Since PLDT just upgraded my bandwidth, I thought it’ll be fairly decent now to stream movies and TV shows using the upgraded connection. I’m now getting 10Mbps max on my Plan 3000 subscription and streaming HD content works fine on 5Mbps the last time I tried, although occasionally the stream reverts to SD content. I thought the extra 5Mbps of traffic would probably sustain the HD content longer.
Netflix/Hulu are US only services. However, there is a way to access it outside the US. There are several ways to do this, but I’ll only discuss what tricks I’ve tried.
First, by using a VPN service(I tried HideMyAss VPN). A VPN service creates a tunnel between your home connection and a VPN endpoint. The tunnel is created by using a VPN client software, where you configure with the VPN endpoint’s IP address and some authentication parameters. The VPN service provider has a list of servers located in different countries around the world. You pick which country to connect to and all your traffic will be redirected to that server as if coming from that country and not in PH. Location aware application like Netflix will then work, since the IP address from your request will now be coming from the VPN endpoint(which has a US based IP address)
Advantages of VPN:
- If you want to surf anonymously, VPN will hide your IP address from the website you are trying to access.
- Some websites restricts access to a specific region/country. If the VPN service has a VPN endpoint in that country, you can use VPN to access that website.
- Connection between your PC and the VPN endpoint is encrypted.
Disadvantages of VPN:
- Performance. Although VPN service offers different ways to connect(PPTP, L2TP or OpenVPN), I generally find it slow.
- If you want all your home network under VPN, router config is a bit tricky. You need to have a supported router(dd-wrt, openwrt). If you want tunnel for a specific machine, then VPN clients for different OS is available.
- Once you establish the tunnel, all your Internet based traffic will be rerouted to the VPN endpoint. This is a pretty useful feature of VPN, because this allows it to connect networks together(imagine head office and remote office VPN), however for this application(using Netflix in PH), it would not make sense to route all traffic.
Second way to use Netflix in PH is by using DNS redirection(I tried unblock-us). Instead of using your ISP’s DNS server, you point your PC/router to the service’ DNS servers. Now the trick is, your request to Netflix will not be routed to Netflix directly, because they will redirect it to their server, which will then forward it to Netflix. Since they’re in the US, Netflix will work.
Advantages of DNS redirection:
- Performance. You can utilize your entire download throughput for the streaming experience.
- Easy to setup. You can even configure your router so that all device under your home network will have the service. Although I won’t recommend this.
Disadvantages of DNS redirection:
- Security. Although some of them says they will not log/filter your traffic, who knows? Traffic is unencrypted. So I don’t recommend utilizing this on all your machines – only use this on your media center PC.
- If your router changes its WAN IP address(fairly common on DHCP connections on DSL), you need to reestablish the connection using a browser.
So, this summarize the services I’ve tried to make Netflix work in Manila. On the next post, I’ll document my experience on using it on an Apple TV. Stay tuned!