Geo-restrictions or geo-blocking is a technology that might prevent you from watching your favorite TV channel or access other services online. Services such as Netflix, Pandora Radio Hulu, HBO, and BBC restrict access to their content based on your location. This is because they follow copyright regulations that require certain content to be available to consumers in specific locations only.
Licensing rights require a content provider to obtain a license for each and every country where they plan to distribute content. Therefore, large content providers restrict access from certain countries for which they do not hold a license. This way, even if you are a paid subscriber who travels to another country, you may end up not having access to a TV service. There are methods, however, to bypass these geo-restrictions.
How to Bypass Geo-blocking Using VPN
Content providers such as Netflix, Hulu, Sky Sports or BBC check your computer’s IP address to determine your current location. For instance, in many cases, you cannot watch live sports coverage on Sky Sports or BBC outside of the U.K. The same applies to services such as Hulu or Netflix, even if you have a paid account with them.
One of the methods to circumvent geo-blocking is to use a virtual private network (VPN) service. A VPN service works by allowing you to select a server in a country where the content provider allows you to get their content. Thus, you can travel somewhere in Asia and connect to a U.S.-based server to watch your favorite TV shows on Netflix.
Read VPNpro to get a basic idea of how a VPN works. Furthermore, decent VPN services such as NordVPN maintain servers in dozens or hundreds of countries, which in turn allows you to watch TV channels from all over the world. There are content providers outside the U.S. and the U.K. that also prevent you from accessing content when outside of the respective country.
In fact, VPN services are the best working and most popular method to bypass geo-restrictions when browsing or watching content online. The only possible downside of using a VPN is that it slows down your online speed a tiny bit while the good news is that you may never notice this lagging. On the other hand, you have a secure and encrypted connection with VPNs.
Using Proxy or Smart DNS for Bypassing Geo-restrictions
Using a Smart DNS or a proxy service is another method for accessing content from anywhere. A Smart DNS does replace your ISP-assigned DNS address with a new one that is within the approved range of DNS addresses. Unlike VPNs, a Smart DNS service does not hide your IP address and does not encrypt your data. Thus, you are vulnerable to certain online threats as your connection is not entirely secure even if you connect to secure sites.
Using a proxy server is a popular method for bypassing geo-restrictions but it is also the less secure one. A proxy server hides your IP just like a VPN does but you get the limited speed and little to no security. That is why proxy servers are more suitable for visiting websites with static content but not for video streaming services.
Using Tor for Watching TV Shows Online
Tor is a free service that works very similar to a VPN service and hides your IP address enabling you to bypass geo-restrictions. It uses multiple nodes run by volunteers to hide your actual location and is considered a secure service.
The downside of Tor is that this service does not provide decent speeds and both ISPs and governments are able to block it altogether. Just like proxy servers, Tor is not a recommended option if you want to watch videos online.
Determining the best option for bypassing geo-blocking when watching a TV show is not that hard.
A VPN service offers both the speed to stream video online and the level of security you need to feel protected. While a Smart DNS will provide the best speed, it does not protect your data, which is a problem, especially on the go.
Proxies are the less reliable option due to overcrowding and the little security they provide. Tor, for its part, cannot maintain the speeds required for watching TV shows online.
You should be aware that choosing the best VPN to watch your favorite TV channels might also be a problem. Content providers such as Netflix are starting to restrict not only geographical locations but VPN services as well. So, you need to check if the specific VPN you intend to use is able to connect to particular content providers.
We are witnessing the increasing introduction of geo-restrictions by both governments and media companies, so hiding your IP address sometimes is simply a necessity. It is especially true when it comes to watching TV shows online as the licensing regulations are so complicated that even paid users are often restricted from getting access to content. It appears that a decent VPN service is the best solution to both bypass geo-restrictions and enjoys privacy online.