Missing out on some of your favorite television shows while away from home can become frustrating. Certain shows are rarely replayed during the same week or even month so if you aren’t in the position to tune in as it’s being broadcasted on TV, you might have to wait until the season ends in order to catch any reruns. However, that certainly isn’t always true.
If you subscribe to a service such as Hulu Plus, you’re able to watch specific television shows shortly after they premiere on cable TV. This is a great option for those who may enjoy watching shows once in a while, but can’t justify paying for television service, as it allows them to watch shows that they may not have access to otherwise. Even if you do have cable at home, you can use Hulu while on the go…or at least when you’re in the United States, which is somewhat handy.
But what about outside of the US? Unfortunately, many services such as Hulu and Netflix are geo-restricted, meaning that they can only be accessed by users in specific countries. They aren’t the first companies to do this either. Many popular online services restrict access as well.
As you can imagine, this is somewhat of a problem if you’re using a paid service and happen to travel overseas. Some cable companies will allow you to watch TV from your computer or smartphone so long as you’re a paying customer, but once again, it’s not likely you’ll be able to access this feature if you’re connecting to their app or website from an IP address located outside of your home country.
So what options are available that will allow you to watch anything, anywhere? Let’s take a look.
Begin With a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the easiest and most effective ways to unblock websites that use geo-restriction. You can think of a VPN as a secure tunnel. When you connect to the VPN, all of your internet traffic is routed through that tunnel, making it appear as though you are connecting to the web from a different location.
The VPN is a remote server so wherever the server is that you connect to is where websites will believe you are located. This is because of the IP address, which is a combination of numbers that act as sort of an online ID, displaying your location to others online (this is why you’ll sometimes see ads online that mention your city on them, even without ever typing it into any online forms on that website).
VPNs do more than just hide your location, making them even more useful than just for the purpose of watching what you want from wherever you are. They also encrypt your internet connection and provide a simple way for you to browse the internet anonymously. Encryption makes you less vulnerable to malware and cyberattacks.
It’s common to utilize unsecured internet connections such as public WiFi, especially when away from home, and that’s one of the main ways hackers can make their way into your internet-enabled devices. Even when you aren’t using an unsecure internet connection, a VPN can add additional security to your devices beyond what the typical anti-virus program can because of the level of anonymity it provides. This is especially important because when you’re browsing the net for new websites offering streams of movies and television shows, you’re likely to come across some fakes that could be harboring hackers and malware.
In order to begin using a VPN, you’ll need to choose and subscribe to a VPN service. SecureThoughts.com has made it easy to compare VPN services with their list of the best VPNs for Hulu. Even if Hulu isn’t your top choice for streaming videos, the VPNs mentioned will work for streaming videos online from any website.
Check Local Listings
Another option for watching shows while away from home is to check the local listings in the area that you’re visiting. It may be that your favorite television shows are broadcasting on cable in that city or country as well. Chances are you’ll have access to some TV, as hotels typically offer basic channel lineups at the very least.
If it’s sports you’re mainly interested in watching, you can also visit local pubs in the area that often have sports playing for their customers.
Browse the Net
Many people have heard of Netflix or Hulu before, but may not be aware that there are other similar services available that they may be able to view from other countries without a problem. Some offer only specific genres of shows and movies, but are useful nonetheless. To find some of these, try doing a Google search for something along the lines of “movie streaming service” and include your specific country or city in the query.
As always, be wary of what websites you input your information into or download anything from. Sometimes websites will lure you into downloading or sharing your information with them in an attempt to steal your identity or inject malware onto your device. Streaming websites tend to be a popular way for people to do this, as they are something many internet users tend to search for.
An anti-virus program can be helpful, so be sure to have one installed on all of your internet-enabled devices (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.). I’ve used both Panda and Avast, but there are other good free choices available as well.
Watching What You Want When You Want
Enjoying movies and television shows while away from home is something you definitely do not have to go without just because you’re traveling. Whether you just prefer to receive what you paid for when traveling abroad (you pay for Hulu Plus and Netflix after all) or are simply looking to view geo-restricted content from anywhere in the world, a VPN is your best bet because of its ability to mask your location.