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2016 has, unexpectedly, turned into a year of options in the Martin household.  Entertainment options!

About a month ago, Aaron wrote an article about how Netflix was launching in the Philippines.  At first, we didn’t think much about it, and didn’t even consider signing up.  Well, they did launch in the Philippines, I believe it happened on January 7, as I recall.  After hearing about it from a lot of people, after only a few days we decided to give it a try.  We were fairly worried about bandwidth, and whether our connection was fast enough to support streaming of HD video or not.  Well, as Aaron also write a while back, we recently upgraded to a much better Internet connection.  Through SkyCable we are now getting a 15 Mbps Internet speed, so we thought we would give Netflix a try.

49 Ways to Make a Living in the Philippines

Netflix was offering customers in the Philippines a free one month trial, so there was really nothing to lose in trying. When I signed up for Netflix, it was instantly available, no problems.  We were actually surprised that we had no trouble streaming the movies and shows, even on 3 or 4 computers at a time!  Our internet speed was plenty good enough!  Made us happy.

Netflix in the Philippines

Netflix in the Philippines

For the first few days of sampling Netflix, we were all excited and happy to be getting such a huge number of shows!  After a week or so, the level of excitement tempered a bit, though.  It was nice to have access to shows that we had never seen before, but we starting finding the amount of content available on Netflix to be pretty limited.  After doing a little research on the topic, I found that Netflix Philippines offers about 700 different titles for streaming.  On the other hand, Netflix in the USA has more than 15,000 titles to watch.. and at roughly the same price that we pay in the Philippines.  That is disappointing.

After looking into this a bit, and seeing listings of what content was available in the USA, my “figure a way around this” instinct started kicking in.  I knew that lots of people watch US Netflix in the Philippines, and they do it through a VPN account (a VPN is a virtual private network – you are using a server in the USA or elsewhere to run all of your internet traffic through, and making it look to others like you are in the country where the server is).  I really did not want to get a VPN account, though.  Reason?  Well, with a traditional VPN account you are basically running all of your internet traffic through the VPN, and it tends to really slow things down.  I did not want that.  Another option is that if you want to watch a movie or something, you can turn on the VPN, then turn it off when you are done watching.  There are many different options, but they all presented some level of hassle, which I didn’t feel like dealing with.

Unblock-USIt didn’t take long, I found out about something relatively new called “Smart DNS”.  Basically, when you use a Smart DNS provider, everything is just automatic, if you are going to an Entertainment provider site like Netflix, the Smart DNS shows your US IP address.  If you are doing other things on the Internet, things just keep working, DNS wise, as they always have.  I found a company called Unblock-US that seemed to really fit my needs on this!  They have a one week trial account that is free, and when I tried it, I was impressed!

As soon as I took 30 seconds to make the simple changes to my DNS settings for my home network, I wen to the Netflix site, and Wow!  It had a ton more content!  Thousands and thousands of movies and shows that I was simply salivating over!  I told Feyma and the kids that there was a lot of new content available on Netflix, and we all found new shows that we wanted to watch!

Another great thing – if you use Unblock-US, you can also watch lots of other entertainment programming from the USA. Stations like Hulu and others are also available without a problem!  This opens up a whole new world of entertainment for expats living in the Philippines, or really anywhere in the world!

In addition to using Unblock-USwe are also doing other things that enhance our entertainment options in the Philippines.  I will be writing more about these things in coming weeks.  Thinks like my new Plex Media Server and many other things.  It’s an exciting time to be an expat, entertainment-wise.  So many things available. Another cool little toy that I recently acquired is a Chromecast unit for my TV.

Anyway, Unblock-US? Highly, highly recommended!

Posted in

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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OpaoPhil
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OpaoPhil

Wow, another great article Bob! I’m grateful that you posted the link to unblock us hehe. It doesn’t look costly either!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi OpaoPhil – Thanks, glad you enjoyed the article.

$5 per month for Unblock-Us is a super bargain! It is totally seamless and invisible.. you forget that you are even using it.. that is a sign of something that it totally hassle free! Very easy to set up too, they give you the full instructions!

Tom N
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Tom N

You might also want to look at other programs. If you are in the U.S., Hola allows you to do the same thing, but for different countries. Canada, Australia, U.K., Japan, etc. have all sorts of Netflix content that we do not.

