VPN services have long been used to access content from around the world that shouldn’t technically be available in a user’s location, Netflix is one service that finds itself heavily accessed in this manner and have recently taken action to block such methods. Access can range from users outside of a country who enjoy entertainment from a specific nation, expats who have moved abroad or even those travelling who wish to keep in touch with entertainment that resonates with their social upbringing.
Netflix, a US based movie streaming service has become synonymous with online content. Currently available in 16 countries, with an additional 2, Australia and New Zealand planned for early 2015. While Netflix currently only covers a small selection of countries there are many users who watch Netflix via alternative methods.
Australia are a good example of this, although the service is not currently available in an official capacity, there are an estimated 200,000 Australia users already making use of the service via the US Netflix site. To do this, Aussie entertainment fans make use of either a VPN service or a DNS server provider. By making use of a DNS server provider users can access content that would ordinarily be region restricted without loss of speed offering those who wish to stream content only a more advantageous method.
Users of the Netflix Android app have been enjoying content outside of the intended country up until recently, this has now been brought to an abrupt halt with Netflix finally cracking down on DNS server providers closing a loophole which allows mobile users to view such content. By altering the DNS servers of software users are able to access the US version of Netflix that contains a larger selection of movies than other regional offerings.
With the Android application update the ability to alter DNS servers has now been disabled with hard coded Google DNS servers being used by default, this simple change has instantly removed the ability to use a DNS server provider with the Android app to access Netflix out of region.
With one loophole closed, more followed with users of certain VPN providers reporting that Netflix is inaccessible via their US servers. After testing of LiquidVPN’s US servers with the Netflix US service outside of region, it is safe to say that they are currently working and allow a completely free Netflix viewing experience regardless of where you are located in the world.
Although Netflix offers its service in many countries the available content on each varies widely with the US service offering a huge amount of extra content compared to other regions. Many users in Canada and the UK use their local account with a VPN service such as LiquidVPN to stream content from the US site without speed loss gaining access to a larger library of content for their standard local subscription fee.
Australian users of the service who have been circumventing restrictions for years are about to have the service officially land on their shores. Worried users have been filling forums due to the expected price increase that is usually seen with services offered in Australia when Netflix finally lands. While a price increase would be displeasing, many Australian users are more concerned that the ability to access the US service will be curtailed in a manner similar to that seen in the recent Android app update. Restricting Australians to access only the localised version of the site is likely to see a mass of content become unavailable to viewers that would of otherwise been available via circumvention methods using the US site.
With Netflix allowing users of different regions to login to other localised versions of the site, albeit via a workaround such as a VPN service, users have questioned whether new restrictions are the work of Netflix themselves or from a higher power such as the movie studios. Interesting times ahead as Netflix follow suit of Hulu who last year blocked access to its services via a range of VPN providers.