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Shaikoten
Senior Member


Posts: 1151
Registered: 05-04


Netflix, Hulu, Youtube. These are all great websites. If you live in the United States. But I'm sure many of you in Europe, Asia, Oceania, or elsewhere have come into your fair share of issues in watching videos on sites like youtube and finding warnings that "This video is blocked by copyright in your country" or some such nonsense. Netflix has a diminished library in the UK and Canada, and I'm not sure if it even exists outside of the US and those two countries. And all of these are geographically locked.

Well, until now.

I found a plugin for Chrome and Firefox called Media Hint. The website is terrible and doesn't explain what the plugin does for shit, but it works flawlessly. It determines where you're accessing a site from, where the optimal location is to allow access to media, and then spoofs your country code to allow you to watch what you want. What this means for me? I can watch the rare unavailable video on youtube and stream television from bbc.co.uk without a second thought. What this means if you live outside of the US? You get to watch ALL our goodies.

I can confirm this works, and it works quite well. I told one of my German friends about it this morning, and he had always wanted a Netflix account. All he had to do was supply a US zip code when signing up for an account, and now he can watch all of the media that's licensed for the US. It's beautiful, and I wish all of you non-Americans good luck in discovering just how good we have it in the realm of movies and TV online here.

Old Post 02-05-13 01:43 #
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exp(x)


Posts: 2595
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So it's an easy to use proxy?

Old Post 02-05-13 02:06 #
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kristus
Megablast!


Posts: 10620
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Netflix do exist outside of those countries. But yes, I am guessing the library is limited compared to the US.

Old Post 02-05-13 02:07 #
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hardcore_gamer
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Posts: 2372
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Shaikoten said:
"This video is blocked by copyright in your country" or some such nonsense.


Copyright is nonsense now?

I swear, the internet has destroyed peoples ability to understand that entertainment has monetary value.

People can't complain about the access to some entertainment being restricted when they are getting it for free.

Old Post 02-05-13 02:08 #
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kristus
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Netflix isn't free. Hulu and YT and it's ilk generate income on ad revenue.

Old Post 02-05-13 02:11 #
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hardcore_gamer
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kristus said:
Netflix isn't free. Hulu and YT and it's ilk generate income on ad revenue.


Well even if so, Netflix can decide what to show as it pleases. And even if you have to watch some adds it still doesn't cost you any money.

Old Post 02-05-13 02:13 #
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Shaikoten
Senior Member


Posts: 1151
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Netflix is absolutely not free, I pay real money for it, and I want to be able to use it when I go outside of the US. I have the same beef with, in this day and age, certain games not being offered on Steam or other digital distribution platforms just because the consumers aren't in the right country. We're in the 21st century, and money is money no matter what country you're in. Unless it's some hyperinflationary African nation I guess.

Exp: I don't know how it works, but I don't think it's a proxy--as in there's no additional lag like I might have had if I had routed all that streaming traffic through another connection. I just think it picks up on the checks within the website and sends the most helpful codes.

EDIT: Bunch of people said stuff after I replied so I'll say to hardcore gamer, Netflix isn't the entity who wants to restrict other countries in this equation, it's all international distribution rights and other archaic old media leftovers. If it were up to Netflix they would likely have their full library available everywhere, but they have most likely deemed that the fees they would have to spend to make their whole library available outside of the US would not be cost effective as their subscription base is most dense in America.

Old Post 02-05-13 02:15 #
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Nomad
Not dumb enough to get a custom title


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Does this mean I can watch BBC shows?

Old Post 02-05-13 02:17 #
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Shaikoten
Senior Member


Posts: 1151
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Nomad said:
Does this mean I can watch BBC shows?


The website will absolutely let you once you have this plugin. It will ask you to make sure your TV License is up to date however!

Old Post 02-05-13 02:19 #
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kristus
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hardcore_gamer said:
stuff
I'm guessing you're not using any adblocker then?

