It may come as a surprise, but you don’t have access to all Netflix content, despite having subscribed to the service. The content available to you for streaming depends upon your location. In simple words, if you’re in the United States, you won’t be able to access certain Netflix content that’s available in Asia, or Europe.
This limiting of access to content based on location is known as geo-blocking or geo-restriction. This means we’re served content that’s ‘available’ in our regions. This also means that if I want to watch the titles available to Netflix users in the US, I’ll have to travel to America! Otherwise, no Stranger Things for me.
Or not. For every problem, the solution exists before the problem arises.
We can use a VPN to unlock any of Netflix region libraries, while not moving an inch! In this blog, we’ll discuss the basics of what a VPN is, and what possibilities it has for the cinema and TV enthusiast among us!
Why is Netflix Libraries Geo-Restricted?
The shortest answer to this question is licensing of content. Here’s how.
Netflix has two major categories of content based upon who’s producing it. One is ‘originals’, those produced by Netflix itself. And the other is ‘curated’ ; these are titles Netflix buys the rights to broadcast on their platform.
So, these rights or licenses to content are barred by the location where they can be premiered. Some are intended for US audiences only because the content licensing hasn’t taken place. The studios that own the content haven’t sold the rights to their content for viewership in certain regions, or countries.
Adding a slight bit of salt to injury, the Netflix US version has almost 5000 titles, while Netflix UK has just half of that. But on the upside, the Hungarian version of Netflix has 570 titles in the catalog. The difference in libraries is significant, even though the subscription fee is the same. It is slightly annoying, agreed. But that’s how capitalism and geo-blocking work together.
Netflix has to comply with these restrictions because of contracts with the production studios. Hence, if you try and access Netflix content that’s available in another region, you won’t be able to, without changing your region.
What Does a VPN do?
If Netflix knows what content to show you, it also knows your location. This is because whenever we’re connected to the internet, we are assigned an IP address. This IP address contains our information and is like our online identity. And we are identified by location over the internet.
A VPN is short for a Virtual Private Network. It is a network of servers that connect to the internet. And these servers are virtually connected, though physically placed in different parts of the world. So, when we sign up for a VPN, it routes our internet traffic through one of its servers. This changes our IP address, and hence spoofs our location on the internet.
Imagine it like a tunnel, you enter at one end and come out with a new identity on the other side, and ahead of you is the entire internet, with all its perils and rewards. In technical terms, that tunnel is known as the encryption tunnel.
This change of IP is also very effective in keeping us safe over the internet. The internet is a dangerous place. With hackers, malware attacks, and identity theft cases on the rise, we need to be careful over the internet. A VPN significantly renders our data safe on the internet.
A Few Tips on Using Your First VPN
There are a few things you can keep note of if you’re about to use a VPN for the first time.
As we discussed, VPN providers have servers used to route our traffic. But the problem is, sometimes the number of servers in a certain area is less while the users wanting to connect to those servers is more. This may cause certain servers to be overloaded. In such cases, you can try to change servers, and be persistent. One of them will work.
You can also try and access the same server at a different time. More often than not, you’ll find a server that’s now clear of the traffic bottleneck. About the cost and services, almost all major VPN providers have free trial periods before you subscribe.
Wrapping It Up
For those looking for newer shows to binge because you’ve seen the old ones too many times, you should get a VPN. You can keep changing Netflix region and access specific, niche titles. Or even the most common ones that got banned in your country because of censorship laws.