MindanaoBob
Guest

That is truly interesting info, Tom! I thought the the US would have every bit of content that Netflix had access to! Makes sense, though, that other countries have license restrictions, just like US content producers do. 🙂

Thanks for sharing.

MindanaoBob
Guest

I was just checking out that Hola service, Tom. Pretty darn cool, and free too! Wow.

AJ UK
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AJ UK

Hi Bob Before people decide what is best for them they might want to read this write up. It helps you decide whether VPN or DNS is best for your needs. Quite a good article. It will all depend on what you may wish to do and the level of security you may require. http://www.bestsmartdns.net/#what-is-better-smartdns-or-vpn I’m going to try DNS tonight to see whether I can access certain TV channels in the UK. It took a while to find a VPN service which gave me what I wanted due to clever people at Sky TV. I will be interested to… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi AJ, yes, of course, everybody should go with what works best for them. In my case, hands down, that is SmartDNS, with Unblock-US.

Rusty Bowers
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Rusty Bowers

When you say “shows” do you mean shows on ESPN (sports center), ABC, etc?

Rusty

MindanaoBob
Guest

Exactly, Rusty. I am watching a CBS show with my wife as I type this comment.

Rusty Bowers
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Rusty Bowers

Wow, You can only get that TV service with fast internet, right?

I wish we had fast internet speeds. We are lucky to have 1.5 MBPS and some days 3MBPS. It is fast enough to send and receive emails, Facebook, and research. The basics.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hulu’s requirements page says that a 1.5 Mbps connection is adequate.

Rusty Bowers
Guest
Rusty Bowers

Does it require a smart TV? It must, right?

MindanaoBob
Guest

No Smart TV is needed. There are at least two ways that you can do it with a regular TV I will be writing more about this topic over the next couple of weeks.

One of the other ways to do it is with a Chromecast. The other way to do it is by connecting the monitor output from a computer to the video input of the TV. I use both of these methods.

As I say, I will be writing more soon.

Rusty Bowers
Guest
Rusty Bowers

Thanks, Bob. I’ll wait for your articles.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Yep, several more articles on this topic coming! Stay tuned!

Gary Dadds
Guest
Gary Dadds

Some of these get arounds can be short lived. Many broardcasters are gradually blocking the VPNs. SmartDNS is no longer smart enough to beat the BBC’s detection system apparently.

MindanaoBob
Guest

I think most VPNs and SmartDNS work for the long term, in my experience anyway. While I understand that for some it is important.. I am not looking for BBC programming, but I have indeed heard that the BBC is very staunch in going after this sort of thing.

Tito Joe
Guest
Tito Joe

Ditto on the folks that commented about slow internet in the Philippines. While some areas have some decent connections, sadly where we visit and live it is slow slow slow. What we do however is load up the tablet BEFORE we leave the states, with AMAZON prime downloads and we don’t have to stream anything while in country. I used to have Netflix but soon got tired of it. I am not much a TV guy, so Prime suites me just fine for when I need to get a fix of electronic bubblegum. Glad to hear the Philippines has at… Read more »

Marrett
Guest
Marrett

Netflix recently starting blocking VPN and DNS hacks including “Unblock -US”.
http://thenextweb.com/apps/2016/02/29/netflix-users-cry-out-as-it-aggressively-blocks-hacks-that-give-access-to-us-library/#gref

Has these been the case with your experience with Netfix in Davao ?

MindanaoBob
Guest

Just started today! Hopefully Unblock-US will get this fixed soon.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Netflix’s cracked down on VPN/Proxies subscribers. But still there are some VPNs working fine, I am using Hide My IP, its DNS Protection blocks Netflix from seeing your real IP.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Yes they have cracked down. As I said in the article, I am not using VPN though, I usè a SmartDNS service.

Joyce
Guest
Joyce

Great information. I wish I’ve known this Unblock-US earlier. My husband miss watching football and I miss watching the live NBA telecast and some of my favorite (exclusive only on) Hulu shows. But it’s not too late though.
So it’s worth a try!
Thanks Bob. 🙂

Bob Martin
Guest

You are welcome!

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