I’ve just cancelled my Sky cable service, I realised that my wife and I rarely watched any of the channels. In effect we were paying the £65 monthly subscription (that’s $98!) for my youngest to watch reruns of Scooby Doo on one of the kids channels. This we decided was not great value for money so I went in search for more options in the world of online media and streaming services. After some investigation and recommendations from a couple of US friends – I decided Netflix was worth a go and signed up for a month.
So here we go – my shiny new subscription to Netflix already streaming mindless rubbish to my 14 year old son.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was quite impressed – there’s loads of shows and lots of choice. The interface builds up your preferences from what you watch – which is clever except when you have a teenager watching South Park all the time which messes up your selection. The missus and I settled down to watch episode one of a series that we’d somehow missed but everyone else in the universe had been enthralled by – Lost. So all was good except I kept searching for new stuff recommended by some Americans, and couldn’t find them.
It turns out that the UK and the US versions of Netflix are very, very different. In fact from my initial research it seems that the American version of Netflix is much better than all the other country variants, even just over the border – Canadian Netflix isn’t anywhere near as good, unfortunately it’s not easy to get the U.S. Netflix.
How to use an American Proxy for Netflix in the UK?
Just as every online service in existence, where you live determines what you can access and as often is the case the best value if to be found in America.
Fortunately there is a way around this, by changing your IP address and tricking the Netflix application about your location you can access the American version of Netflix fairly easily. I’d read online and everything pointed to using a proxy server and more specifically a US proxy site. This was partly true, although the information was slightly out of date and unfortunately even the best proxy server would no longer work as Netflix blocked them. There are in fact only a couple of services which still work and they use a more sophisticated VPN proxy which is harder to detect.
Now I use two separate services for switching my location and keeping my connection secure, both are fast, easy to use and well supported – Identity Cloaker and Overplay.
In this instance I’ll use Overplay to switch my location to a US one –
At the top you can see the Overplay application, which is pointing at a US server – you just select the country you need from a list. Now when I start Netflix I am treated as a US surfer and use an American proxy for Netflix which has loads more content and is much more up to date than the UK version. Netflix operates as a global company so it’s important to highlight that my account is still a UK one, but will change as I move location. So if I was physically in the USA – my UK account would show the US version of Netflix.
You can use any VPN or DNS based service to change versions like this, Overplay and Identity Cloaker are definitely worth trying though as they are by far the best value out of any I’ve tried. Here’s a good video on YouTube which illustrates –
Incidentally this method is based on the PC, you can use similar methods on lots of other devices, like Wii, Routers etc. For iPad – try this post and select a US server instead of a UK one, before you connect to the Netflix site.
You may have heard that Netflix is waging war on VPNs and Smart DNS programs and you can forget an American proxy, effectively blocking all of them. Only a couple of VPNs now work with the US version of Netflix – the fastest is the program I use Identity Cloaker – who have developed a system which bypasses the Netflix blocks – works great.