UnblockUs is a monthly subscription DNS based solution for unblocking certain services such as Netflix, Hulu and various social media sites. UnblockUs works around the world even if you are outside of the USA or UK! This means that you can go on vacation to France and still access your BBC iPlayer or Netflix!
UnblockUs has a brilliant history spanning fifteen years in software development. Research In Motion and Oracle are just two of the several cutting edge technology corporations that the developers have worked at.
Getting Started With UnblockUs
The setup takes literally just two minutes; You simply change the DNS server in the network configuration and it just works. That’s all there is to it.
I was slightly confused by the simplicity of the service, I’ll admit that I emailed customer support and asked them if that was all there was to it, a few minutes later and I had a very pleasant and polite response telling me that was indeed all there was to it and to ask them if I had any further questions. I couldn’t believe just how simple it was; No registrations, no usernames, no passwords, no port forwarding on my firewall, nothing. Simply changing a string of numbers and it works. It is amazing to think that region locking can be bypassed so simply.
UnblockUs & The Apple TV
The dilemma: I am currently in the UK, but I miss my Netflix! Netflix instant streaming is currently only available to people within the USA, so when you’re over in the UK, you can’t access it because it recognises that you have a British IP address.
As some of you will already know, the Apple TV does not have the same core functionality as the iPad and iPhone even though they both run iOS. Other iOS devices allow you to add a VPN in Settings, but the Apple TV doesn’t allow you to do this. This is for the very reason of stopping people using Netflix due to licensing restrictions, plus the Apple TV is a media consumption device, so there’s really no necessity for an encrypted connection.
There are hardware solutions available to get past the IP lock which can be somewhat expensive. The majority of commercial hardware solutions are limited as you need to actually have a high-speed VPN to begin with which can also be expensive when running bandwidth intensive software such as Netflix. The majority of the hardware solutions actually put all of the traffic on your network through the VPN which can really bog down your VPN speed and generally use up the bandwidth on your VPN with things other than Netflix.
Using a VPN decreases your download speed significantly which means your streaming video quality is decreased hugely, but utilising alternate DNS servers doesn’t affect your speed which thus means the video quality is solely dependent upon the downstream speed of your internet connection. For example: Using a VPN on my iPad or iPhone gives significantly lower quality video than if I was viewing through the UnblockUs alternate DNS.
There are also open source software solutions available such as custom firmware for certain models of modem, but these can prove to be buggy and complex for the average consumer to configure.
Make no mistake, this is not a VPN solution or a replacement for a VPN as the data is unencrypted, but this is a very specific service; This is for those of you who want a transparent solution with no slowdown when attempting to view sites that are locked to IP addresses within certain countries.
UnblockUs Within The USA
Many VPN and DNS services only offer servers based within the USA, but UnblockUs allows you to access things such as the BBC iPlayer whilst within the USA. UnblockUs allows you to get past those annoying ‘this video is not available in your country’ notifications on YouTube which are something that spoils YouTube for most people in the UK.
UnblockUs also allows you to view social networks that may be blocked in your place of work which means you can poke your colleague back before he gets home from work and win that poke war once and for all.
As with all good services, they take PayPal as well as VISA and MasterCard. UnblockUs is available for C$4.99 per month, but is available for testing as a seven-day trial so you can see how flawlessly UnblockUs works on your devices, you too can test it by clicking here.