So you have just landed in your new country, had a stressful week adapting to a new culture, and all you want to do is catch up on the latest episode of your favorite TV show on Hulu and are greeted by this:
And your reaction is this:
Yup, it’s a dark reality for anyone that wants to keep up with their TV shows from home in a new country. The majority of TV network sites and paid subscription services either completely block the content from being viewed outside of the United States, or the amount of content is limited.
I moved from the U.S. to Panama almost four years ago, and during my time here I would say I have become an expert in getting around anything that keeps me from watching the latest episodes of Scandal. Here are five ways you can watch American TV shows abroad:
Sign Up For Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon
Also, most major networks like Fox, ABC, NBC, etc. upload all of their TV shows on their websites, and those are viewable for free. However, as I mentioned before most of this content is blocked from viewers outside the U.S., so you have to use one of the below workarounds to get it to work…
Use A VPN Service
VPN is a Virtual Private Network, and it’s beneficial for two reasons:
1) It creates a more secure and private internet connection.
2) It allows you set your IP address as being in almost any country, meaning you can trick any website into thinking you are in the United States so that you can watch your favorite shows.
Hulu and Netflix have begun cracking down and blocking some VPN users from using their service, but the below two VPN services still work, and I recommend using them:
hola.org: This is a free, easy to use, VPN service that allows you to enter any website in their search bar and it will make it look like you are located in any country you choose. However, you get what you pay for (free in this instance), and I have found the service to be very unreliable. Sometimes it works, or sometimes it’s too slow so for me it’s a pain, but I know some people use it to avoid paying for a VPN service.
Safer VPN: This is the paid VPN service that I use, and I have found it to be one of the best. It’s not the cheapest service (plans start at $5.99 a month), but I have tried more affordable services, and I found that they slowed down my internet connection too much. With Safer VPN my internet connection remains about the same speed, and I find the service to be reliable. It’s easy to set up, and they have a program for your computer, iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. to activate the VPN when you want to use it.
You can set your location to over 100 different destinations so if wanted to access a version of Netflix besides the U.S. you can do that! If you are from the UK, for example, you could set your location to the UK and have access to all of the UK content on Netflix.
The above two services should be suitable for most people with the only drawback being you have to activate the VPN connection every time you want to use it.
Purchase A Flash Router
I’ve gone the extra mile and bought a special router that allows the VPN connection to run all of the time. The main reason I did this was that I have an Apple TV, which doesn’t enable you to input any VPN settings so I could only access the Panama version of Netflix and Hulu, and most other apps were completely blocked from it.
The router is more expensive than your normal router, but I’m more happy with it than I thought I would be. My Apple TV now 100% works with it, and it’s nice that any device that is on my network automatically has the VPN running without me having to do anything.
US TV Now
US TV Now is a cool website that lets you watch most of the basic cable channels like Fox, ABC, CBS all live and for FREE. It also doesn’t require using a VPN to watch the shows so you can save a bit of money there.
Popcorn Time is an app you can download on your computer, and it allows you to stream almost any TV show or movie for free from torrents in an elegant Netflix-like interface. It’s illegal to view pirated films, and TV shows so use this one at your own risk.
Have any other suggestions on how to watch your favorite TV shows abroad? Leave a comment below: