Using a VPN service to get Hulu, Netflix, etc. What do you think? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 10-26-2009, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I ordered a Dell 540s to use as my first HTPC (newbie here...) but currently my location limits me from accessing online services such as Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, etc. I have my Netflix account but since I'm stationed overseas (Colombia) my IP address gives me away and Netflix won't give me access to instant movies. Same thing applies to the Hulu, Pandora, etc. sites.

I tried a free VPN service like Hotspot Shield but that lasted a day before Netflix blocked me again although Hulu works fine. I'm considering paying a simple VPN service like Hidemynet.com which is $5 a month.

I'd rather not have to pay for a VPN that hides my location but can you guys suggest anything else?
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post #2 of 49 Old 10-27-2009, 03:38 AM - Thread Starter
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..anything.
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post #3 of 49 Old 10-27-2009, 06:13 AM
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there is no other way than using a US VPN. I tried many many free VPN... all slow as hell... you really have to pay.
If someone know a quick and reliable VPN, I'm also interrested !
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post #4 of 49 Old 10-27-2009, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Or atleast what VPN services can you or anyone recomend?

Hidemynet.com seems reliable for $5. They even responded within 5-10 minutes to a question y e-mailed them.
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post #5 of 49 Old 10-27-2009, 05:33 PM
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I am from Saudi Arabia and I used to access all those services with gotrusted.com Give it a go on trial bases. I dont know if they blocked it or not.. It is fast..
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post #6 of 49 Old 11-20-2009, 08:42 AM
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Hulu.com blocked HotSpotShield

And FreeVPN trigger my anti-virus program

Any good VPN out there !?

Live free or die.
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post #7 of 49 Old 11-20-2009, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Update:

I paid for the HideMyNet.com service, $5 a month, and it works great! The instructions on the page were not very accurate since the verbiage they describe is not exactly how Vista had it but I was able to figure out how to establish the VPN connection in 10-15 minutes and I was connected. No speed seems to be lost and the connection has never dropped. I'm able to access Hulu, Netflix and Pandora with no issues and hopefully I'll learn of other "US" internet entertainment services.
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post #8 of 49 Old 09-04-2010, 04:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miami Guy View Post

Update:

I paid for the HideMyNet.com service, $5 a month, and it works great! The instructions on the page were not very accurate since the verbiage they describe is not exactly how Vista had it but I was able to figure out how to establish the VPN connection in 10-15 minutes and I was connected. No speed seems to be lost and the connection has never dropped. I'm able to access Hulu, Netflix and Pandora with no issues and hopefully I'll learn of other "US" internet entertainment services.

I signed up for HideMyNet.com based off this recommendation and it seems that they are not as good as they used to be as both Hulu and Pandora detected that I was using a VPN. I canceled my account immediately as I have no patience for them to sort out their issues.

I'm now using vpntelevision.com (StrongVPN) and all is working well now - Hulu, Netflix, Pandora.
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post #9 of 49 Old 09-04-2010, 05:54 AM
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If you have family or friends in the States ask them to set up a VPN endpoint/server for you. You can turn a Windows/linux PC into a VPN/pptp or openvpn server, or install dd-wrt on a supported router to turn it into an openvpn endpoint. Before you do that you may also want to first check out their uplink speed to see if it supports the type of streaming you need as it will be your best case download speed. Also check if their agreement with their ISP allows for this type of activity.
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post #10 of 49 Old 09-10-2011, 01:33 AM
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I watch Hulu and Netflix, and iPlayer(UK BBC) with kebrum.com VPN service for months and still no one blocked it.
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post #11 of 49 Old 09-13-2011, 01:36 PM
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Hello Miami,

I use boxpn.com vpn service to reach US contents like Netflix and Hulu. Their network is very fast to support Netflix. I have my account for yearly subscriptions for 44.99 USD, which comes to 3.75 USD per month. I guess this is the best deal. Thanks.
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post #12 of 49 Old 10-30-2011, 10:15 AM
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I agree that the above was brought to you by spam.
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post #13 of 49 Old 12-11-2011, 01:30 PM
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I have used HideMyAss VPN services now over an year in my HTPC to watch HULU, Netflix and BBC without any problems.

