Update 2014-04-26 ; After some serious testing with Unblock US besides my usual VPN provider StrongVPN.com, I’ve decided to link directly to their page. I find Unblock US extremely usable for mobile phones, Xbox etc where you don’t want to keep bouncing on and off VPN all the time. It’s not as portable as a VPN (hello summer vacation house, business trips, visitng inlaws), but it does everything it says on the package.
I still prefer using my VPN account with StrongVPN, but it’s not for everyone.
Update 2013-02-09 ; Make sure to use Google DNS (188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206) or your VPN providers DNS servers. Hulu is using some DNS tricks to keep their content strickly for US located units – this took me a while to figure out.
Update 2013-02-10 ; I’ve now successfully located, downloaded, installed and test run the Hulu Plus Android application, an application normally not available in my region. Works like a charm, must remember to install the US VPN client on my phone so I can use it over the 3G network when I’m not home.
Now, the swedish state television (SVT) has started airing all their channels online, including their all kids channel Barnkanalen. Netflix Sweden has started getting somewhat awesome with all the swedish kids shows they got, and Viaplay is .. well, purchasing kids shows from the satellite channel Boomerang actually… but it’s still OK.
Bottom line! The kids are more than happy with what they can watch legally on the TV, Xbox and/or computer.
I’m not as pleased in regards to television that me and my wife wants to be watching. The only real alternative besides what I am going to hint you about here is to illegally download the TV episodes of the shows that we want to follow. This ofcourse means that our TV habits aren’t really giving anything back to the authors of the shows, nor do they provide a good input to the creators of these shows that it’s popular. Also, it’s illegal which is bad.
But … if you’re a little bit tech savvy, you can easily get access to the all new american TV shows the day after they have aired in the USA, at a rate that makes any current european TV service (including HBO Nordic) look so behind – and this is actually legal. You’re obviously breaking all terms and conditions to the service, but you are paying for the content you are recieving.
With that being said, let me introduce you to …
Hulu is a website and over-the-top (OTT) subscription service offering ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, Nickelodeon, and many other networks and studios. Many films and shows that are available in 288p, 360p, 480p, and in most cases, 720p HD. Hulu also provides web syndication services for other websites including AOL, MSN, MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Comcast’s xfinityTV – but I would not use them as that might be a hint enough for them that you are breaking the terms and conditions of the service and give them a reason to suspend the account.
To get around this frustrating region block, you need a few things. For starters, you might need a VPN to the US to make sure you get an american IP, but unless you have an advanced router/gateway (think pfSense or DD-WRT) at home, this makes it impossible to use the VPN service on the Xbox (which is what we use for all digital entertainment at home) or other consoles with support for Hulu.
You could also use Unblock US for this, and I am using them for units where I don’t want to keep disconnecting from VPN – such as my Xbox or mobile phone. For information about Unblock US, just click on the link – and if you are more intersted in VPN to the USA from your gateway that allows you to actually appear as a full time american (or basically any nationality of your choice!) online, you should be peeking towards StrongVPN.com instead.
When you have this setup, you are able to appear online as if you are located in the United States of America. All good now?
No, not really.
Hulu has an annoying extra layer of protection, that requires you to use an american credit card when registering for the service if you want to be able to use Hulu Plus (which is slightly different than the regular Hulu service that you CAN reach from your browser now).
As you might know, Americans are using credit cards for everything from age verification to proving you are a citizen – and being located outside the USA and not being an american citizen, these cards can be quite hard to get hold of.
I got my card from BuyFromPowerSeller.com – a bit slow delivery of over 48 hours, but it finally arrived in my e-mail box. It did cost me about $44 for a $25 prepaid credit card, but it’s so worth it. Also, please note that this card is only needed during the actual activation of your Hulu Plus account – once the account is activated (using the card), you are able to use Hulu gift certificates to prolong your service with either 1, 3, 6 or 12 months at a time.
Once the credit card details has been delivered to your mailbox, you will recieve full instructions from them on how to do the actual registration on the Hulu website, but in short, this is what it takes;
1) Connect to your VPN service, so you appear online from an american IP.
2) Find an address and zip code for the states of Oregon or Delaware (they have no sales tax applied).
3) Register the prepaid card at the banks website.
4) Go to hulu dot com / plus to register a Hulu account, and use the address from step 2. Don’t go there unless you are on the VPN!
Hulu charges $7.99 monthly (+ sales tax if you pick another state than recommended in step 2), and it’s important that you add extra months on your Hulu account prior to your funds being eaten by the Hulu service. This can easily be done by buying a Hulu Plus subscription code AND redeem it before the 3 months has expired. If your newly purchased prepaid card expires or runs low on funds, you cannot use this code but have to buy that expensive prepaid card all over again.
Now, all you have to do is to log onto your computer, or Xbox 360, and launch Hulu Plus.
With all this in place and your Xbox Live account linked to the Hulu Plus service, you are all set to watch all seasons and episodes, including next-day episodes (!), of many many many shows, including the very popuplar Modern Family, Glee, Saturday Night Live, The Office, Dancing with the Stars, The Biggest Loser, House, and Grey’s Anatomy – from top networks including ABC, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC, MTV, and many more. Hulu Plus also offers entertainment fans access to classic TV favorites like Lost, Ally McBeal, and The Hills, and hundreds of popular and award-winning movies.
PS. Yes, this works as long as you have a working Internet connection – it works all over the world – Europe, Australia, Asia .. and yes, France, Malta, UK, Spain and Greece too.
Please let me know what your experience of Hulu Plus outside the US is – share your opinion in the comments section below! :-)