Doctor Who is one of the world’s most popular and long-running TV shows. It’s been on the air since 1963 and has had nearly a thousand episodes to date.
If you’re an American, you’ll be forgiven if you’ve never seen an episode or perhaps never even heard of it. This iconic sci-fi series is not streaming on Netflix – at least, not in the U.S. It’s currently only available on Netflix UK.
Yes, that means Netflix does have it in their digital catalog. People are streaming it right now. But even though you are a paying Netflix subscriber, you can’t stream it unless you’re in the UK.
And it’s not just Doctor Who. There are thousands of other great movies and TV shows that are available in other parts of the world, but not in the U.S. (and vice versa!)
It’s extremely frustrating – but there is a simple way around it.
In this post, we look at why Netflix and other streaming services use “geo-blocks” to restrict access – and how to get around it with a VPN (sometimes referred to as a “Netflix VPN”).
Why does Netflix geo-block its content?
In short, it’s all about the money.
Movie studios and copyright holders want to make sure they’re getting the biggest profits possible from their content. So they sell the rights to different streaming services, networks and companies around the world, for varying amounts.
So even if Netflix wants to stream a show globally, they can’t legally because the rights are held by other entities. If Netflix were to stream it globally anyway, they could face massive fines for breaking licensing agreements.
But let’s not forget that Netflix is looking to maximize its profits too. Netflix will sometimes choose not to pay to license content in some countries if the price tag is too steep or if it sees no upside for paying the price.
So who gets the short end of the stick? You – the user. Even though you pay a monthly subscription fee, you can’t stream everything in Netflix’s library, just because of where you connect to the Internet!
How to get around the geo-block with a ‘Netflix VPN’
The simplest way to get around geo-blocking is by using a VPN (virtual private network). By connecting to the Internet through a VPN, you can unlock restricted content on Netflix and other streaming services.
Here’s how it works.
A VPN creates a secure, encrypted tunnel for connecting to the Internet. Any data that travels through the connection is encrypted and thus completely hidden. So Netflix can’t see what servers you connected to or where you’re located. In fact, not even your Internet Service Provider can see what you’re doing.
If Netflix can’t see where you’re located, it can’t control what content you see. So in effect, it unlocks everything.
Even better, you can download and torrent movies without worrying about your ISP tracking you or penalizing you for exceeding bandwidth caps.
So you can watch as much Doctor Who as you want—or nearly any other content in Netflix’s massive catalog—no matter where you are in the world.
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