Will geo-dodging go mainstream?
By Adam TURNER
How popular will services such as Unblock-Us become for accessing geo-blocked services like Hulu?
Of course there's a difference between popular and mainstream. I'd say geo-dodging has been popular for a few years, via VPNs or new DNS-based services such as Unblock-Us. But when I say "mainstream" I mean your average person on the street. Perhaps someone who has recently embraced the idea of online video and is starting to bump up against those frustrating warnings that content isn't available in their country. As with file-sharing, they're likely to turn to their tech-savvy friends for answers.
Even with a little help from your friends, I couldn't see geo-dodging going mainstream until it became "green button" simple as they say at Xerox (you push the green button and it just works). Until then most people will put it in the too hard basket, which is what content providers are relying on. Bypassing geo-blocking is still far from green button simple for your average person -- particularly as the geo-blocking workarounds keep changing. How simple it is depends on the content you want to enjoy, the gadget you want to enjoy it on and the geo-dodging technique you want to use.
Running a VPN such as WiTopia on a media centre, which can be easily switched on and off from the System Tray, is one of the easiest ways to tap into services like Hulu and Netflix. But your average person doesn't want a computer in their lounge room. The next option is a set-top box which can work with a geo-dodging service. D-Link's Boxee Box is a real winner here because it has a built-in VPN client. Alternatively you might look to a box which lets you change its DNS settings to use with Unblock-Us, maybe an Apple TV or an internet-enabled Blu-ray player. They're cheaper than a Boxee Box, but the trade-off is that you've got access to less content. It's also more difficult to disable geo-blocking on these boxes when you want to access local services. Like I said last week, the results with Netflix can be hit and miss.
It's a handy trick for people prepared to make the effort, but I can't see geo-dodging appealing to the masses for a while. What's your preferred method of bypassing the Great Content Wall of America?
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Same goes for Netflix.
Many Aussies on Twitter have been told by Hulu's support team on Twitter about not having international streaming rights for us currently but Hulu refuses to give a ETA for when they will get the streaming rights to launch here.
So obviously, we rely on geo-unblocking services for now and these are constantly blocked, by services like Hulu meaning users scramble for unblocked geo-unblocking services. Yet these are constantly tweeted about to users like me
I know for a fac tHulu did launch in Japan last year-called Hulu Japan, which is quite popular there and geo-blocking isn't used much for Hulu there.
And for now, it's their only international offering.
They won't discusss Australian launches plans for he time being as Hulu is focused on building up a good presence in Japan.
The only international service of note locally at this time is a paid iPayer offering for tablets and smartphones.