Give Foxtel the ‘flix
I don’t watch much TV, partly because the ad-ridden free-to-air channels are never showing anything watching when I feel like watching it (and I don’t care to be a slave to their timetable), and partly because Pay TV services such as Foxtel are so ridiculously overpriced. In spite of this, I don’t condone pirating (illegally downloading) shows online – not for moral reasons, but rather, pragmatic ones – which meant that my TV loving wife had to resort to the expensive option of buying or renting stuff on discs.
Therefore, we were happy to discover the technical loophole that allows us to use the popular streaming service, Netflix. Usually, the site is restricted to access only from the countries where the service is offered: US, UK, Canada, and a few others. It does this by “geo-blocking” – reading your computer’s IP address to determine which country you’re in, and denying you access if you’re not in one of the service areas.
The loophole works through a service that hides your real IP address behind a US-based one, thereby fooling geo-blockers into thinking that your computer comes from somewhere else. It’s probably not entirely legal, but does strike a happy medium between rewarding IP owners for their work vs. protesting the artificial restrictions placed on content by third party rights holders. So now we pay a total of around $13 per month (depending on the exchange rate) for a service that would easily cost hundreds of dollars per month with Foxtel.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, follow these three easy steps to get set up – you can even try it out free for one week:
1. Set up a proxy
2. Set up your devices
3. Sign up for Netflix
Once that’s done, you’ll have access to an unimaginable wealth of TV shows and movies (including Netflix exclusives, like Season 4 of Arrested Development and House of Cards).
If all this seems too hard, or you’re not entirely comfortable exploiting a legal loophole, then an alternative is the monthly free Hoyts Movie Kiosk codes – the first Wednesday of each month you can rent a movie for free. Keep an eye out on OzBargain towards the end of the month for the codes :-)
* Disclosure: the link contains an affiliate code from which I receive a benefit for each new customer referred.