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Awesome Streaming video sites that are not Hulu or Netlix

Beyond Hulu and Netflix: Other Streaming TV And Movie Sites To Watch

beyond hulu or Netflix. 60 plus sites that are just as good or better. Cutting the cord

If you want more than mainstream movies from Netflix and popular shows from Hulu or if you live abroad and have been region blocked- dont fret. There is a sea of lesser known but worthwhile fish streaming video sites for you to check out. Here are over 60 I recommend-all with free trial periods of 7 to 30 days and a few totally free sites. You are welcome!

Why would anyone need more than Hulu or Netflix?

One of the things I love about living in France is watching French movies. One of the things I hate about living in France is watching American movies dubbed into French at the movie theatres.  (Dubbed American movies represent the bulk of films in French theatres).  This is how I came to rely on Hulu and Netflix- I was sick of watching dubbed lips out of sync. That and the fact that dubbed movies get lost in translation and sometimes sound weird. Check out Homer Simpsons voice in French. He sounds like a drunk Forest Gump. (play video clip below).

Anyways, I was blissfully happy with Netlix and Hulu until slowly I realized I wanted more than just mainstream Hollywood so I started a new quest to find sites not like Hulu and Netflix. Dare I say better?  Maybe.

What I found astounded me- hundreds upon hundreds of streaming choices online. Some great, some good, some really crappy. I whittled what I found down to about 60 or so streaming choices. Before I share them with you, I would like to point out other benefits to watching more streaming video services and less cable TV.

5 Benefits to watching streaming video

  • More Diversity in shows and movies:
    Give me Indie, give me off beat, give me quirky, scary and the classics. Hulu and Netflix just don’t cut it for me in this respect.
  • No need to wast time channel surfing:
    I can never seem to time it just right. I always end up tuning in halfway through a show or just watching whatever is on channel surfing. Screw that. Streaming on demand video is way more efficient.
  • Different slants on world news:
    When you live in one country, you get used to the local and national news but when you travel, you get to hear world news from a different perspective and you begin to see things in a whole new light. There are a lot of streaming news from different countries available online.
  • Cut the cord & save money
    Watching streaming video gives you an alternative to cable. You can essentially cut the cord and untether yourself from expensive cable tv and get more value for your money.
  • Get Access To Streaming Sites That Will Not Region Block Me: Hulu is blocked outside of the US. I have to use a VPN or a Smart DNS to trick the site into thinking I am in the United States otherwise I can’t play or watch any videos on Hulu. Lately Hulu and Netflix US have gotten smarter about figuring out who is faking their IP address through a VPN and blocking them anyways. Myself included. Other sites don’t go through the trouble so it’s good to have other streaming sites a a fall back.  I have used several Smart DNS services. The one I currently use is called Overplay and It works great with Hulu and unblocks loads of other sites which you can’t view outside of the US without a DNS or VPN.

See Also: Websites And Streaming Video Sites Blocked Outside Of The USA and How to watch Blocked Streaming Video Websites Outside Of The US

My best recommended alternatives to Hulu and Netflix (This is a pretty big list of 60 + choices)

Below is a list of streaming sites handpicked by me. Some are membership sites like Hulu and others à la carte sites. I also included a few worthwhile Free streaming sites which are good if you don’t mind the ads which are similar to what you would see on YouTube.

For those of you region blocked from Hulu and Netflix (USA) despite using a VPN or Smart DNS proxy, these are excellent alternatives that all work with a VPN or Smart DNS. Guess their technology is not as high tech. 

Fandor

What: Independent, international and obscure foreign films

Subscription Cost: $10/month or pay $90/year up frontFandor.com

Fandor is without a doubt one of my most favorite sites to watch these days. I honestly did not consider myself an indie movie lover until I started watching Fandor. There are over 8,000 handpicked independent, obscure movies and foreign films for you to choose from in every genre you can think of and then some. Many you won’t find anywhere else. Think of Fandor as the Indie version of Netflix. You’re sure sure to get your fix with Fandor. Try it free for 14 days. Have you seen or heard of the movie called Melancholia starring Kirsten Dunst?

