With Netflix going global, here’s how to watch Netflix anywhere in the world
At some point during fall 2015, Netflix is coming to Japan, according to Comingsoon. When it does, the streaming service will roll out with hundreds of movies, TV shows, documentaries, and more, but they will all be exclusive to the Japanese market.
So why should you care about the announcement? Because there’s an easy way for you to access the locked content, and watch Netflix anywhere in the world using one simple piece of software.
Netflix exists thanks to the licenses it negotiates with the studios. These negotiations are complex, to say the least. Netflix may have the rights to air a property in one country, but not another. During the recent negotiations between the BBC and Netflix, the streaming service lost the rights to a handful of properties, including the show Red Dwarf, for example. That means American Netflix subscribers can’t watch that show, but if you are a Netflix subscriber in England, the entire series is still available.
Two methods, one easier than the other
To access content from the UK, Japan, and anywhere else in the world, there are a few methods. One of the more sophisticated methods involves creating your own proxy server, which makes it appear that you are operating out of the country you create the proxy server in. There are several ways to do this, some are easier than others. Doing this will ensure your access and mask your online activity, but it can cause all manner of problems when accessing your own personal information – paying bills online can be a particularly hellish experience if you forget to turn it off.
If you want to pursue this method, you can do a search for “free http proxy” and find the option that’s best for you. It will require work to change the proxy location form one country to another though. Linux users, this is your best bet.
So while the proxy server is a viable option, there is a far, far simpler way to access region-locked material. All you need is a free program named Hola, which is free to download and use.
The way it works is by bypassing the regional locks that prevent you from watching country-specific content. It more or less fools the country you are trying to access materials from into thinking you are located there. It has other uses as well, including new ways to download torrents, but watching videos is its bread and butter.
The program works on both Mac and PC. If you use a Chrome or Firefox browser, you can simply look for the extension. Once it is running, you just choose what country you want to watch content from, and you’re set.
If you are running IE or you’re on a Mac, you can just download the software. An Android app is available as well.
Choose your country, then watch Netflix anywhere
Once you have a country chosen, just go to the website you want. That includes Netflix, Hulu, and any other service that is region specific, like the BBC iPlayer. If it is a paid service you will still need an account, but once you sign in with your normal login info, Hola will do the rest.
If it is turned off or set to your home country, you’ll see the same content you’ve always seen. If you switch it to Japan and reload, it will show Japanese content. Switch to French, German, or the the British feed and reload, and you will see that content.
Of course, with content from a country where English is not the primary language, you may not have subtitles or a second audio track to help yo. There will be some content for you though, and obviously if you are a native speaker, you’re set. Language barriers aside, you should now be able to watch Netflix anywhere in the world at no additional costs.
Netflix is also coming to Australia and New Zealand later this spring, and by 2016 it hopes to be available throughout the world.