While our beloved entertainment can be enjoyed pretty much everywhere, sometimes it’s nice to feel the comforts of home. Home-style entertainment usually includes various television shows and movies that are available for streaming on Netflix or Hulu (or other TV/movie streaming apps) and ofcourse online casinos such as Nutz. However, when travelling overseas, especially to regions with strict internet geoblocking like China or Hong Kong, there might be some issues with accessing this content. If you’re coming to study abroad in the United Kingdom, here are some apps that you will want to download before leaving in order to access your favourite shows and movies.
What is Smart DNS?
Smart DNS is a service that offers alternative routes for data packets sent back and forth between your device and the websites you visit (in this case, Netflix or Hulu). This allows devices outside of the USA to have access to content that they normally wouldn’t have access to. Among the most popular Smart DNS service providers are Overplay, Unblock-Us, Unlocator, and ConnectPal. Many of these services offer free trials so you can test them out before subscribing long term. Here: https://www.smartdnsproxy.com/
How does this affect my Netflix or Hulu account?
Netflix has recently begun cracking down on different methods used by people outside of the United States to watch their shows using alternate routes. However, there are still some workarounds available for accessing your favourite TV show or movie while abroad in the UK. One option is signing up with a VPN provider (below) instead of a Smart DNS service provider. A VPN will allow all of your data packets to be routed through their servers, so it might be harder for Netflix to detect that you are watching their shows from outside of the USA.
Hulu is more straightforward when it comes to this situation. All Hulu streaming content is only available in the US and Japan. This means that if you try to access any videos on Hulu while abroad, they will not work unless you have some kind of VPN or Smart DNS service set up.
What’s the difference between a VPN and a Smart DNS?
The biggest difference between services like ConnectPal vs Unblock-Us are price point, ease of use, device compatibility, customer support channels turned to for issues, etc. Each provider has its own pros and cons with which potential customers must weigh before deciding which one is right for them.
A VPN will allow all of your data packets to be routed through their servers, so it might be harder for Netflix to detect that you are watching their shows from outside of the USA. A Smart DNS service can be set up on multiple devices at once while a VPN is typically limited to only one device per subscription. If you have more than one streaming device or smart TV in your household, then a Smart DNS service might be better for you. While some VPN services do offer similar features, they are called out specifically as “Smart DNS” providers on our list below. Because of this, we chose not to include them here.
Another negative point for a VPN is that they typically add a slight bit of latency to your streaming experience. This is due to the additional “hops” and data packets being routed through their servers before getting to your device. Smart DNS services, on the other hand, do not have this same added latency and actually help speed up your streaming process since you’ll be using your own network connections (as opposed to an external connection).
All of that being said, Smart DNS services are great if you only have one streaming device. Many customers opt to use a VPN on their laptop/desktop computer while using a Smart DNS service on their streaming box (such as Roku or Apple TV) so they can easily switch between different devices without changing the service provider.
Before leaving for your study abroad trip, make sure to install any updates to these apps and make sure they continue working once you land in the UK! The best plan is usually going with a free trial from Unblock-Us or ConnectPal before deciding which one will work best for you long term.