Shudder

What: Good and great handpicked HORROR FILMS

Subscription Cost: $4.99 a month or pay $49 up front per year

shudder streaming handpicked horror films

I was screaming from fear and for joy when I discovered Shudder because there is nothing but handpicked streaming horror films to die for from around the world and the price of admission is a scream at just $4.99 per month.  Shudder is backed and put together by AMC Networks (producers of Breaking Bad) and DramaFever. Yes you do see some of the usual free, public domain stuff but not the crappy quality and not the really bad crap because the sites library is curated by horror aficionados Sam Zimmerman and Colin Geddes.  If you’re not sure what to watch, there’s also a constant live stream of horror movies playing on the site. It’s almost like the old days of cable TV where you turn it on and see what’s playing. You never know when a movie is going to start or end, and you don’t know what’s coming next. There are plenty of foreign films too but you can easily switch on subtitles. I dare you.

Film Struck

What: Contemporary and classic movies from the criterion collection

Cost: Subscription price not published yetFilmstruck, streaming criterion movies, indie and more for film affecionados

If TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and the Criterion Collection had a baby what would they call it?  Film struck!  FilmStruck is made for die-hard movie enthusiast who love independent, foreign, cult and art house films.. It’s library will be constantly refreshed and as of Q3 2016, Film Struck will succeed Hulu as the exclusive streaming service for the Criterion Collection. I think this streaming video service may quickly become your favorite go-to site for always fantastic movies!

If you are not familiar with the Criterion Collection. It’s an American home video distribution company which focuses on licensing “important classic and contemporary films” and selling them to film aficionados.

Drama Fever

What: Asian TV shows and dramas, Latin American Telenovelas.

Cost: Starting at .99 cents /month with ads. $4.17 / month no ads.  If you want access offline its $8.33 / Month (7 day free trial)dramafever internation asian and latin shows with subtitltes

Watch Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish dramas, variety shows, films and kids programs all with subtitles and available in more than 20 countries globally. Drama Fever was purchased in 2016 by Warner brothers so you can be sure that this streaming video service is only going to get better.  Af first I wasn’t sure about this site but after trying it out, I think it is definitely worth checking out especially for $.99 cents a month for the most basic plan.

Warner Archive

What: Warner Brother timeless classics

Cost: $9.99 / Month (Free 30 day trial)warner archives watch the classic movies online streaming and on demand

I was initially really excited about Warner Archive because I love the Warner classics. The product of 3 major movie studios, Warner Brothers owns a massive catalogue (maybe the largest in the world) of American movies and TV shows including westerns, film noirs, musicals, comedies, pre-code classics and more. Many of which are not available for purchase any more. The site works like a revolving door for their content. Their massive collection of movies and TV shows get rotated in and out each month to keep the site Fresh I guess. I love the idea but I think 10 bucks a month is too much for what it is. If it had all of it’s library available or most of it available to me at any one time then I could see the value of paying 10 bucks a month but as it is Netflix is cheaper and Hulu is cheaper and they have HUGE libraries available all the time. There are usually only 13 or so TV shows and 160 movies available at any one time (as of 2016). I could not find Gone with the wind, Casablanca, A streetcar named desire, The shining and a bunch more that are in the Warner collection. *Sad face. Check it out for yourself. Maybe you’ll get more value out of it than me which is why I did not rule this site out.

HBO NOW

What: All the same HBO episodes, original programming, theatrical films, seasons, episode as regular HBO plus more.

Cost: $14.99 / MonthHBONow

I’m not ashamed to say that I luuuuuuv “Game of Thrones” which is on HBO. HBO now is for anyone who doesn’t have a monthly cable subscription but still wants to watch HBO shows online. You can watch HBO NOW on most devices including your computer however you can’t sign up using your computer. You have need to sign up through an app or through a subscription provider as an add-on like Amazon, Roku or Apple. It is what it is.

CBS All Access Now

What:Watch almost any show it airs live or on demand.

Cost: $5.99/ mo limited commercials or $9.99 no commercials (free 7 day trial)CBS all access now free trial

CBS All Access, like the HBO now does not require users have a traditional TV subscription: You will have access to most of the old shows as well as the new shows aired as soon as the next day. All you need is an Internet. There are well over 6,500 Episodes for you to watch on demand. Give it a try for 7 days with a free trial After that pay just $5.99 per month with limited commercials or $9.99 for no commercials.

