Is the Americans Netflix Better Than Yours?
Yes chances are it’s true, the American version of Netflix is simply in another league compared to all the other regional variants. It’s something I discovered some months ago, when travelling around a bit with my work. I was in North Carolina for a few days with work and a boring weekend stranded in a hotel room beckoned. I decided to check out if I could watch a couple of movies using my Netflix account – what I discovered was something of a surprise. The version of Netflix I saw before me, had loads more movies that I was used to back home.
It seems, that Netflix licenses completely different shows for each version of their site. The US version seems to be their figurehead and hence has thousands of titles that don’t exist on the other sites. It was wonderful, there were movies that I knew had been in UK cinemas a few weeks before. TV series that you couldn’t get on the UK Netflix anymore – shows like Lost, which I had started watching and then couldn’t find again.
This exciting find was actually tempered when I returned home and tried to find ‘The Walking Dead’, which I’d started watching in the US, was no where to be found in the UK version.
I thought it would be possible to switch versions, after all it probably worked on IP address just like all the other media sites. That is, when you log in to a site, your IP address is checked to see what location you are in – Netflix then directs you to the relevant version (or sometimes blocks you completely in some countries). So I fired up my company VPN account, chose a US based office to connect to and tried again. This works pretty well as you effectively then have a US address, although my main issue was speed – the US VPNs at my company tended to be terribly slow from outside the USA. Me streaming HD video through it was unlikely to make me popular in the IT department as well so I started to look for another option.
I next checked using a commercial proxy server which offered a range of US servers, this also worked. As with the VPN as long as I connected to the US proxy first then Netflix would redirect me to the US version.
Again, the main issue was speed – because I was routing my entire connection through a US based proxy server – there was some impact on speed. It would not be an issue on normal browsing but when you tried to stream high definition video, there could be some occasional buffering and loss of picture quality. So although it worked I carried on looking and discovered a system called Smart DNS
It kinda works like the VPN and proxy, except for one subtle and important difference. If you use a Smart DNS server it doesn’t reroute your entire connection, merely enough to hide your real location and enable the site. So it will allow you access to Hulu or the US version of Netflix from anywhere in the world, plus you can access sites like BBC iPlayer too without restriction.
This means that there’s virtually no impact on your normal internet speed unlike the VPN for instance.
Here’s a video which demonstrates how easy it is to set up.
It’s literally two minutes to set up and just works without any software, there’s also no impact on your other browsing unlike with using a proxy for example. It’s worth trying and the best service provider by far that I found was – these guys.