Have you tried your free trial of Netflix here in Canada yet? If so, you’ve probably been underwhelmed by the variety. Everyone I talk to is under-impressed with the service north of the 49th parallel. Here’s how to make it better
/READ MORE// Netflix is on F***ing Fire
On the contrary, there is a lot of good content on Netflix, but most of the great stuff is limited in Canada due to CRTC regulations and the agreements with the distributors controlling what we can and can’t watch on the on-demand service. I’ve found an idiot-proof way to get US Netflix in your home, without having to make a new account or complicating your experience on PS3, Apple TV, or whatever Internet connected device you’re using. If you’re exploring your trial of Netflix now, it’s perfect timing to see everything available at your fingertips with this free trial of an internet routing service that gives you a US address.
Don’t be worried. You won’t break anything. Trust me. I’ve broken the Internet before – it really can be a series of tubes sometimes… like I mentioned, this is idiot-proof. Hit me in the comments with any questions you might come across during this process.
The service I recommend checking out is called Unblock Us and they claim to be a “smarter, faster VPN.” That’s all well and good, but what we really want is a DNS server masking the traffic coming from your home to look like it is indeed coming from the USA. If anything I said just confused you, don’t worry, here’s the play-by-play on how to get it done. Ions or its parent company, Human Element has no relation to the following site; this is not a paid advertisement. I’m just sharing this awesome service with you pro bono.
STEP 1: VISIT THE UNBLOCK US WEBSITE
Although it’s not free, the extra $4.99 a month is very little compared to the extra content you have access to on your most convenient devices. You can try it for 7 days for free, no credit card required. After setting this up, my girlfriend thought I was quite the champ. You can be too. Here’s how.
Enter your email address on the home page and click “Start Trial”
STEP 2: UPDATE YOUR ROUTER SETTINGS
You can either update the DNS server setting on every single one of your devices, which is good if you’re on the road with your iPad and want to watch US Netflix outside of your home. But generally, I recommend updated one spot: your router. It’s what everything else is connecting to, and will funnel your traffic properly for all your current and soon-to-be web-enabled devices.
Me? I use a Netgear N750 Wireless Router. I’ve used quite a few of the consumer models from Linksys (pre and post Cisco) as well as D-Link’s offerings in the past, but I find this puppy from Netgear works harder than the rest. I have never had an issue with my wireless connection (that the router was responsible for – don’t get me started on my ISP…) and the configuration process is very similar for other brands, so follow along as I show you how to set up a Netgear router. This will look familiar on almost all other models.
Open your router administration page. It’s as easy as going to http://192.168.1.1/ and if you haven’t changed your router log-in credentials, then the username is “admin” and the password is “password” by default. It’s recommended to change these for security reasons. You can do that from the admin portal after we get you on the road to US Netflix in a few more steps.
Make sure you’re on the “BASIC” tab (top left) and click on “Internet” (left-hand column).
From here, a simple scroll down will take you to the “Domain Name Server (DNS) Address.” This is the holy grail right here – all we need to do is change settings from “Get Automatically from ISP” to “Use These DNS Servers.”
In “Primary DNS,” enter the following:
Under “Secondary DNS,” enter:
Click “Apply” and you’re good to go.
Trying to explain what a DNS server is, I liken it to a digital postal code; it tells the internet sites that you visit that you’re coming from whatever location you specify, and with Unblock Us, although based in Thornhill, ON, you’re traffic will appear like it’s stateside.
Go back to http://www.unblock-us.com/
You’ll notice at the top-right of the page that you’re logged in with the email address you entered earlier.
Click “Check Service” to make sure your computer is set-up properly. If it is, you’ll see the above “This device is setup correctly. It is using our DNS.”
STEP 3: ENJOY
Guess what? You’re done.
If you use your PS3 to watch Netflix currently, log-in as you always do. And lo and behold. US Netflix. Go to http://netflix.com and log-in on the same computer too. Same thing – the land of the free and the home of the brave FTW.
The good people here at Ions are working on a “Best of Netflix” listing that’ll be out just in time for the holidays, so you can curl up to your favourite cable-cutting device and enjoy hours of great movies, shows, and docs. Stay tuned, and if you have any recommendations, email me.