I think they have reasonable prices, fast connections. I have not notices any lags even with best video quality. They also have plenty of servers and wide IP pool so in the situation where example HULU blocks some IP:s you can just change to other one.

I also like HideMyAss user interface which allows easily configure service to start in windows start up and change the IP or server location with just pushing the button.

I live in Finland so that should tell something about the bandwidth they offer while there is quite a distance to US.
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post #14 of 49 Old 12-11-2011, 03:58 PM
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I use ExpressVPN. I haven't tried it to access Netflix, Hulu and so forth, since I'm in the US. I use to access BBC iPlayer, STV, NFL Game Pass, NHL Game Center, NBA Game Center, MLB at Bat. I've been using over a year.

It is not free. I have annual subscription, which comes to $10 a month. I like it because you get your choices of servers to pick. You're not tied to just one. And they've been adding more; they're starting to add a few few south american IPs. They have US, Europe, Japan, Canada, and Mexico. Plus, you can get access on your smart phone for no extra cost (one phone does have a cost because it's not compatible with their PPTP or LSsec protocols. I have used in on my smart phone a lot.

And they have decent customer service. I've emailed a couple times for various issues and phone access. I usually don't get a immediate response, but I get one within 48 hours; reresponses are within 24 hours or sooner.

Also, the VPNGeek trick he discusses does work for some stuff. Some constantly check IPs. You'll have to test for your different applications.
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post #15 of 49 Old 12-13-2011, 01:31 PM
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If one of the commercial VPN providers works, I would stick with that.

Content Providers do analyze where their streams go; which results in a cat-and-mouse situation with respect to IP addresses used by the VPN provider.

I have tried, as gazebo suggested, connecting to my own home router when I am traveling internationally on business. My experience is, more often than not, more time spent diagnosing an unstable VPN tunnel than enjoying any content.

Since I am a network engineer, I have some tools to do this, but there are some open src tools as well. The "weak link" is usually where the foreign internet provider routes traffic on to the oceanic fiber link to the US, and where the fiber traffic is accepted into the US Internet providers network.

In order to "groom" their networks, carriers vary the ingress, egress policies on their routers, which results in dropped/delayed packets. The VPN software (or firmware, if you are using soho routers at each end) sees this as the tunnel end point not responding and drops the tunnel.

YMMV. I wouldn't spend much time on the DIY approach if it doesn't work right away, or unless you really enjoy network engineering.
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post #16 of 49 Old 01-28-2012, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miami Guy View Post

I ordered a Dell 540s to use as my first HTPC (newbie here...) but currently my location limits me from accessing online services such as Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, etc. I have my Netflix account but since I'm stationed overseas (Colombia) my IP address gives me away and Netflix won't give me access to instant movies. Same thing applies to the Hulu, Pandora, etc. sites.

I tried a free VPN service like Hotspot Shield but that lasted a day before Netflix blocked me again although Hulu works fine. I'm considering paying a simple VPN service like Hidemynet.com which is $5 a month.

I'd rather not have to pay for a VPN that hides my location but can you guys suggest anything else?

VPN's are a thing of the past !
There are two basic downfall using VPN services to watch Geo restricted contents.
1. You are dependent on the speed of the servers these services are using
2. VPN services use a few IPs they have to route traffic so they are bound to get blocked at some time.
3. (bonus! ) Also they are much costlier.
An easy and better alternative is using DNS services. DNS rubs all these shortcomings and provide better streaming speed. Also the prices are much cheap ! I personally prefer unotelly.com because they offer some channels free and have awesome stream rate.
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post #17 of 49 Old 02-11-2012, 11:28 PM
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I would disagree with the above poster respectfully. Both Netflix and Hulu have found ways to block DNS based services like UnoTelly in the past.

I was a subscriber of UnoTelly for a while and they get blocked A LOT. I lost service for almost 3 days on Netflix. The technology is going downhill. Plus UnoTelly does not work at all in China or UAE now, they are getting tons of bad reviews.

