It’s that time of year when the summer shows are airing the world over. Watching these shows is not as easy at it should be depending on where you live. Netflix and Hulu, in the US, are the go-to services for streaming television. In addition to their original series, Netflix shows past seasons when they receive the licensing, and Hulu features current show seasons for those they are licensed to show. Licensing, however, is also based on country. Not all countries are considered equal in this case.
Watching TV Shows on Netflix
While Netflix services are open to a variety of markets all over the world, not all markets have the same TV shows or movies at the same time. Netflix original series are available in all markets since Netflix owns those licenses. Network TV shows, however, are not owned by Netflix, so they can’t be shown until the production companies allow Netflix to serve them to their users and in specific markets. Netflix also isn’t licensed to stream TV shows as they air.
Watching TV Shows on Hulu
Unlike Netflix, Hulu is only available in the United States. This makes it harder for those around the world to watch television via their service. Since Hulu is owned by some of the production companies, they have licensing to stream some TV shows between a day and five days after they air. Hulu also offers some original shows but not to the extent of Netflix at this point. Like Netflix, users outside of Hulu’s jurisdiction are not able to stream these shows due to geo-blocking. Viewers often have to resort to other options; though some of them are not considered safe.
What About File Sharing Sites?
Some of these less than safe options include a variety of file sharing sites. Free streaming sites are not always a good idea because they usually send users to illegally hosted files of copyrighted shows. These sites do not have licensing for the content they share and are heavily inundated with ads. Sometimes these sites get shut down without notice by the US government for hosting copyrighted content. Others are fly-by-night sites that are not considered reputable.
One of the biggest dangers of these file sharing sites is that your computer could be at risk by visiting them. Many of the files shared could be infected with malware or viruses. And since they rely on the ad revenue to make money to stay in operation, the ads on the site could also contain malware and viruses.
What is a Good Alternative?
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a good alternative to file sharing sites. VPNs hide your IP address and can make it seem as if your computer is in a different country than where it actually is. This allows you to watch shows on Netflix or Hulu despite the geo-restrictions. Picking a good VPN is key. Some could cause your computer or connection to slow down, which isn’t good for someone who is trying to stream online content.
Have you ever ran into a video that you couldn’t watch online due to where you live? What did you do?