfy, Universal) have first run rights, but this is often not the case on the "first run" channel.

Shows like the CSIs & Big Bang Theory actually get their first UK airing on FTA/basic channels (CSIs on Channel 5 & Big Bang Theory on E4 for example).


he has a point and often they are upto 1 season behind. Southpark changed this a bit (we dutchies get it on thursday when the US gets it on sunday) and some shows followed.
However, where do I legally go to watch Breaking Bad? Suits? Game of Thrones? etc.? Nowhere... it isnt available in my country.
And indeed, what is available in my country, is often behind weeks, months or entire seasons.

This is them screwing the customer over so they can get a lil bit more money from the shows... thats it! and considering that is the only reason. I have no problem downloading these shows to suit my needs (and millions of others) which they choose to not attend to.

Besides, watching TV on the internet is like watching it taped on a VCR...

Cute James said,
Isn't this article promoting piracy?

Hopefully. pirate, pirate pirate everything! download a car today!

Cute James said,
Isn't this article promoting piracy?

If I pay for content that should not be available in my region, would you consider me a pirate?

Lamp Post said,

If I pay for content that should not be available in my region, would you consider me a pirate?

That depends, do you own a parrot?

Lamp Post said,

If I pay for content that should not be available in my region, would you consider me a pirate?

Can you provide an example, please?

Lamp Post said,

If I pay for content that should not be available in my region, would you consider me a pirate?

using these methods you pay for access, not the content

Cute James said,
Isn't this article promoting piracy?

The legal term used to describe "piracy" is called copyright infringement.

By using a proxy, VPN, etc... you're not copying, downloading, uploading or distributing copyrighted material without authorization. You are not committing a copyright violation = this is not piracy.

a0me said,

The legal term used to describe "piracy" is called copyright infringement.

By using a proxy, VPN, etc... you're not copying, downloading, uploading or distributing copyrighted material without authorization. You are not committing a copyright violation = this is not piracy.

Not downloading? how do you think you're going to get it on your pc, ps3 or what ever?

Cute James said,
Isn't this article promoting piracy?

It isn't piracy. However, it's against whatever terms of service you'd be clicking "I agree" to upon setting up that membership, and the content providers would be 100% in the right if they were to shut down your account without a refund.

I mean, what are you going to do, say you had no idea that willfully circumventing region locks was something you weren't supposed to be doing? Probably wouldn't fly.

Cute James said,
Isn't this article promoting piracy?

I think this article is more for those of us that pay for content and want to see it while we are on vacation abroad. This would also be useful on phones where content is locked based on the country you appear to be in even if you already paid for the license in your home country.

FYI - I use VPNSecure.ME personally. Allows me to get around stupid site level region blocks. This isn't paid content or anything...

sagum said,

Not downloading? how do you think you're going to get it on your pc, ps3 or what ever?


By that logic, people that live in the "right" place are also "downloading" the content to their device. If that's not seen as "pirating" then people accessing from a different country are not pirating either.

Cute James said,
Isn't this article promoting piracy?

Note that I also use methods similar to those highlighted in the article in order to watch live football (NCFC!) and am watching a BBC World News stream right now.

I was just surprised to see such a 'How to circumvent content protection' article on the front page, rather than a forum thread that would likely become locked shortly after creation.

a0me said,

By that logic, people that live in the "right" place are also "downloading" the content to their device. If that's not seen as "pirating" then people accessing from a different country are not pirating either.

Your twisted logic, not mine. The copyright owners and publishers have already allowed people in the correct region the ability to download and then to watch the content. Sometimes they allow you to download the content as a single file with DRM attached that expires say 30 days after you first watch it, othertimes the DRM says you can't wait it until a certain date. Othertimes you're only allowed to watch as its downloading (Streaming).
Its not illegal, and its not being a pirate, its using the content as the owners asked you to.

Cute James said,
Isn't this article promoting piracy?

I would gladly pay for NFL online streaming...and pay well for it, but guess what?! It's not available outside the US...I'm forced to watch it on TV and which they don't even transmit 1/3 of the games. I wan to go legal...but what choice do I have but bypass region locks.

Cute James said,
I was just surprised to see such a 'How to circumvent content protection' article on the front page, rather than a forum thread that would likely become locked shortly after creation.

When you use a VPN or proxy, you still need to pay Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Spotify, Steam, etc... to enjoy their contents. These companies are getting money from an audience they wouldn't be able to reach otherwise.
This is very different from a story that would teach how to get premium content for free.