Online Video, Movie and TV Show Sites (Pay as you go –rent or buy)

If you would rather rent or buy movies and shows rather than subscribing to a monthly plan, here are your best options.

VUDU

What: latest big-name movie releases and TV shows often released on the same day as the DVD release.

Cost to rent: $0.99 special rentals up to $5.99 usually in HDX 1080p.  Cost to buy: $4.99 to $24.99 to purchase.

Vudu rent or buy videos online

Vudu is a solid pay-as-you go streaming video website. No monthly subscriptions here- you can rent or buy the latest big-name releases on the same day they come out on DVD whereas Netflix waits around 20 days or so. Prices seem to be determined by how new or old a movie is with newer blockbuster movies costing around $6.99. For you basement bargain hunters, there are regularly reduced videos for as little as $0.99 cents. Vudu occasionally offers content the competition doesn’t.

FandangoNow

What: latest big-name movie releases and TV shows

Cost: $1.99 to $19.99 for newer releases.Fandango now rent or buy videos online

FandangoNow used to be called M-Go and uses a pay as you go model like Vudu where you can rent or buy newer big-name release movies fresh out of the theatre however you can only buy TV shows not rent them. Their library is massive, they claim to have over 30,000 movies and TV shows so you are sure to find something to watch.

CinemaNow

What: latest big-name movie releases and TV shows

Cost: $1.99 to $19.99 for newer releases.cinema-now

If you are looking for new films, old films, scary films, cult films, indie films, you name it than CinemaNow is the place to go. It has an extremely large and diverse media library collection but it is pretty standard. It sometimes has HBO show which you can only get via HBO so that’s a plus.

Anime

Crunchyroll

What: Anime and Japanese dramas

Cost: $6.95/month – $11.95/month (14 day free trial)Crunhyroll streaming anime online

For anime lovers and Japanophiles, Crunchy Roll streams anime videos and Japanese dramas (legally) with professional subtitles (not the illegal/ bootleged version created by fans). There is some free content but it is very limited. They have 2 subscription plans. The higher priced plan has no ads so you can watch Naruto Shippuden, Attack on Titan, Sword Art Online, Skip Beat, and Shugo Chara and more ad-free.

FUNimation

What: Anime and Japanese dramas

Cost: $$4.95 / month (free 2 week trial)

Funimation streaming anime

Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z fan? Get access to over 8,500 streaming anime episodes and movies commercial-free in HD!

FREE

Crackle

What: Movies and TV, original web shows

Cost: Freecrackle free streaming movies online

Crackle is pretty descent for a site that is FREE if you don’t mind the commercials galore.  It has TV shows, Hollywood movies and some really good original web shows you won’t find anywhere else. It’s owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment which also means it’s library is going to work with Sony Platforms and devices. The site has expanded to produce and distribute originals since Sony has its own Hollywood studios.

Pluto TV

What: A little of everything, TV shows, movies, sports, cats.

Cost: FreeplutoTV

This site tries to mimic the TV experience. It has over 100 Internet channels instead of TV channels from mainstream news and stand-up comedy to TV shows, movies and and extreme sports. There is even a CAT channel. YouTube watch out.

Popcornflix

What: Independent feature films

Cost: Freepopcorn-Flix

– I believe this site has around 1,500 + independent feature films. You won’t see any current blockbusters here however it’s worth a look. It’s free to use and perfectly legal. The site makes money from ads.

LogoTV

What: New Music Videos, Reality TV Shows, Celebrity News, Pop Culture ..

Cost: FreelogoTV for gay and lesbian audience

Plenty of RuPaul here. This site focuses on lifestyle programming aimed primarily at LGBT.

ShoutFactoryTV

What: cult TV shows, movies, comedy, original specials

Cost: Freeshout factory TV

Here is an excellent alternative to major streaming services. The ShoutFactoryTV library has a fairly large curated library full of cult TV shows, movies, comedy, original specials and more. Think Godzilla, Elvira and Mystery Science theatre.

