Traveling abroad is super exciting, but sometimes you just need to kick back and relax with something familiar. Nothing says “cozy” like curling up on the couch with hot chocolate (or a margarita, depending on the climate) and catching up with your favorite TV shows.
Unfortunately, your favorite TV shows might not be available everywhere in the world. How do you access Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black as a world traveler?
- Use a VPN to Watch Netflix
Because of licensing issues, Netflix can’t allow users in certain countries to watch certain TV shows. It’s called geo-blocking, and it’s extremely inconvenient. It’s usually used to preserve copyright restrictions, but it’s also used for other things, such as online gambling sites that aren’t legal in certain places.
Currently, the Netflix service is available in 130 countries, but that doesn’t mean the catalog of TV shows and movies is going to be the same everywhere. As everybody who’s tried to access Netflix from another country knows, American Netflix is undoubtedly the best when it comes to selection. Once you leave the US, the number of choices you have plummets.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help you solve this problem. It creates a secure pathway between the source of data and its destination, keeping information from prying eyes while also protecting it within a shell. Imagine a tank driving through a tunnel. It was invented to allow employees to access company networks when they were working remotely, but now it’s put to a variety of different uses. In this case, you can use it to mask your IP address so it looks as if you’re watching Netflix from inside the US.
- Torrent New Episodes
The problem with Netflix is that seasons get uploaded all at once, usually months or years after the series ends. It’s great for binge-watching old favorites, but if you want to stay current with a show that’s still on the air, torrenting may be your only option.
If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of torrenting, it’s a type of file sharing in which people share the weight of the download and downloads occur in small pieces. It makes the downloading process much more efficient, so your files are ready to watch as soon as possible.
Plus, torrenting is pretty popular. New episodes will often get uploaded within hours of appearing on TV, meaning you might be even less than a day behind.
Of course, there’s a catch. Torrenting is not inherently illegal, but often people will use torrent sites to host illegal copyrighted material so the sites are under constant government surveillance. These TV shows are included in the category of illegal copyrighted files. Therefore, it’s pretty common for these sites to get shut down, and individual torrenters can be fined outrageous legal fees. Those consequences are usually reserved for the most avid torrenters, but even if you only download a few files, there’s always a danger of catching computer viruses that are appended to the files.
Luckily, you can also use a VPN to combat these problems! As if using it to watch Netflix wasn’t convenient enough, a VPN can also help you torrent safely. The technology can help you avoid legal repercussions by hiding your IP address, but it can also add another layer of protection against computer viruses while downloading.
- Convince a Friend to Get a Slingbox
Slingbox isn’t a popular solution to geographical TV restrictions, and there’s a reason. It’s not very convenient, but as a last resort, it will work. Slingbox was invented so that people could get their cable TV channels on any device, such as their mobile phones or the TV at their vacation homes. So if you convince a friend or family member in your home country to buy a Slingbox, you can watch your favorite TV shows together.
Obviously, there are some flaws in this plan. You need someone to buy a Slingbox just for you, and you would have to agree on one channel at the same time. If you and your sister have watched every Vikings game together since you were kids, she might be willing to shell out and agree not to change the channel, but not everyone will be that patient.
What shows can’t you miss? How are you going to watch them? Let us know in the comments below!