VPN is the way to go. The KEY is to find a GOOD VPN providers. Crappy providers like HMA ruin it. I travel a lot and would not be able to support life without VPN, in China and UAE, the internet is SO restricted it's almost useless.

You need a VPN provider that:

1. Has FAST servers.
2. Has dedicated IP's. Good VPN services do not recycle 3 or 4 IP's they have one for EACH user and constantly grow so Netflix and Hulu work fine.
3. Has good support.

I personally use Free2Surf VPN (www.free2surfvpn.com), I have been using their OpenVPN package, it's like $6.00 a month and I have had 0 problems with it. Works in China, UAE, etc. Fast enough, in the states if I run it on my 20MBps FIOS, I get about 19.2 so it's pretty good.

Nothing is blocked that I have tried, so I like it. I think good VPN is not a thing of the past but the only future, especially with places like China implementing heavy DNS based blocking, DNS solutions will fall as they have been.
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post #18 of 49 Old 02-13-2012, 01:18 AM
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I agree with the post. I personally like ExpressVPN. It's more expensive than Free2Surf, but I like I have access to multiple servers to fit my needs. It's nice if you're into sports and looking to circumvent the blackout restrictions; please note this is TOS violation with the sports services and could result in cancellation of service and additional fee ($150US seems standard).

I also like I can use it on my phone for no extra cost. They've actually been expanding too. They're in more countries, so even more IPs to use.

I just checked, and Netflix and Hulu were working with the San Francisco server.

You will see a slight speed decrease using a VPN. I assume the same with DNS. VPNs are quite popular in places like China and UEA, and thus VPN companies are on top of the security measures to prevent an open internet.

As an added bonus, if you're paranoid, VPNs are usually encrypted, so you'll have a more protect internet session, especially for things like banking. Unless they VPN is snooping for that info, you should be good to go; this is also why you want to stick with an established VPN service.
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post #19 of 49 Old 02-13-2012, 05:56 PM
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I agree with the above. Those are some more good points. VPN's are encrypted and secure wireless hotspots too. They are good for a lot of things.

The whole reason I have a VPN is when I travel. So as above mentioned, they are common in a lot of countries for traveling.

ExpressVPN is good too from what I hear.

Free2Surf VPN also has servers in multiple countries, I think 10 or 11. With my plan I play $10.00 a month and have access to all of them but I only use the USA and sometimes UK servers to watch iBBC player (hey we all like some original UK series................. Doctor Who?!)

I'd recommend either or, I'm a big fan of Free2Surf VPN due to their good service, but their site may need to be clearer on the packages, if only they read these forums LoL!
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post #20 of 49 Old 02-13-2012, 08:35 PM
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Every once in a while I go VPN shopping to see if there may be something better than what I use. I find there really isn't something better, but not really worse either. From what I can see, most of the better VPN services run around $10. Some can be a cheaper, and other a bit more expensive. Although, it's hard to find below $10 and still have a lot of features such as pick any server any time.

I'm constantly using a VPN, so I pay once a year, and get a discount, so I pay about $8.33US a month.

It's nice to have access to the iPlayer for BBC. Their mobile is pretty nice. It's just lame it's WiFi only; although someone modded it to allow 3G/4G access. With the VPN, you can access, through a web browser, stv.tv (scottland's public TV) with the UK server. You can also use USTVnow.com with any IP outside USA. The free version only gives you about five channels--PBS, Fox, CBS, NBA, and ABC--out of Philadelphia. They have subscription packages, but it's like paying for cable TV. Speaking of which, you can also use the VPN to access SkyTV's SkyGo, which is an online streaming service for them; SkyTV is Satellite TV in the UK. I don't know all too much about it, but it's not all channels or programs, and is subscription only.
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post #21 of 49 Old 02-13-2012, 08:41 PM
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post #22 of 49 Old 02-13-2012, 09:12 PM
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I haven't. I tried VPNGates. I had a bunch of firewall issues with it. Unless they've changed in the from about two years ago, you only got access to one IP, which you had to pick when you signed up. This guy from The Contemplation, recommended it, in his article Frugal NFL watching. For the fact that you don't get to choose which area to get an IP, for the money, I do not think VPNGates is the best deal for the money.
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post #23 of 49 Old 02-15-2012, 10:46 AM
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unblock-us.com use DNS redirect - no need to vpn, if you hit hulu and are in the usa it ignores it, if you hit itv.co.uk and are in the usa it redirects.

