For some, watching the latest episode of their favorite show is more than just a hobby – it’s a need. The problem is that travelling abroad often means one has to do without. Especially if there are geo-restrictions in place or the streaming service isn’t supported in that country. Here’s why buying a VPN is one of the only solutions around this.
Whether travelling for business or going on holiday, people often have downtime when they want to watch Netflix or stream from BBC iPlayer. BBC iPlayer is only available to residents in the UK, however, and Netflix has different libraries depending on the country. This means that some content is only available in the US but not in Germany, for instance, and vice versa. These aren’t the only two streaming services with region-locked content either. Most streaming services are only available in a few select countries and don’t offer the same content everywhere. So what should you do? Use a VPN, of course.
Why Is Content Geo-Blocked?
The entertainment industry is more complicated than the New York railway system. Licensing agreements are king in the land of movies and series, and streaming services have to abide by those rules.
Broadcasting networks, and now streaming services, all fight for the right to show a movie or series in different countries. The producers that sell these shows can make more money by selling them to different broadcasters in various countries, as it’s not enough to pay the same network just once and get all the access. It may seem old-fashioned when considering the open nature of the internet. But it’s the way the media cookie crumbles, unfortunately.
What does this mean? If someone is paying for a BBC iPlayer streaming account in the UK, they won’t be able to access the same content when they travel abroad. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
How Buying a VPN Can Help
Licensing agreements in the entertainment industry aren’t going to change soon. The most straightforward solution is to buy a VPN.
A VPN (order it here https://join.nordvpn.com/order/) works well for getting around geo-blocked content because the technology allows people to use a fake IP address. This is important because streaming services determine whether someone can use their service based on their IP address. An IP address is linked to a specific region. When someone travels, they will get a new one when they connect to a network.
Therefore, even though that person is a citizen of the country they want to stream from, they still won’t get access to that content, regardless of where they created the account.
What Is a VPN?
To be able to view geo-blocked content while travelling to other countries, convince the streaming services that no one ever left. A VPN is a perfect tool for this.
A virtual private network (VPN) is a service that encrypts data and sends it through their servers before connecting to a website. It works through a client (on PC) or app (on mobile) which encrypts any data that is sent over the internet. That data gets transmitted to one of the VPN service’s servers before connecting to the desired website. And here’s where the trick comes in.
VPN services allow their customers to choose from a variety of servers located all over the world. Some VPN service providers have more servers and locations than others. Thus, it’s important to choose one with a couple of servers in the country where the desired streaming service is located.
The added benefit of a VPN service is that their encryptions add increased security to any device they’re installed on. Which is a must-have when travelling and connecting to public WiFis (they’re notoriously unsafe to use).
Other Options While Traveling
While a VPN is anyone’s best bet for viewing content while outside their country, there are some other options as well. These might be a tad less convenient or not offer the same variety of content, however.
Download Content Before Leaving
Some streaming services like Netflix and Hulu allow for offline viewing by downloading the content to the device. The amount of content that can be downloaded may be limited, either by the service or the device’s internal memory. But it’s still a great option – especially if there’s no guarantee of internet access in the destination you’re going to.
Watch On-Demand Content
Not everyone has a cable subscription these days but, surprisingly, they can come in handy while travelling abroad. Many cable subscription services offer an online on-demand service, and this is usually not region-locked. So connecting to the on-demand service while abroad should give one access to all the same content regardless of location.
Buy Content From iTunes
Having to pay for series or movies while having a paid subscription to a streaming service that shows that content might seem a tad unfair. But it’s still a viable option and a surefire way to make sure the content will be available wherever you go. Plus, it can be downloaded for offline viewing.