Watching American TV From Outside the US

February 22, 2009

I was talking to a friend the other day… I was very surprised that he didn’t know about some of the sites that host links to places where American tv shows are hosted. I think the biggest and most useful is SurfTheChannel. I would probably even use this site if I lived in the US because it has whole seasons and some older episodes of shows as well. SurfTheChannel also has a lot of British shows and other non-US content.

Everyone knows Hulu, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox , and some of the major sites that deny access to non-US traffic. There’s a very simple way to access them. Again, I was somewhat surprised that my friend didn’t know, but it may just be that he’d never bothered to check.

Anyway, most people reading this probably know Hotspot Shield which is a program designed to mask a computer’s IP when it’s used at a WiFi hotspot in order to protect the user. Another thing it does though is route all traffic anonymously (and free of charge) through it’s server which is in the US… thus allowing access to Hulu and the above mentioned tv sites.

I have had hotspot shield installed for sometime, but it never occurred to me until recently to blog about it here, so just to check it out I uninstalled and then installed it. The only problem I had was a little program that HotspotShield put into my internet connection settings that prevented me access for some reason. I went in and deleted it and all was well.

Sometimes the sites in the US also (for some reason) take note of visiting computers time settings, so if you have any trouble accessing through Hotspot Shield, you may have to change your computer’s time setting to a United States time zone.

A big added plus of Hotspot Shield is that it gives you access to other things as well, including popular music site Pandora (one of the first sites to decide not to provide service to users outside the U.S.).

If there’s anybody out there who didn’t know about this, I hope this saves you some money, or helps you stay in touch with English language pop culture while you are living abroad.

Lastly, here’s a page with tons of online tv sites listed. You may have to use hotspot shield to access most of them.