Always up-to-Date Guide to Streaming Blocked Content Abroad
Regardless of which end of the pond you are on, region-locked content is annoying. Whether you’re an expat and want to watch The Wonderful Years reruns or want a dose of Doctor Who , here’s the best (and easiest) way to get that content.
One of the big problems with streaming content overseas (or from an overzealous college campus that blocks everything) is that the conditions for it are changing a lot. Just a few years ago, you had to overcome many obstacles, but in most cases it is now as easy as using an extension or web service. First, let’s take a look at our favorite way of accessing the bulk of online content. We’ll then look at alternatives that give you access to pretty much anything you want.
Update 05/29/2015: We no longer recommend Hola Better Internet after discovering that they are selling your bandwidth, essentially to run a botnet for hire .
Easiest way for desktop and mobile: TunnelBear
As we learned from Hola Better Internet, you are much better off paying for a VPN service than trying to find a free one. In this regard, we love TunnelBear because it is cheap, supports many devices, and is incredibly easy to set up.
As far as desktop apps go, TunnelBear has apps for PC , Mac, and a Chrome extension through which you can channel your traffic. Once you’ve signed up for an account and installed the app, it’s easy to switch between countries to access the Internet. Just launch the app, select the country you want to access the internet from, and TunnelBear does the rest.
In terms of pricing, TunnelBear is in line with the other options. Every month you get 500 MB of free data. If you need more, TunnelBear offers unlimited data for $ 4.99 per month (or, if you’d rather save some money by paying in bulk, $ 49.99 per year) on three computers or mobile devices. It doesn’t just change your country, it works like a VPN, blocks trackers, allows private browsing, and more.
Steaming blocked content on Android and iOS devices is a bit tricky, but still doable. After you sign up with TunnelBear and install the app on your mobile device, simply click the Country button on the home page and change it to the location from where you want to access the Internet. Once you have done this, TunnelBear will set up a custom profile and all your internet traffic will go through servers in those countries. On mobile devices, this means that you can access these servers through their websites or through their applications. The whole process takes about 20 seconds and is easy to turn off when you don’t need it. If you only plan on using TunnelBear on mobile devices, there is a cheaper mobile data plan ($ 2.99 per month) that you can purchase from the app itself.
For TV Boxes: Unblock Us
We chose Unblock-Us as the best way to access the Olympics every time because it’s cheap, easy to set up, and works on just about any device that has access to your router. This means that whatever device you have – be it Roku , PS4, or whatever – can access foreign content. The setup process is slightly different for each device, but they have guides for pretty much anything you might want to connect . Unblock-Us has a huge list of supported services and is constantly updated with guides for unlocking current programs (for example, removing disconnects during the NHL playoffs ).
Unblock-Us will set you back $ 4.99 a month, but you can try a weekly trial to make sure it works for you. You have many options in this area, but Unblock-Us easily takes the cake for the number of supported devices and reliable customer service.
You have many options for streaming blocked content, and depending on where you are and what services you want to access, some other methods are better than others. Here are some more great options to choose from.
- Proxmate : If you’re outside the US and only want to unblock a select few US services, the previously mentioned ProxMate is another option. After installing the extension, you will have access to Pandora, Google Play, YouTube and other apps wherever you are, but you will need to pay for premium access to sites like Netflix and the BBC. You will need to manually install the extension in Chrome , but once it is installed you are good to go.
- Use any VPN you want : Another option is to configure the VPN to redirect your traffic through servers in other counties. Any VPN will work (although you can choose one of these five ). If you subscribe to a Usenet service like GigaNews , you can even get a VPN for free as part of the package. This keeps your data much more private than the above services, but will likely slow down your connection.
- Hotspot Shield : Hotspot Shield works the same as TunnelBear, but is not as easy to use. If you’re not a TunnelBear fan for whatever reason, Hotspot Shield is a great alternative.
- Set up a proxy server : If you prefer the browser extension, then using a proxy service is quite simple. The speed won’t be all that great, but when you’re done it’s easy to turn it off. You can also try the Tor browser to see a few more options.
- Media Tip : Media Tip is an extension for Chrome and Firefox that automatically unblocks content you encounter on Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, and Rdio. Unfortunately, it is no longer available directly from the Chrome Store, so you’ll have to install it manually .
This should give you access to almost any currently blocked streaming content in the region. As more services emerge, we’ll give them a chance and update them when something simpler (or more comprehensive) comes along.