Update June 25, 2009: Hulu is now blocking all proxies, so the following information is now out of date.
In order to enjoy the benefits of Hulu, the free website that offers commercial-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, Fox and other networks and studios, your computer must be located, or appear to be located, in the United States.
But why do you have to live in the U.S. in order to enjoy the benefits of Hulu? At least in Canada, where I live, it all comes down to licensing issues with Canada’s major television networks.
There’s not much point in ranting and raving about the fact that the Canadian government supports a non-competitive environment that restricts MY free choice. I’m curious though, as to how a government can support a “dead” business model, still being pushed on Canadian consumers by mainstream media corporations.
I finally got fed up with messages such as this, “We’re sorry, but the video you selected isn’t available from your location”, when attempting to watch a video offered by Hulu and other similar sites, and went on an Internet hunt to find a tech solution to this aggravating problem.
Surprisingly it took only minutes to find a free solution offered by AnchorFree, the developers of Hotspot Shield, an application whose main purpose is to protect your security, privacy and anonymity while surfing the Internet by:
Securing your web session with HTTPS encryption
Hiding your IP address for your privacy online
Securing your connection at both your home Internet network and public Internet networks (both wired and wireless)
Allowing you to access all content privately without censorship
Protecting you from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices and ISP hubs
According to the developers “Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone, and our Internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers, ISP’s, from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network”.
Now for the good news: If you are in a country that restricts your access to Hulu, not only does Hotspot Shield perform all of the functions listed earlier, but most importantly, for accessing Hulu, it makes your computer appear to be located in the United States.
Hotspot Shield isn’t something you’d want to leave running all the time, since this is an ad supported application and it puts banner ads on every web page that you view, but as a Hulu access solution, it works well and is easily turned on/off via the system tray icon.
Incidentally, Hotspot Shield was named as one of the best free applications of 2008 by PC Magazine.
I have heard good news about a similar application UltraSurf – a program developed to bypass the Great Firewall of China, but to this point I haven’t had a chance to test drive this one.
Some forum comments on Hotspot Shield:
Works good, greetings from Mexico City
Works perfectly in Tokyo, Japan on Mac OS X Leopard. And fast!
Tip – to everyone outside the states watching Hulu through Hotspot shield, connect to Hotspot, start watching the movie, and then disconnect, it should work just fine.
One caveat: I don’t have the ability to test this application in all countries so it may be, that it may not work in all locations.
I have to tell you though, I’m having a terrific time watching Hi-Def movies, videos and TV shows on a 22 inch wide screen monitor – finally!
System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS X (10.5 Leopard), (10.4 Tiger)
Download at: Anchorfree