Old Post 02-05-13 02:23 #
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Technician
Still no custom title


Posts: 7995
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kristus said:
I'm guessing you're not using any adblocker then?
Of course not, HG's an honest citizen who pays for his entertainment. He realizes that ad revenue also pays the content producers as well as the content providers.

Please tell him you don't use adblock, HG.

Old Post 02-05-13 02:34 #
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Caffeine Freak
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Posts: 732
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Regardless of whether or not a certain online video service is free for the end user, I think HG's original point was really about how the internet has had a tendency to give people a sense of entitlement, and I would agree with that. It may be a subject for a different thread, but it's still a valid point.

I would agree that people really don't have a right to complain about ads on sites like Youtube, where everything is free (for the end user) and you aren't even required to register to view most of the content. Video services you pay for are a different matter.

Old Post 02-05-13 04:24 #
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GreyGhost
Why don't I have a custom title by now?!


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hardcore_gamer said:
People can't complain about the access to some entertainment being restricted when they are getting it for free.
The problem down here is that if the blocked content's available at all it'll be on Pay TV, and the small amount of geographically locked content I might watch each month doesn't justify the cost of subscribing.

Old Post 02-05-13 04:29 #
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Jimmy
doesn't rhyme with MIDI :(


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This is an absolute godsend. Thanks for sharing, Shai. :D :D :D

TRY AND STOP ME NOW, BBC IPLAYER

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Old Post 02-05-13 05:07 #
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Maes
I like big butts!


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hardcore_gamer said:
People can't complain about the access to some entertainment being restricted when they are getting it for free.


And exactly how is it different giving it for free to an Australian or a Greek, compared to a North American?

Old Post 02-05-13 07:35 #
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DoomUK
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Caffeine Freak said:
I think HG's original point was really about how the internet has had a tendency to give people a sense of entitlement, and I would agree with that. It may be a subject for a different thread, but it's still a valid point.

Keeping things within the context of this thread, letting people in one part of the world watch something and blocking it from others is unfair, whether it's paid for by the viewer or not. I know there's reasons for it, but the reasons suck - particularly in the case of the BBC and it's licensing fees, but that's definitely for another thread.

Old Post 02-05-13 08:33 #
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fraggle
Filled with the code of Doom


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Shaikoten said:

Exp: I don't know how it works, but I don't think it's a proxy--as in there's no additional lag like I might have had if I had routed all that streaming traffic through another connection. I just think it picks up on the checks within the website and sends the most helpful codes.

FYI that doesn't actually mean anything and the Internet doesn't work that way. Geolocation is done by IP address. It's a proxy.

Old Post 02-05-13 09:32 #
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Jodwin
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Shaikoten said:
Bunch of people said stuff after I replied so I'll say to hardcore gamer, Netflix isn't the entity who wants to restrict other countries in this equation, it's all international distribution rights and other archaic old media leftovers. If it were up to Netflix they would likely have their full library available everywhere, but they have most likely deemed that the fees they would have to spend to make their whole library available outside of the US would not be cost effective as their subscription base is most dense in America.

Yeah, it's all about distribution rights. Looking at it from a different angle, the Finnish national television/radio puts some of its shows online for a limited time after they've aired. Pretty much the only content that's available abroad is radio broadcasts and news which they produce themselves. Everything else, especially foreign shows, are much more restricted since they have only bought distribution rights within the country. If they had the rights to distribute the shows internationally, they'd have to pay for rights to show them to over six billion people as opposed to five million.

As for Youtube, in some cases regional restrictions are caused by local offices of media companies. For example, Sony Music has its own subsidiaries in various countries, each of which may have their own Youtube channels. They could restrict content on each channel for its own region to get American views on the American company's channel, UK views on UK company's channel and so on.

One special case more is sports events. They sell rights to broadcast the event to highest bidders, and since the rights and production costs tend to get rather high the broadcast companies want to protect their income streams. That's why they protect the broadcasts so that I can't watch Swedish broadcasts while avoiding giving the Finnish broadcaster their ad money and the Swedish broadcaster also saves money by only having to broadcast within the country.

