Friday, January 20, 2012

Tips and Tricks: Watching US Only Video Outside the US

Here's a scenario. You're going on vacation abroad and take your Fire along. Let's say the destination is London and you're hanging around in a pub waiting for the Changing of the Guard. You've got an hour or so to burn, and nothing would help you do that better than by watching the latest episode of Your Favorite TV Show. Unfortunately, because you're out of the country, you're out of luck. No Amazon Instant Video, no Appstore, no Prime Movies, no Hulu, no Netflix, no ABC or NBC dot com. Nothing. Basically, you'll be hard pressed to find any video streaming service that works, leaving you stuck with whatever is on your hard drive. But there is one way to get around this. Enter UnblockUS.
The reason many of those above-mentioned sites don't work outside of the U.S. is that the various viewing portals (Hulu, Netflix) do not have licenses with the content providers (people who make the shows) to present their media in countries outside of the U.S. As a result, they configure their websites to block access to anyone who isn't showing a U.S. IP address. (I think that's the gist of it.) What UnblockUS does is it reconfigures your DNS settings to make these sites think you are in the U.S. It also has mirrors for some sites, for example you can access Facebook at fb.unblock-us.com.
There are some modest costs for this service, but depending on your situation you may be able to get around them too. The monthly fee is $4.99, which would almost certainly be worth it for frequent travelers or people who live outside of the country and have Fires. But there is a 7-day free trial that could probably cover you for your next trip. You'll be able to give it a try and essentially use it for free the next time you hop on a plane to go somewhere.

Here's a little bit about how to set up the service while on the Fire (ignore text on this graphic). You're going to want to go into your advanced WiFi settings and go to the following page for setting up a Static IP address. Turn Use static IP on, and then follow the directions on their Android Setup Page. You'll want to copy over the IP address, then "Set Gateway as router IP (usually the same as current IP except last number is .1, i.e. if your phone IP 192.168.2.130 then router's likely 192.168.2.1)," then "Set Netmask 255.255.255.0," and set DNS 1 to 208.122.23.22 and DNS 2 to 208.122.23.23, save, and then restart. Obviously if you're not using this service, there's no need to monkey around with the IP settings.
Getting this right may take a little bit of tech-savvy, but there is a great Support Page, where they can help steer you in the right direction. Once you've got the numbers in the right boxes and maybe also you're using their web addresses, you should be able to get access to anything you could back home! Because I don't know about you, but it only takes about a day before I start going through Hulu withdrawals. Note: I haven't personally used this yet, so if I'm missing any important details or you want to let us know how UnblockUS works for you, let us know!

2 comments:

  1. Is there any way to permanently delete apps.. i went app crazy and a few of them i want to permanently remove.. thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Rob, yes, permanently deleting apps isn't hard. You can tap and hold on the app's icon to bring up a menu that'll have an option to remove it from your device, and you can go into your account on Amazon - Your Apps and Devices - and permanently delete from there. Hope that helps!

    ReplyDelete

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