I want to die in my sleep like grandpa... not kicking and screaming like the people in his car.
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post #24 of 49 Old 02-15-2012, 10:48 AM
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post #25 of 49 Old 02-15-2012, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metric View Post

unblock-us.com use DNS redirect - no need to vpn, if you hit hulu and are in the usa it ignores it, if you hit itv.co.uk and are in the usa it redirects.

Are you saying that with a DNS service (compared to VPN), you never have to worry about toggling the service on/off depending on whether you are accessing local (US) services or foreign broadcasts?

I have started using IBVPN and it works well for the BBC iPlayer on my Macbook. However, I intend to eventually use the iPlayer on my HTPC and want to make sure I can toggle the VPN on or off easily, when switching between Hulu etc. and iPlayer. If DNS does it without any user intervention or toggling script/function, I would probably switch to that. Can you please clarify?
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post #26 of 49 Old 02-15-2012, 01:17 PM
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Do any of these service allow someone in the US to watch British ESPN and Sky Sports?
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post #27 of 49 Old 02-15-2012, 11:55 PM
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Services like this allow you to use any services in the target country.

For example with Free2Surf they have a UK TV package, you can watch anything that requires a UK IP Address. It's pretty much limitless what you do with it.

Once the VPN is connected ALL traffic is routed through the encrypted servers in the target country, as far as web pages are concerned -- you are in that country. There are really no limitations.

I know it works fine with iBBC and Sky.

I have also had issues with services like VPNGates and firewall issues, they use custom clients or don't provide proper setup instructions, Free2Surf -- no issues with firewall, didn't even have to configure it.

As far as DNS services vs VPN are concerned - depends on you.

DNS services can be blocked and detected easily and they are unencrypted.

VPN is harder to block (openVPN), encrypted and just generally works. But to each his own I guess, DNS services can be cheaper than VPN but as they old saying goes, "You get what you pay for".
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post #28 of 49 Old 03-04-2012, 04:03 AM
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As far as I know DNS services are limited to services they support, while good vpn service is quite much limitless.

Of course vpn with encryption can be little bit slower because of encryption/decryption process. But as I have said earlier I use VPN from Finland to US which make approximately from 7000 to 8000 km in distance with no problems with connection bandwith or latency.

What comes to prices you can get unblock-us for 4.99$/month while e.g. hidemyass, which I use prices start from 6.55$/month with one year contract.

A good vpn service gives you plenty of locations to choose from and a wide pool of IP's.

I use HMA as a example because that's the service I have lately used. Of course there is other valuable service providers too but HMA has tourned to be best for my needs. Hidemyass currently have 216 VPN servers located in 40 countries with a total of 24711 IP addresses. Only in US you have over 14 000 IP's. Server list can be found here. I can tell that not once I have any service blocked me because of my Ip if you don't count paypal.

I personally use HTPC so my VPN software is located to PC but I just copule of weeks ago configured HMA to my friend router so she is able to whatch offshore programs in her TV. As far as I know that is quite easy to use also with DNS services.

Anyways I do prefer vpn.
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post #29 of 49 Old 03-04-2012, 05:07 AM
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post #30 of 49 Old 03-04-2012, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Hidemyass is not private and will sell you up the river.

+1 , If I remember correctly you posted a link a while back leading to an artical on torrent freak about this very issue . Man , I was about to sign up too !!

Been doing a lot of searching on this subject and just can't bring myself to make a decision .

What about Pirate Bay ? Just read however that they went "magnet" to avoid legal issues
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