God Bless The Interweb

It didn’t take me long after arriving in this country to figure out that television programmes here are not to my tastes.

Even though we have cable TV there is still not a great deal of variety.  With the country having four official languages there are many channels that I can’t understand, add in the censorship government involvement in programming and I find the selection of shows to be limited.  They do screen the recent Amazing Race series and the Australia Network, but other than those there is not much that floats my televisual boat.

Oh, and Singapore iTunes does not have TV shows or movies.  Fortunately, I can access Australian iTunes so could download some shows but it doesn’t carry the range that US iTunes does.  In my quest to watch the second season Downton Abbey I learnt how to get a US iTunes account, which  let me wallow in all my trash TV pleasures (Hoarders, Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, ANTM, Survivor).

So for a few months I was very content with the shows I could download via US iTunes, but the newest season on Australian Masterchef started and I had television envy again.  I knew there was a way to overcome the geoblocking that all of the Australian TV channels have on their websites (meaning people outside of Australia can not watch streamed videos).  Something called a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which routes your internet access through a local server in another country or city, so it looks like you’re actually in Sydney or Melbourne or wherever, thus hurdling over all the geo-blocks.

I’d be tossing up whether to do this for a number of months but Masterchef finally prompted me to sign up. I am no techno geek so was a little scared of what was involved and whether my fledgling IT skills were up to the challenge.  The company that I went with provided fantastic service and advice from the moment I contacted them via their online web chat.  The representative asked what I wanted to do and then advised that watching Aussie TV shows online was often a frustrating experience, with buffering (pausing) every 20 seconds or so.  Given they offer a 30 day money back guarantee I decided to chance it.

Within 5 minutes of making payment (via PayPal) I was connected to Australia and streaming the previous evening’s episode of Masterchef.  What I have found is that the quality of the streaming is affected by how much traffic the local internet is experiencing.  During the day it is pretty smooth but trying to watch of an evening is very, very frustrating.

The other rather large upside is that the company I went with has servers in 33 countries and the plan I brought I can chop and change which server I am using.  In short, I can swap from Australia to the US. US  = free TV shows! Woot!

God bless the interweb!

(I have not named the VPN company I used but if you want to know shoot me an email!)

2 thoughts on “God Bless The Interweb

  1. VPNs are a real godsend for many expats. In the UAE we needed one to use Skype which was blocked (to protect us from unregulated telephony – yeah, right!). In China and other countries they’re needed to access some social networking sites. Definitely high on the list of “must pack” items for any would-be expat as in some cases you can’t access them once you get there.

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