Debated getting Netflix for our household for a few months, finally all the stars came into the alignment.
Hence I’m based in New Zealand, we have a number of predicaments to getting a full service. I’ve discovered that if you signup to Netflix using your laptop – you will have access only to restricted version of Netflix.
Who wants that?
If I’d pay money for a service – I want full access to ALL Netflix content, or US version of Netflix. However Netflix knows that you are based overseas (by your IP address) and will serve you only ‘allowed’ content.
So, I’ve done some research and found an optimum solution that works for all my requirements as per below…
This article is applicable to non-US customers only, more for NZ based users.
There’s a service providers’ war raging at the moment for the market share of video streaming services, that might or might not adversely affect you.
PROS and CONS of the ‘Providers war’
- Monthly price of your connection goes down;
- You can negotiate the price down even further to get extra perks / discounts / allowances, etc.
- They are trying to lock you for as long as possible into paid subscriptions
- They limit content of what can you access on sites like Netflix, etc. – partly it’s a licensing issue, but largely – ISPs trying to retain you by providing exclusive to their services premium content (Neon, Lightbox, etc.)
Here’s what I’ve discovered is needed to have a best results and most enjoyable experience with Netflix outside of USA.
1. FAST INTERNET CONNECTION
Can’t help it – if you have a slow internet connection at your place (ADSL or lower with speeds less than 10 Mbs) – you are not going to enjoy the land of “forever buffering doom”. If you’ve got fiber on your street – shop around for the best deal with ISP. I’ve got Vodafone to provide the optical connection. Don’t settle for cut down version – ask for 200 Mbps uncapped and unlimited – this will cost you $20-30 more per month but well worth it.
Check your speed connection using this tool: www.speedtest.net or similar. Test it before and after your optical connection is installed and prepare to be blown away :)!
2. LOCALITY IMPERSONATION
For your service providers – the richness of content is the only bargaining chip, they are trying to provide the full set of content on their own network (Sky TV – Neon TV; Spark – Lightbox and of course an old timer – Quickflix), while limiting access to the big league player – Netflix.
For example if you are subscribed to US version of Netflix you can watch “Once upon the time” series, if you are subscribed to NZ version of Netflix – you cannot. This is because your Internet Service providers limit your access to full content, changing the GLOBAL setting to LOCAL (except for Orcon and Slingshot)
Which begs the question: how can you watch ‘full’ US Netflix content, instead of the cut down NZ version?
The answer is – you have to make it so that Netflix thinks that you are based in US, to serve to you ‘global’ content.
You can do it with number of VPN services or even better with DNS proxy services.
After doing an extensive research on both types of ‘IP address spoofing’ (that’s what you have to do to fool your provider to serve to you foreign / full content), I’ve concluded that DNS proxy is the better way to go. There are plenty of providers – I found this is one of the better DNS proxy companies – Unblock~Us.
- It doesn’t slow your Internet connection (as opposite to VPN providers – typically resulting in 10-15% slower connection as ALL your traffic will be routed via US based server;
- Above represents another issue – you don’t want to jeopardise the trust of your bank or other commercially sensitive websites that will see you based in different country.
- If you’d like to know specifics of fine details of the setup – please ask questions in comments (remembering that all findings are mine and I’m sure there are alternative ways to set this all up)
3. HARDWARE SETUP
The final piece of the puzzle is how to physically configure your devices to (A) use DNS proxy service and (B) able to access full US content?
You’ll need to chose and signup for DNS proxy service, typically you can expect at least 7 days of free trial, then $5 per months service fee.
You then add new DNS IP address to your wireless router setup – this will see your entire network as based in US and might affect the content that you are receiving from local websites, as well as might rise trust issues with banking websites and alike. Personally I don’t like this setup.
My preference is to use Apple TV device with DNS proxy address (this way only Apple TV device and its applications are seen as based in US). You can watch the entire US Netflix content on your Smart TV via Apple TV.
In this case – rest of your household can use laptops to watch Netflix and you can chose to use DNS proxy on your laptop too to access full US Netflix content or use your regular settings and watch restricted NZ content. I prefer the later as I don’t want to tamper with my laptop locality as seen by important for my life and business websites (banking, CRM, auction sites, etc)
A side benefit of using Apple TV is that essentially you will be using Apple Netflix App on your Apple TV and will be paying for Netflix service form your iTunes account. I’m sure you can achieve same with Android / Google Play apps.
An alternative setup will see you configuring your Smart TV with US based DNS Proxy (likes of Smasung or other Android based Smart TV – have Google Store access and you can download Android version of Netflix app directly to your TV).
Hence you have one month of the free trial period with Netflix – I’d suggest you signup for the highest Netflix package (allowing upto 4 devices and Ultra HD content). If you don’t like it – you can always downgrade or cancel your subscription at latter stage, without incurring any penalties.
Finally – you can subscribe on Netflix.com and pay with either PayPal or Credit Card, then on your chosen device – you can login to your account and providing that you’ve setup DNS Proxy – you can watch an unrestricted content.
Remember that to access unrestricted Netflix content you have to have DNS proxy turned on – on the device that you are using.
Hope this will help with your research and setup. Should you wish to leave comments or ask questions – go ahead and punch them in the comments section below.