Old Post 02-05-13 09:55 #
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Shaikoten
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fraggle said:
FYI that doesn't actually mean anything and the Internet doesn't work that way. Geolocation is done by IP address. It's a proxy.


I admit to phrasing it like a dumbass for sure, but I'm pretty certain the proxy isn't running for much but the initial connection. Wouldn't it be terribly inefficient and costly to route streaming media traffic through a proxy?

I'm not trying to say that this isn't a very simple solution, I'm almost certain it is. But I also remember what loading websites through free proxies feels like, and this does not feel like that in the least.

Old Post 02-05-13 09:58 #
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traversd
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From the terms of use page @ mediahint.com:

"MediaHint.com is a provider of free of charge proxy server services that are accessible via MediaHint browser extensions (“Our Software”) and are marketed on our website www.MediaHint.com (“Our Site”), together either separately called “Our Services”."

Somewhat humourously in the prohibited uses section:

You may use Our Services only for lawful purposes. Including, but not limited to the following, you may not use Our Services:

* in any way that breaches any applicable local, national or international law or regulation;
* in any way that breaches terms of service or any other regulations of use of the websites you access;

Old Post 02-05-13 10:55 #
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Maes
I like big butts!


Posts: 12653
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Shaikoten said:
I'm not trying to say that this isn't a very simple solution, I'm almost certain it is. But I also remember what loading websites through free proxies feels like, and this does not feel like that in the least.


Heh and to think that back in the dial-up days, being able to load stuff via proxy was usually viewed as something positive and desirable, as it would often be faster.

Old Post 02-05-13 11:00 #
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fraggle
Filled with the code of Doom


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Shaikoten said:


I admit to phrasing it like a dumbass for sure, but I'm pretty certain the proxy isn't running for much but the initial connection. Wouldn't it be terribly inefficient and costly to route streaming media traffic through a proxy?

I'm welcome to be proved wrong but I'm pretty sure you're going to find it's a proxy. The servers serving that content won't send it to you if you're in the wrong IP range. Therefore the only way that would reasonably work is if the authors of the code behind the website had screwed up and not done their checks properly. That might be plausible for a single website, but for multiple big ones like BBC, Youtube and Hulu? Seems unlikely.



I'm not trying to say that this isn't a very simple solution, I'm almost certain it is. But I also remember what loading websites through free proxies feels like, and this does not feel like that in the least.

It really depends on the proxy you're using as to how it will feel. If it's a public proxy that 100 people are trying to use simultaneously then it probably will be slow.

If I were you I'd be looking into exactly how this magical plugin works - specifically checking that it doesn't use its own users as proxies, because that could turn out very, very bad for you.

EDIT: Check here:


MediaHint.com is a provider of free of charge proxy server services that are accessible via MediaHint browser extensions (“Our Software”) and are marketed on our website www.MediaHint.com (“Our Site”), together either separately called “Our Services”.



There's an interesting discussion here about MediaHint, which raises some very good questions. How exactly are they able to afford this? They're providing you with free access to (it seems) high-bandwidth proxy servers that you can use. How are they paying for that and what's their business model? The whole thing seems rather dodgy.

It's worth pointing out that when you're using a proxy service like this, the service provider can see the traffic to all the websites you use. They could potentially use that to collect sensitive personal information and you should probably disable the extension entirely when you're not using it.

Old Post 02-05-13 12:53 #
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flubbernugget
Member


Posts: 354
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IPv4 has location information? I thought that was only in IPv6.

I should probably look this up more on my own, but as of right now I can't imagine a way regional IP addresses would work without screwing up subnetting in the days before NAT.

Old Post 02-06-13 03:10 #
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Maes
I like big butts!


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flubbernugget said:
IPv4 has location information?


This is done by guesstimating and look-up lists of known subnets. It's far from perfect though, and different systems may lead to "locating" different cities or even different countries.

Old Post 02-06-13 09:13 #
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