Watch most of your favourite channels on Amazon

Amazon is special and deserves a little explanation. It has 2 models. The pay as you go model, Amazon Instant Video where you can rent or buy movies on demand. It also has a subscription model which gives you access to thousands of movies and TV shows through Amazon Prime Video. Plus you get all the benefits of being a member of amazon prime. I’ve listed all the benefit below.

You can also add on certain channels to your prime video account like starz, shudder, Smithsonian Earth, Comic con and many more. I listed 48 addons but there are more. You get the convenience of watching all your movies, TV shows and various channels through Amazon rather than surfing to the individual sites. Pretty slick.

Amazon Instant Video  –

What: Rent or buy the latest big-name movie releases and TV shows.

Cost: Pay $3 to $20 for each movie or TV show depending on if you buy or rent the videos.

Amazon Prime members get Video plus + + + +

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial to switch from pay as you go to a monthly membership which gives you access to all of the following

  1. Amazon Prime Video: Watch unlimited streaming of thousands of movies & TV Shows Anytime with Amazon Prime. The selection is not as good as Amazon Instant but it’s still pretty good.
  2. Amazon Prime Music: Unlimited streaming of millions of songs with Amazon Prime.
  3. Access to borrow over 500,000 eBooks. You can borrow one book per month and never pay any late fees.
  4. If you own a Kindle E-Reader, Fire tablet, or Fire phone, you can rent eBooks for free
  5. Unlimited photo storage on Amazon drive (this alone is worth the annual membership fee).
  6. Free 2 day shipping (on eligible purchases in the US only).

Platforms: Computers, Amazon Fire TV, some smart TV’s, Roku, Kindle Fire, Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, Android, iPad/iPhone

Cost: Amazon Prime is $99 per year which turns out to be $8.25 per month.

Subscription Channels you can add to your Amazon Prime Subscriptions

Pretty close to a la carte TV if you ask me. Sign up for a basic Amazon prime membership- $99 per year which gives you all the benefits listed above. Then choose an add-on subscription for a very reasonable monthly fee of 2.99 to 8.99 depending on which add-on you choose. You can subscribe through the website or through a mobile app.

Each individual subscription comes with a free trial, that ranges from 7 to 30 days. I have listed 48 channel add-ons below.

Horror

Monsters and Nightmares – $2.9 9/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
The creepiest, most terrifying horror films of the last decade.

Amazon-Monsters Nighmares

Full Moon -$6.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Horror, fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, cult, and decades of bizarre genre films.

Amazon-FullMoon

Fear Factory – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
eerie, fun flicks that bring the bump in the night.

Amazon-FearFactory

Shudder –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Curated by horror aficionados devoted to all varieties of horror.

Amazon-shudder

Feature Shows

Starz – $8.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Captivating original series and hit movies.

Amazon-Starz

Showtime –  $8.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Award-winning Original Series, hit movies, sports, and more.

Amazon-Showtime

Cinefest –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
A uniquely curated collection of films for the movie buff in everyone.
Amazon-Cinefest

Tribeca Shortlist $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Movies worth watching. a diverse selection of films and features handpicked by actors, directors and more.

Amazon-tribecashortlist

UMC- Urban Movie Channel  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Quality urban content showcasing feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy and more.

Amazon Urban Movie Channel

Educational

History Vault –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Hundreds of hours of curated historical videos.

history vault from amazon

CurisosityStream -$5.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Nonfiction programs exploring science, technology, history, and nature.

Amazon curiosityStream

Smithsonian Earth – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Captivating nature & wildlife documentaries, stunning Nature Scenes, and fascinating shorts.

Amazon Smithosonian

Nature Vision –  $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
Hours of uninterrupted footage of the world’s most beautiful and pristine places.

Amazon NatureVision

Spacerip – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Breathtaking collections of space and astronomy videos.

Amazon spacerip

The Great Courses – $7.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Video learning in science, art, and more.

Amazon great courses

Xive TV –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Exploring history, science, nature, adventure and mystery.

Amazon Xive

Documentaries

Docurama –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Award-winning documentaries.

Amazon Docudrama

Daring Docs – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Thoughtful and provoking documentaries on hot topics and social issues.

Amazon Daring Docs

Dox – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Award-winning documentaries from cutting edge filmmakers around the world.

