After an eight-hour drive to Perth, followed by unpacking and transferring everything we own from the Ute into our friend’s house, all I wanted to zone out in front of the tube. I plugged in my Apple TV, connected it to the network and scrolled to the Netflix app. Alas! My viewing options had been reduced to the Australian content library.
Schwarzenegger’s 1987 action classic The Running Man1 I had been part way through watching: gone. De Niro’s seminal 1976 film Taxi Driver: wiped. Parks and Recreation: nope. Upcoming release of The Walking Dead season five: not showing down under. Malcolm in the Middle: relegated to an expensive Foxtel subscription.
My Netflix queue had dwindled from 50 titles to 11!
I searched the US Netflix TV and movie databases to compare Stateside and Lucky Country offerings. The results skewed severely towards not available. When I carve out time for TV the last place I want to be is on the short end of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
Switching between content libraries
Say goodbye to “sorry, this content is not available in your country” messages. Netflix won’t mind, while they abide with the licensing restrictions in each country they are happy for you to switch between libraries at whim. You don’t need an extra account and you can switch back and forwards as often as you like. If there are multiple profiles within a single Netflix account2 each user can watch the library of their choice with effecting the other people.
I use a Canadian service Unblock-Us. It is C$4.99 / month, with a free one week trial if you want to check out the service before committing. It provides a new DNS address so that Netflix (and other streaming media providers) think your computer is in another country.
Every computer or other Internet-enabled device has an address. It’s made up of numbers, like a street address. Our solution is brilliantly simple. We give you an address where the content you want is available. It’s like moving your computer or other device without actually moving it. (Unblock-US)
Assuming you already have a Netflix account allocate yourself ten minutes to update your DNS settings.
DNS… what? (Configuring your router)
There are two type of people in this world: those that routinely update their router settings and those that don’t. This post is tailored for the later group.
If you are less technically inclined you might be tempted to setup each device manually instead of delving into the router settings. Be warned, although this might save time upfront there are some downsides, namely:
- you have to manually setup each device
- you may run into problems when you connect your device to another wi-fi network (eg when working from a cafe or library)
- if something changes on your network you’ll have to start all over again
Personally, I spread my Netflix viewership between my Apple TV, MacMini, MacBook Air, iPhone and occasionally my iPhone (Apple ecosystem: check). Updating these five devices would be painful and never ending so I configure my router instead.
If you’ve never accessed your router before it’s likely in its default state: accessible as long as you are connected to the wi-fi network (or have an ADSL cable plugged into the router).
First, check if your router is listed on the Unblock-Us setup page. If so follow those instructions.
My router is a Belkin, a brand which isn’t listed on the setup page. First I needed to access the router homepage, where all the settings live. To find the homepage web address I typed ‘belkin router default ip’ into Google. This gave the default web address of 192.168.2.1. I pasted this string into my browser and arrived at the router start page.
There was no password set so I clicked through to settings.
Next I navigated to the DNS section on the left hand menu, pasted in the Unblock-Us DNS numbers and hit save.
That’s it, done! Now I can switch between Netflix libraries to my heart’s content.
1 – Describing this movie as a ‘classic’ might hurt my credibility
2 – Full disclaimer, I am a grown woman and instead of paying for my own Netflix I have a profile in my dad’s account. Thanks for subsidising my Netflix addiction dad!