This post is part of 30 Ways in 30 days to Redesign Your Life and Travel the World. This series seeks to give you the practical, real world steps you need to take to get from wherever you are, to exactly where you want to be– traveling the world and living the lifestyle you want.
I like The Office. Or The Daily Show. Or the BBC’s The IT Crowd. Sometimes when I’m tired and I’ll go back to the hostel, curl up with my laptop and just veg out. Now before you get all travel self righteous on me, let me tell you a little secret. I don’t care. I haven’t owned a TV in years. I read at least 3 books a week. When I travel, I’m out and about most of the day, very far away from a TV or any other kind of passive entertainment. But if I want to watch a little good old fashion tee vee, I’m going to do it. Oh and you can too.
(Disclaimer: this post is for information purposes only. I’m not suggesting anyone break any copyright laws or download anything illegally.)
Assumption: you have a laptop and an internet connection.
- NBC: hulu.com (hulu also has programming from many other channels plus free movies)
- ABC: abc.com
- CBS: cbs.com
- PBS: pbs.org
- Comedy Central: comedycentral.com
- Pay per show: Netflix.com
- Pay/download: Amazon.com
Depending on the site, you may be blocked from accessing programing because of your location if it’s outside the US. How do they know where you are? When you connect to the internet you are assigned an IP address, which is just a series of numbers. These numbers are issued by location so it’s easy for a website programmer to write code to block people from certain countries.
How to get around blocked sites
You need to hide your location and make it look like you’re in the US. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a VPN, which connects you to a third party server and they connect to your destination website, making it look like you’re coming from where ever that server is, not your actual location. There are sites that do this for free. Hotspot Shield is a good example. But, websites like hulu.com have gotten smart to this and have blocked people with IPs from Hotspot shield too. Other methods are TOR, which is a free download or Hidemynet.com which costs $5 per month. Since the technology changes so often, an easy search online can tell you the latest methods. “How to watch hulu overseas” should give you lots of results. (Tip: look at the date of the post, then read the latest comments. What worked six months ago might not work now.)
People are constantly uploading the latest episodes to sites like Youtube.com but these days they tend to get pulled fast than you can even watch them. Project Free TV and Sidereel are two sites that collect the uploads from various sites and just post the links. You can find everything from movies to HBO series to last night’s Glee.
So far we’ve talked about streaming, which means that it downloads as you watch, so you shouldn’t have a significant wait to start watching. If your internet is very slow, or you want to watch it later offline (like on a plane or bus) then downloading the full program first as a torrent is the way to go. The way torrents work is that many people have a copy of the file and you download a little from each person. There is software that handles this: vuze.com. To find the torrent file, sites like thepiratebay.com, demonoid.com and limewire.com have lots of listings.
Pay and watch
You can always get copies of movies locally, where ever you are. They are often cam versions of movies with subtitles. Oh and expect a 6 month to 1 year delay from US release to availability.
Now you tell: what methods work for you to watch tv/movies online overseas?