Amazon Dox

Sundance now Doc Club – $6.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
A handpicked curation of award-winning documentaries.

Amazon Sundance

Quello Concerts – $7.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Thousands of full-length concerts and award-winning music documentaries on demand.

Amazon qelloconcerts

Fitness

AcaciaTV -$6.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Hundreds of fun and effective workouts for every fitness level.

Amazon acaciatv

BeFit -$5.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
The best workout solutions for every body. Transform Yourself.

Amazon Befit

 

Gaia – $9.95/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Yoga, meditation, documentaries, and original programming to expand your horizons

Amazon-Gaia

Video Game Comic Con Genre

Comic Con  –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
Everything you love about Comic-Con, on demand and streaming online-anytime.

Amazon comic con

Contv –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
TV shows and coverage from Comic Con events nationwide.

Amazon contv

Machinima – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Get Machinima – original series, gameplay videos, animation, gaming news, and more.

Amazon-Machimina

Humor & Comedy

Comedy Central Stand-up plus  – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Original stand-up specials and series from your favorite comics.

Amazon comedycentral

Seeso – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Original and Classic Comedy: Series, Stand-Up Specials and more.

Amazon Seeso

Kid

Hooplakidz Plus – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
Nursery rhymes, yummy recipes, arts and crafts, educational videos, and lots more for parents and kids.

amazon Hoopla

Ameba – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Kids shows, movies, music, and much more.

Amazon ameba

Family Friendly

Dove Channel –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Trusted and safe family entertainment.

Amazon Dove

Up Faith And Family $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
High-quality movies and TV shows for the whole family.

Amazon up faith family

 

Lifetime Movie Club – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Featuring a great selection of new and classic Lifetime movies.

Amazon-Lifetime

Indie or Cult

IndiFlix Shorts – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Award winning short films from 50+ countries and 1200+ film festivals

Amazon indieflixshorts

Acorn TV –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
World-class TV from Britain and beyond.

Amazon acorntv

Drama Fever Instant – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Hit dramas from around the world.

Amazon-dramafever

Action

Warriors and Gangsters – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
High octane action and adventure flicks that kick things into high gear.

Amazon-warriorsgangsters

All Warrior Network –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Military themed entertainment for Warriors, by Warriors.

Amazon all warrior network

Other

Cheddar – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Tech, media, and business news and exclusives daily from the NYSE floor.

Amazon cheddar

Ring Tv –  $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
Your all-access pass to world-class boxing.

Amazon Ring TV

Tastemade –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Food, travel, and lifestyle for the connected generation.

Amazon-Tastemade

Paula Dean Network –  $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Paula’s award-winning cooking shows, new lifestyle shows, vintage series, and more.

Amazon Paula Dean

Motorland – $2.9 9/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Automotive anywhere anytime. The ultimate destination for gearheads.

Amazon motorland

Between the free trials and the free streaming sites, you should be good to go for a couple of months for free.

FB how to watch streaming video outside of the united states

How To Watch Hulu And Other Blocked Video Sites From Anywhere In The World

FB how to watch streaming video outside of the united states
Forget about watching Hulu from Halifax, Netflix from Nice or listening to Pandora from Paris. These and other sites are hiding behind locked doors the moment you try to access them outside of the United States. There are tools to get around these region blocked websites but before diving into those tools, it's useful to understand what is being blocked and why.

Who blocks websites?

There are thousands of websites blocked from being accessed by people around the world. Sometimes it's a country's government that censors websites and blocks it's citizens from accessing certain sites. Sometimes it's the sites themselves that block surfers outside a region from viewing their content and sometimes it's your company or school that blocks access to certain non-productive websites. I've discussed why sites get blocked here.

Over 25 countries worldwide block access to certain websites in their own country.

What do you mean blocked?

Let's clarify what it means to be blocked from these streaming video. In France Hulu is blocked to me because I am trying to view it from France or outside of the US. I will still see the Hulu website and I can surf around the site however the moment I try to actually play a video, the dreaded GEO-restriction popup message will appear. It usually says "Sorry, currently our video library can only be watched from within the United States. (see photo)

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

The first time I saw the restriction pop up for Hulu, I was stunned. I had no idea what was going on. I actually thought it was a mistake until I contacted Hulu customer service and they explained to me that Hulu was not available outside of the United States. ​I cancelled my membership right there and then and forgot about it because I thought there was nothing I could do about it.

