May 15, 2009
This post is intended to all you non-Americans out there…
Have you ever wanted to watch that tv show you missed? Have you heard of Hulu? Hulu.com hosts many tv shows and allows users to stream the shows to their computer whenever they want. No more having to stay up late to catch your favorite show, or remembering to set your PVR (or VCR if you haven’t joined us in the 21st Century yet). Yes, Hulu is the next big thing for streaming video. Just like Pandora is for streaming audio. You have heard of Pandora, right? You really must try these websites.
What’s that? Hulu and Pandora are saying they are terribly sorry but you are not in the USA and so they are just not feeling good about streaming content to you, for some reason or another. Well so much for the open internet. I guess you’ll just have to wait for Hulu and Pandora to do some market research and realize they can grow their markets by a measly 10% by opening Canadian versions of their websites. But that would be after negotiating licenses, etc. with the appropriate regulators and distributors. That might take some time.
Or not. There is a solution if you really need it. The solution is to make your computer’s IP address American by routing your browsing through a proxy. There are many programs out there that can do this, but I like Hot Spot Shield for OS X. This is a free application (it inserts ads) that spoofs your computer’s address into one from the US. Once this is done, it allows you to access your favorite websites just like any other American. You do take a bit of a performance hit, and I wouldn’t use it for any secure connections, but it will allow you to stream Hulu and Pandora, and likely any other American media that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see.
You can turn the proxy on and off, which is handy. I’ve found that you only really need to turn the proxy on when establishing the streaming media connection. Once the connection is established, you can turn off the proxy and continue to stream. I like to keep the proxy off as much as possible, mostly for performance reasons, but also because you never know where your data might be going.
So go get yourself a proxy and open your non-American eyes to the wonderful services that are out there. I really enjoy Pandora, and Hulu is pretty darn convenient.