Sunday, July 29, 2012

Watching US Netflix while outside of the US

I've been using a service called Blockless in order to get access to the Netflix US content while in Canada. They offer a 7 day free trial so I decided to give it a try before subscribing to their service.

The first thing I want to mention about their service is that they do NOT give you free Netflix service. You have to be an active Netflix customer in order to watch Netflix using their service. As long as you haven't subscribed to Netflix before (or within 1 year), Netflix has a 30 day free trial offer.

The way that their service works is that you either configure your individual device or you configure your router to use their DNS settings and you log onto your blockless account with your PC in order for their service to determine that you are either on a trial membership or you are an active subscriber. Because their service requires the changing of the DNS settings, their service will probably not work with some public WiFi access points especially if the access point requires a type of logging-in (or accepting the terms of service).

I find their service to be very good as it allows me to watch Netflix and get the US content when physically I am not located in the US (similar to a VPN service). The Blockless service works with other geographical IP restricted content/websites as well such as Pandora, Hulu, etc. but I mainly use their service to view Netflix US content while outside of the US on my mobile devices. You can also use their service to access Netflix Canadian content or Netflix United Kingdom content while you are outside those areas as well by logging onto your Blockless account and then configuring the Netflix content to point to either Canada, US, or United Kingdom. So far I haven't accessed the United Kingdom Netflix selection since I have plenty of things to available to me with Netflix Canada and Netflix US but according to the Blockless website, Netflix United Kingdom selections are available as well.

I noticed that the Blockless service only seems to work on "portable" or "mobile" devices. By this, I mean that after configuring my home router to use their DNS and I access my Blockless account on my computer, I'm able to watch Netflix US content with my Android tablet, my Android phone (over WiFi), my iPhone 3GS (over WiFi), my Chromebook (over WiFi), my Windows computer, and my Windows laptop/netbook. It did not work with Netflix my LG SmartTV Upgrader ST600 box even though my LG Smart TV Upgrader ST600 box was using the exact same router and as such it had the same public IP address information/settings.

When I tried to use my LG Smart TV Upgrader box while it was connected to the same router, the Netflix on it would be in a weird state. I would see the titles for the Canadian content (which is where I am physically located) but I would not be able to watch any of the Canadian content because they were not available (in my area). I reset the LG Smart TV Upgrader box and tried changing the settings on the box itself to the US but it still didn't work. I also contacted Blockless' technical support department but they couldn't help me (although they were very helpful when their service stopped working for Netflix on my Android devices). Instead, what I decided to do was to configure the box so that it used the actual DNS settings from my internet service provider. This way I could continue to use Netflix on my LG Smart TV Upgrader box and watch Canadian Netflix content while if I wanted to watch US Netflix content, I used one of my "portable" devices. When I want to watch US Netflix on my television set, I plug in one of my "portable" devices to my television (in my case, I plug my Acer Android tablet using an HDMI cable) and I start the Netflix application and then select the Netflix video that I want to watch.

So far I've used their free trial service and it worked for me enough that I decided to actively subscribe to their service. Based on the cost (~$5/month), I found that I was using their service enough to watch US Netflix content to make it worthwhile for me to subscribe to their service.

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  1. I have LG ST600 but the Netflix app is not installed (Latin America profile). Any chance to add it if I update firmware using services such Blockless? I already have Netflix on computers and PS3.

    1. Thank you Fernando Palacios for reading and commenting on my blog.

      I was playing around with my LG ST600 box and I believe that I actually found the way to get the Netflix app on your LG ST600.

      I don't know if it will work but you can try, going into the Setup menu, then select "Network", and then select "Premium/LG Apps", "Country Setting", and then pick "Canada" or "US".

      Hopefully this works for you. I managed to remove Netflix by selecting "Mexico" or "Other" and I managed to get it back by putting it back to "Canada" or "US". Your LG ST600 might be similar.

  2. Thank you Fernando Palacios for reading and commenting on my blog.

    In terms of whether you can get the Netflix application by updating the firmware using a service like Blockless, I doubt that you will be able to get the Netflix application by doing this since based on my experience Blockless does not work with the LG ST600. The Blockless service will also only make your compatible device think that it is located in the US (for example) for certain applications. For example, my portable device like my laptop, cellphone, tablet, etc. (not the LG ST600) will appear as if it is in the US when using Netflix but it will appear as if it is in my home country for almost all the other applications/websites.

    My only suggestion to you is that you do a factory reset of the LG ST600 and change the home country while your device is fully connected via a real US VPN service and not a service like Blockless (which will fully give you a US IP address) or you bring the device with you when you are in the US and perform a factor reset. After the factory reset, while you are still located in the US or you have a US IP address, you would then pick US as being the country for your device.

    Even though I don't believe that it will work, since Blockless has a free 7 day trial offer, you can always try it out and see if you are able to get the Netflix application on your LG ST600 Upgrader Box. It won't cost you anything except your time and you will also lose some of your settings.

    I'm sorry I couldn't be of any more help.

  3. Hey......
    I am just starting out with this smart media player thingy and just picked up a cheap philips media player for like $35. It does have Netflix and youtube, vudu and pandora. I was just wondering how I would be able to access bbc Iplayer and of american Netflix. Is there a way of I will need to get a better media player. The media player I have is HMP2000..............

    1. Thank you Arish Abdulrasul for taking the time to read my blog and post your comment.

      You can probably get American Netflix by using a service like Unblock-US. Please click *HERE* for more information. The pay service basically requires that you change your DNS service on your home network router.