A few months later, by accident, I discovered that there was something I could do to watch websites like Hulu which are normally blocked to me in France.  More on that solution in a minute. 

HBO-Go-Blocked

Another scenario you may run into is a US based site which serves you up a localized version of the website. It may even be an inferior version of that site simply because you are located in another region. Take Netflix for example. 

Unlike Hulu, Netflix is available outside of the US in certain countries. As of 2016, it is available in over 190 countries worldwide. But the Netflix you see outside of the US doesn’t have nearly as many movies as the Netflix USA. Just ask Canadians who have half the amount of videos on Canada Netflix.

Netflix France

How do sites like Hulu know I am outside of the United States and block my access?

All your computers and devices that access the internet have an IP address. Your IP is kind of like your street address or GPS for your location.

In a matter of seconds, sites like Hulu, Pandora, HBO Now and Netflix are able to determine where you are located by using their sophisticated software to sniff out your IP address and your actual location. 

There is a way to fool those sites into thinking your in the US so that you can view blocked websites. 

How to access MOST blocked and region restricted websites from France, Europe, Asia and beyond

To access your favourite online streaming video website or any website that you are blocked from using for that matter, you will need to use a VPN or proxy which will essentially trick sites into thinking you are in the USA. 

  1. VPN (Virtual Private Network)
  2. Smart DNS Proxy​

Smart DNS and VPN are very similar however there are pros and cons to using one over another. Your needs will determine which one you should use. 

Is it legal?

I'm not a lawyer and I can't tell you if the country you are trying to use your VPN or Smart DNS from allows use of anonymizers and proxies to access blocked sites. 

Use a little common sense and research it. If I were in a country where the internet was censored by the government like Pakistan, North Korea or Mainland China, I would probably think twice about using a VPN especially since some countries might actually put you in jail if they catch you using a VPN.

On the other hand, I am pretty sure it's ok to use a VPN or Smart DNS in countries like France, the UK, Canada, the United States and many many more countries.  In fact many universities and businesses use them. I used to use a VPN to access my companies servers from home.

So yes, it is legal in some countries. Just make sure you don't do anything illegal while using a VPN or Smart DNS.

See Also: List of US streaming video sites which anonymizers can unblock for you))

Which one should you choose? Smart DNS or VPN?

As I mentioned before, Smart DNS and VPN are very similar in that they unlock region blocked websites however each one has advantages and disadvantages depending on what you want. The below comparison should help you decide. 

CHOOSE SMART DNS if:

If you are not concerned about encryption or securing your connection like me because you will be connecting to wifi at home with a password protected internet box and you simply want the fastest connection possible to access blocked streaming websites like Hulu, BBC iplayer or HBO NOW than a Smart DNS is your best bet. It's also slightly less expensive than a VPN. 

There is also nothing to install other than changing your DNS on your computer and devices. It's always on so you can set it and forget it unlike a VPN which is slower, needs to be connected and disconnected each time you use it. The Smart DNS which I currently use is called Overplay and I love it. 

smart dns is easy to setup

CHOOSE VPN IF:

If security is more important to you and you want to add a layer of security, identity & privacy protection or encryption security against the prying eye of the government and hackers than you should choose a VPN. Keep in mind that VPN's usually slow down your connection and you have to download software or an app which you need to turn on and off each time you use want to access a blocked website.  OverPlay has a VPN which is extremely easy to install and use. 

Below is a the same information as above only summarized in a chart showing you the pros and cons between a smart DNS and VPN.

What are the Pros and Cons between Smart DNS and VPN


Smart DNS

Unblock websites: Access your favourite sites from anywhere.


SMART DNS PROS AND CONS

  • No security online in public WIFI connectors and unsecured hotspots.
  • Surf is not private or incognito.
  • Not all blocked websites for a country are available only specified websites. (usually this is enough, at least for me it is because I only access a few blocked streaming websites like Amazon, Hulu, crackle etc).
  • Can see content from multiple channels/countries at the same time or switch instantly.
  • Much faster, no loss of download speed which is great for video streaming.
  • Works on all your devices unlike VPN. 
  • Nothing to download
  • Easier to setup than a VPN. No technical knowledge necessary. Simply follow directions to change your DNS settings on your devices. set it and forget it. Takes 5 minutes to get going.
  • Unlimited devices: Use on multiple devices as long as they have same external IP. Which you will have at home if you are all using the same wifi connection.

