Netflix is great and everything, but in case you ever got the feeling that our American cousins are getting a better deal, you’d be right.
While we do get great shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, if you’re a Netflix punter in the States, you get a boatload of other stuff too.
There aren’t enough hours in the day to list all of the titles you don’t get here in the UK. There simply is a bigger and broader selection available to US Netflix subscribers.
The good news is that there’s a quick an easy way for us tea-sucking limeys to enjoy what our septic cousins in the US of A do, and for no extra cost.
All you need to do is watch our video and check out the guide below – by the end of it, you’ll be all set up to start watching Anchorman 2 on your laptop.
How to get US Netflix in the UK: What do I need?
- A Netflix account (duh)
- A VPN or geolocation masking service
- US Netflix DNS codes
Obviously, you’ll need a Netflix account to get going on this. If you’re after a way to watch US Netflix without having to pay for it… this isn’t the place for you. Sorry.
Provided you’re a fee-paying customer the next thing you’ll need is a VPN (Virtual Private Network), or some way to fox Netflix into thinking you’re an American citizen. Brushing your teeth and adopting a trans-Atlantic drawl won’t work; this requires more sophisitcated subterfuge.
VPNs can be used for a number of things, but in this context, they can be used to fool Netflix into thinking you’re connecting to its service from the US instead of the UK.
They’re easy to set up and come in all shapes and sizes. Some are free to use, some require a small subscription. We’ll start with one the easiest ones out there – Hola – before examining some of the more complicated methods.
How can I get Netflix’s 4K Ultra HD content? Everything you need to know is in our guide. Hola is dead easy to use. Head over to Hola.org now on your browser and follow the on screen instructions.
When you’ve got Hola installed, you’ll be able to click on a series of flags depending on which nationality you want to masquerade as. The Stars and Stripes is normally pretty high up on the list, but if it’s not there simply cycle through until you find it.
Click on the flag and then head over to the Netflix sign in page as normal. If all’s gone well, then the usual £5.99/month price should be replaced with $7.99/month instead.
If this isn’t working, give it another try. You may have to clear your browser’s cache to get this working.
If you’re watching Netflix on your desktop, you can install Hola on Chrome, Firefox and IE on Windows and Mac. In situations where you can’t get Hola on a Windows browser for whatever reason, you can install a Hola program on your desktop instead.
There’s even an Android app that lets you watch titles on your phone or tablet, and watch content on your TV via Chromecast.
In our experience, it’s a lot easier to watch US Netflix via Hola on desktops than on phones and tablets.
Despite testing this out on our office, where we’ve got a 100Mbps symmetrical connection, we found that watching US content on mobile was variable. And that’s when we could actually get it to work.
You might want to think twice about casting US Netflix to your TV via Chromecast as well – in our experience this worked about 50 per cent of the time and when it did video quality wasn’t great.
While Hola is easy to use, one of the drawbacks is that the free version is really slow. As it’s a peer to peer network, part of your computer’s processing power will be used to help run the service.
If you pay $5/month (£3.20) for Hola Premium, you get faster access. Your machine will never be a peer, which means you can stream Netflix at speeds you’re accustomed to. If you’ve got sufficient bandwidth, you’ll be able to get any 4K content that might initially only launch in the US.
You can also earn free access to Hola Premium by recommending it to friends.
Another option is Unblock-Us. This is a little more complicated as it requires you to reconfigure a couple of things on your computer. You’ll also have to pay $4.99/month for Unblock-US, the same as Hola Premium.
The advantage Unblock-Us has over is that it’s works on a wider range of platforms including Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation 4 and 3, Xbox One and 360, Wii and Wii U, iOS, Android, as well as LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic smart TVs.
In order to get it to work you’ll need to head into the network settings of your device and tinker with DNS server addresses.
If this is unfamiliar to you, relax. The Unblock-Us site features numerous guides that tell you how to get going on every supported system.
DNS spoofing: Get some US Netflix DNS codes
A third option that’s available to you is to do what Hola and Unblock-Us do yourself.
Heading into network settings of your device means that you can manually enter American DNS codes yourself. This has the same effect that the above two methods do – it fools Netflix into thinking you’re accessing it from the USA.
The advantage of this is, if it works, you don’t have to pay anyone. You can change DNS settings on virtually anything. Your Xbox, PC, PlayStation 4, Mac, Apple TV can all be tweaked to access US Netflix.
The disadvantage is that DNS codes change frequently, which means if you want to carry on accessing US Netflix, you’ll need to keep an eye on which codes are currently working. Worse still, doing this isn’t strictly safe – hackers can set up DNS codes to act as honeypots to trap the unwary. If you’re not keen on doing this, it’s best to stick to one of the above options.
You can find several lists of current DNS codes for the States via Google.
Once you’re armed with a fresh set of codes, what you’ll normally need to do is head into the network settings of your PC, laptop or games console. Once there, you enter the codes into the window for IPv4 DNS server addresses. We’ll explain exactly how to do that in separate features later.
This method requires a bit of trial and error to pull off, so if you’ve got time to kill or the patience of a saint go ahead. If not, you might find it easier to use one of the methods described above.
Likewise, if you’re not confident with your IT skills and you don’t want to faff around with settings for fear of irreversibly screwing something up it’s perhaps best not to do this.
PRO TIP: Turn off firewalls. If you’ve got a firewall set up, it might prevent things like Hola from working properly.
Naturally, there’s a security risk associated with turning off firewalls. If you’re not happy with that, you can try clearing your browser’s cache, including cookies. If you’re having problems running Hola or Unblock-Us, this might help.
Failing that, the old IT Crowd trick of uninstalling and re-installing can also help if things aren’t working as they should.