By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
There’s no doubt that more people are cutting the cable cord than ever. Consumers are tired of paying monthly, triple-digit prices for the TV shows and movies they love, so they’re turning to alternate sources of entertainment. Netflix, one of the most popular options, offers much of the same content as cable television, but for a much lower price.
The only problem is that some Netflix content is country-specific. Your favorite show might be available to viewers in France, for instance, but not in the United States. This causes frustration among Netflix subscribers who want access to all the shows they love no matter where they live. So, to get the best viewing experience, you’ll need to unblock Netflix.
Why is Some Content Unavailable in Certain Countries?
After a movie leaves the box office and becomes available for home viewing or a TV show ends production and gets aired on television, the producers and networks negotiate with cable providers and other outlets to distribute the content. The creators want to get paid for the movie’s or TV show’s consumption.
However, it’s not a universal negotiation. Companies such as Netflix sign contracts with distributors and cable companies in each specific country. They might reach a consensus for a particular movie in Turkey, but fail to come to an agreement for the same movie in Mexico.
It’s typically a matter of money. If either Netflix or the studio feels that a proposed contract doesn’t work in its favor, nobody signs on the dotted line. Netflix might determine that there is too little interest for a movie in a particular area and decide not to buy rights to it in that geographical jurisdiction. This means that you can’t view the content you want to see.
What are Geo Locks?
Like other television and movie providers, Netflix uses “geo locks” (also called geo blocks or geo restrictions) to prevent subscribers from accessing prohibited content. For instance, if you have an active, current Netflix account in the United States and you take a vacation in Greece, you won’t be able to sign on. Your device will detect your location and refuse you access.
These geo locks can prove frustrating for users who travel frequently for business or pleasure. Plus, if you get hooked on a show that has a geo lock in your own country, you can’t view that content even when you’re home. Unfortunately, there aren’t any manual workarounds that will remove geo locks or prevent them from blocking content.
It might surprise you to learn that some of the most popular content remains forever barred behind a geo lock.
What Content is Blocked?
A particular show or movie’s availability depends on the country from which the customer tries to access it. For instance, Netflix subscribers in Singapore don’t have access to several popular U.S. television shows, including:
- “Big Bang Theory”
- “House of Cards”
- “Breaking Bad”
In the United States, there are several popular television shows and movies that won’t pop up on your Netflix roster. Action-film fans, for instance, can’t access any installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise. The same goes for the animated treasure “Despicable Me,” the beloved “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and tragic love story “Titanic.” We have gathered a list of Netflix titles available per country here.
You can watch “Family Guy” in the United States and Canada, but you’re out of luck if you live in the UK. Meanwhile, “Downton Abbey” is available in countries such as France, Japan, and Australia, but not in the United States. You’re also out of luck if you live in North America and you want your weekly fix of Sheldon and the gang on “Big Bang Theory.”
This usually relates to a financial issue with Netflix or the studio, so there is nothing you can do to change it on your own. While starting a petition or writing three letters to Netflix each week to complain might seem like the only course of action, VPNs offer a better approach.
How Do You Unblock Content?
While there’s no manual way to unblock geo-locked content on Netflix, VPN (virtual private network) services provide a convenient solution. In addition to increasing your privacy, reducing your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft, and providing anonymous access to the Internet, Hotspot Shield Elite — the most trusted and popular VPN service — allows you to unblock content so you can watch Netflix without worry.
Hotspot Shield Free version comes by default with the US location and a limited access to streaming content. When you upgrade to Hotspot Shield Elite (premium version starts at $2.50/month => use promo code “Netflix20” to get 20% OFF your subscription), you get instantly access to 15+ virtual locations, faster speed, unlimited bandwidth and the ability to activate your licence on up to 5 devices simultaneously.
If you’re a Hotspot Shield Elite user, you can download the free associated app to your Internet-connected device, whether you’re using your phone, a tablet, or your desktop computer. You’ll sign into your account and look for the content you’re interested in. After that, you simply select the location where that content is available (such as Mexico or Japan) and pop a bag of popcorn.
When you use a VPN, you become invisible on the Internet. Netflix can’t detect your location, so it can’t maintain the geographic barriers that prevent you from catching the latest episode of “The Walking Dead” or re-watching “Thor” with your pals.
All you need is an annual subscription to a VPN. Once you have an account, you can follow this strategy to make hundreds of hours of content available for viewing.