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Get more from your Netflix subscription with geo-unblocking

Contributor:
Phil Davies
Phil Davies

2015 has been a breakout year for online video streaming in New Zealand. Existing broadcasters have launched new whiz bang features, new entrants have come into the market and ISPs have scrambled to cope.

Stats on which services have successfully captured the hearts and minds of NZers are scarce - but if NZ is anything like Australia or the US, Netflix towers over the competition.

That should be no surprise - the price is right, the catalogue is unmatched and the overall experience is in a different league to any of the alternatives. Yet, due to territory specific content licensing agreements, we don't get quite as much from our Netflix subscription as the company really has to offer.

According to Filmefy, the total titles available via Netflix tops 13590. In the company's biggest market (the US), less than half (6550) of those titles are available to watch.

Most New Zealanders know the story of Global Mode, the plucky Kiwi start-up that developed a clever geo-unblocking technology that enabled you to watch the US version of Netflix, as well as other overseas streaming services - without doing anything other than sign up to a supporting ISP.

Local broadcasters successfully killed it in New Zealand - leaving television lovers searching for alternatives.

It turns out there's a number of options. The best I've found is UnoTelly (headquartered in Canada), which provides what they call a SmartDNS service. In their own words:

"Some websites block certain regions from accessing their media content. UnoDNS customers can access their favourite channels, such as the US Netflix catalogue, from anywhere in the world.

UnoDNS services bypasses these geoblocks by providing customers with a local IP address when accessing these websites.

Unlike VPN services, UnoDNS allows customers to access video streaming websites from a variety of devices. It is also faster and provides better ability to access content from multiple countries."

It's a neat service. They offer a free 8-day trial and then it costs USD47.95 to sign up for a year (USD3.94 per month).

I gave the free trial a go and found:

  • Setup is easy. It's a one minute job to change the DNS settings on your computer, which is the main thing you need to get up and running.
  • If you want to have services stream directly into your TV via something like a Chromecast, getting started has a few more steps and takes a bit more patience. As long as you have a compatible router, the guides of how to do this are straightforward to follow.
  • It's faster and more reliable than using a VPN service. Even on a basic broadband connection, I haven't encountered any issues with buffering or picture quality.

All in all it's well worth a look. Eventually we may see services like Netflix pick up more of the global rights to the shows and movies we want to watch - but until then, this seems like a reasonable work around to help you get the most from your Netflix subscription.

If you want to get more of a feel for what you could be watching, check out www.filmefy.com.

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