Will the geo-blocking war ever be won?


There's always a workaround in the cat and mouse game to watch US services such as Netflix and Hulu.

This week sees my 700th post for Gadgets on the Go, racked up over the past five years. While much has changed in that time, one thing that remains consistent is the desire of Australians to enjoy online content which people in the US take for granted. Access to the wealth of content on the likes of Netflix and Hulu is considered the holy grail for some. The truth is that they're not really that difficult to reach from Australia.

To be fair, local offerings from the likes of Quickflix are improving, but they've still got a long way to go to match what you can get from the US. Anybody who has tried knows that it's not actually that hard to bypass the great content wall of America. With a little know-how, a little research and perhaps a few dollars, you can tap into a wide range of supposedly US-only services. Even the requirement for a US credit card isn't an insurmountable challenge.

The hardest thing about breaching the great content wall of America is the initial set up -- finding a solution that looks good, works reliably and is relatively easy to engage when you need it. You'll need to do your research and investigate your options -- which will vary depending on what you want to watch, how you want to watch it and how much you want to spend for the privilege. The speed and reliability of your connection to the US can be an important factor when it comes to picture quality.

The next challenge is keeping up with the cat and mouse game between content providers and those who offer the tools to bypass geo-blocking restrictions. Unfortunately their solutions are not set n' forget, because content providers keep blocking services and closing loopholes. There's always a workaround, but it's a hassle for those people looking for a solution which "just works".

This complexity is perhaps the most effective deterrent that content providers can put in place. They don't actually need to win the geo-blocking war, they just need to make the process difficult enough that your average person won't bother. The new generation of DNS-based geo-blocking workarounds make the process a little easier, but they're not foolproof and many people will still put geo-dodging in the too hard basket.

How hard is it to bypass the great content wall of America? Do you think content providers can ever win the geo-blocking war?

This story Will the geo-blocking war ever be won? first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.