SMART DNS CONS

  • Usually cheaper than a VPN

VPN

Unblock websites: Access your favourite sites from anywhere.


VPN PROS AND CONS

  • Enjoy security online even on public WIFI connections and unsecured hotspots
  • Surf Privately incognito with no trace.
  • Unlock all every website for a country not just a specific streaming website channel. Good if you want to use VPN to get cheaper airline tickets on different country sites because it does matter where you are buying from price wise. 
  • Need to dissconnect and reconnect each time you use VPN and you have to switch from viewing one country content to another. Cannot have US Netflix and French Google for example.
  • DOES NOT work with all devices. Will not work with Apple TV, Smart TV, Roku and other boxes without a VPN router. (if you are technically savvy enough than it won't matter)
  • VPN's are slower than Smart DNS which might make videos choppy or laggy. 
  • Can only see content from one country at a time. You must dissconnect from from one country and reconnect to a different country to view different content. i.e. US hulu to Dr Who on UK BBC iPlayer. Not so with Smart DNS.
  • More complicated to get running. Need to download and install software to get it running. Can be technically challenging to get it up and running on a smart phone or tablet. Not so for smartDNS
  • Usually More expensive than Smart DNS

Conclusion

If you are heading abroad and want to watch your US based streaming video shows or listent to your streaming music on Pandora than YOU NEED to get a VPN or Smart DNS installed and running on your devices before you go. The last thing you want to be doing while on vacation is fiddling with your settings to get things up and running. You need to decide whether you want full encrypted protection (VPN) or just a faster connection to stream video (Smart DNS). Both of which will unblock region restricted websites.

Nothing is full proof. Results can vary based on your location, your connection the weather? I had to go through several services to find the ones that worked for me. I will list other services which I have tested and know work by linking to them here. (coming soon, I'm currently testing out a few dozen services. )

Overplay.net as I mentioned above, is the service I use at home and am extremely happy with. If you can't decide between a VPN or DNS of if you would like to have the option of switching between Smart DNS for a faster connection for streaming video at home and a VPN when connecting to an unsecured and or public hot-spot in hotels and airports, you can get both as a bundle package over at  Overplay for less than $10 USD per month. 

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Why Are Sites Like Hulu And Facebook Blocked Outside Of The US Region?

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Instagram in North Korea? NOT!    Hulu in France? PFFFFFT     Pandora anywhere outside of the US? In your dreams!   These are but a few of the websites which you are blocked from using outside of their region (The US). But where and what sites are being blocked and why?

Why are websites blocked?

If you live in the US, you probably take for granted the fact that you have access to websites that many people around the world wish they had access to but can’t. Not necessarily because they don’t have access to the internet but because they are being blocked from viewing those sites- like Hulu, Netflix, Pandora and Facebook to name a few. Let’s explore why, what and where sites are blocked.

1- Government Censorship Of Internet Sites

Freedom of speech in China doesn’t really exist, at least not in the way that most westerners think it should. No surprise, the government of Mainland China censors the internet drastically by blocking access to over 3,000 websites including Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, Wikipedia and the Wall Street Journal. Porn sites don’t stand a chance in China.

North Korea’s DOMESTIC ONLY intranet system called Kwangmyong offers no links to the outside world whatsoever. It only connect cybercafes, libraries, universities and various other institutions with websites and email. 

Then there is North Korea, described as one of the few remaining “internet black holes” which doesn’t allow it’s citizens access to the outside world at all. With the exception of a select few high ranking government officials and visiting foreigners, all North Koreans have no access to the world wide web.

But it’s not just Mainland China and North Korea that block websites.

British surfers are banned from viewing almost 100 websites, most of which are blocked because they contain or deal with illegal pirating of music and video or copyright and counterfeit sites.

France is also believed to block over 280 sites at the time of this writing. 60 or so are blocked because they relate to terrorism and more than 250 because they deal with child pornography.

Schools, universities and companies can block their users from accessing certain websites.

2- Streaming music and video websites that block their own content to anyone outside of their region / country for licensing or copyright issues

What you may not realize is that streaming video and music websites like Hulu, Pandora and HBONow are all blocked to you once you leave American soil. Blocked by the sites themselves usually due to licensing and copyright issues which do not extend past the American border. It makes no difference whether you are a US based paying customer trying to accesss Hulu while on vacation abroad. You will be blocked.

By the way, it’s not just sites from the US that block access to their content abroad. For instance, you can’t watch BBC iPlayer outside of the UK.

Related: How to watch blocked video streaming websites from outside the United States (legally). 

What does region blocked look like? The dreaded restriction pop-up

If you visit one of these region restricted websites outside of it’s region / country, you won’t get a scary notice with a menacing red hand threatening legal action. No one will come knocking down your door and take you away in handcuffs. Unless of course if you visit one of those countries where the gouvernement has banned that site. I’m just speculating here; my imagination goes a little crazy.

You will however get an annoying, and very frustrating geo-restricted message which looks different depending on which website you are trying to view. Here are a few examples of what you might see from Spotify and Hulu.

spotifyblocked.jpg

 

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Different version of a website (country specific version)

Netflix, Cartoon Network and a few other sites are the exception because they are available outside of their region (the United States) however the version seen in other countries is different.

For instance, in France where I normally access Netflix, I get the French version. I can still watch the shows in English if I want but I can also watch them in French if I want too. The main difference between the American version of Netflix and other country versions is the selection. There are far more shows available on the American version of Netflix than there are on the French version and other country versions. I am not sure how much more but it could be as much as 50 percent.

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Is there a workaround to access blocked US websites like Hulu and Netflix and is it legal?

Yes there is a work around which is legal in most countries except maybe in countries like China where the government censors the internet but I know people who still do it. However in most other countries like Canada, the UK and France, there are no law forbidding the use of tools/ software to access these sites blocked outside of their region. The US may have laws but I have never heard of anyone being arrested from accessing Hulu outside of the USA. In fact there are hundreds of services you can use to circumvent these restrictions which will give you access to most if not all region blocked websites.

If you want to learn more about how to watch region restricted and blocked video streaming websites abroad, you can read about it here .

Exactly which streaming video and music sites are region blocked abroad?

To keep this list somewhat short, I compiled a list of streaming sites which you can’t view outside of the United States. It’s in no way complete but it should give you an idea of all the sites which are not available to people around the world.

Read it and weep!

Online Video, Movie & TV Websites

Hulu
Netflix (USA version)
Fandor
Shudder
Amazon Instant Video
FandangoNow
CinemaNow
HBO NOW
Crackle
Pluto TV
Popcornflix
LogoTV
ShoutFactoryTV
VUDU

Anime

Crunchyroll
FUNimation

International TV & Movie websites

Drama Fever
Telemundo
MundoFOX
SoompiTV

Websites as part of cable package

FYI Network
Oxygen
USA Network
HBO
GO
HGTV
DirecTV
SyFy
Lifetime
Showtime
Showtime Anytime
DirectTv

TV & Cable Channels

ABC
Bravo TV
CBS
NBC
Spike
FX Networks
TNT Drama
TV.com
CWTV
TV Land
CNBC
AMC
A&E

News, weather traffic

CBS News
ABC News
FOX
WBTV

Educational TV And Movies

Smithsonian
History
National Geographic
PBS

Kids TV And Movies

PBS Kids
Disney
Cartoon Network
Nick
TeenNick
Nick Jr
Disney Junior
Disney XD

Comedy

Comedy Central
Adult Swim
Simpsons World
TruTV
ConTV

Music

CMT – Country Music Television
Pandora
MTV
Radio.com
Playlist
iHeart
Rhapsody
Spotify
Slacker
Samsung Milk Music
VH1
Vevo
ZUUS

Sports

CBS Sports
Eurosport
Tennis Channel Everywhere
FL GamePass
NBC Sports
PGA Tour Live
Golf Channel
FOX Sports
NCAA March Madness
FOX Soccer 2Go
ESPN
WWE
NHL Vault

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