Watching US Netflix with a UK account is a piece of cake, but what if you want to watch it on your non-smart TV?
If you don’t have a smart TV with a Netflix app installed then the best method is to pick up a Chromecast for about £30 and grab your phone or tablet.
As Chromecast currently only works with iOS and Android mobile devices and the Chrome browser, that’s all we’re going to focus on for now. While some of the solutions require payment, there’s a workaround available using US DNS codes that can see you hop over the fence for free.
We’ll update this should any neat workarounds or support for other platforms like Windows Phone or BlackBerry emerge.
Hit the links below to jump to the section that’s relevant to you and check out our video.
Hola is a free VPN (Virtual Private Network) service that lets you pose as a US customer.
With a Chrome extension, you can easily watch US Netflix in your browser. Installing the extension and clicking on the little flame icon will see you able to pick from a list of flags – click the good ‘ol Stars ‘n Stripes and as far as Netflix is concerned you’re an American citizen.
You can download this extension here.
As well as Hola, you’ll also need Google’s Cast Extension installed. This lets you cast tabs in your browser to your TV via Chromecast. You can download it here.
Once this is installed, you’ll see the little Cast icon – a TV set with a wireless signal in the bottom left corner – appear next to the Hola icon.
If you’ve set your Chromecast up properly and you’re watching Netflix on the same network, your Chromecast should be detected automatically.
If you’ve done everything correctly, the top right of a fresh Chrome window should look like this:
When that’s all set up, do the following:
1) Change your location to US
Click the Hola icon and pick the US flag from the list of options. If it works, the friendly flame should switch to the American colours.
2) Sign in to Netflix, find the stuff you want
Sign into Netflix as normal, find the movie or episode you want to watch and start watching.
3) Click the Cast icon. There’s two of them.
To make things dead simple, there’s two Google Cast icons to click on, one up top next to the Hola icon, and one on the progress bar, next to where you’d normally toggle subtitles and enable fullscreen mode.
If it works you should see this message appear:
Netflix should now be streaming on your TV. If it’s not, check the signal strength of your router and switch to a lower-quality stream – see our Chromecast Tips and Tricks feature for more information.
The easiest way to access US Netflix from the UK on Android phones is to use the Hola Free VPN app.
This is free to download from Google Play right now and there’s no obligation to sign up for the premium service.
Once you’ve done this, set up your Chromecast, if you’ve not done that already. Connect to WiFi on your Android device, plant yourself in front of the TV and open the Hola app.
You should be taken to the Apps section of the Hola app straight away. Once you’re there you should see Netflix at the top of the ‘popular in the UK’ list. Tap ‘Open’ on Netflix.
Netflix will open as normal. If this has worked successfully, you should see a little ‘Using from US’ message popping up on the screen.
You can then scroll down through the list of titles like normal, search by genre or by keyword. When you’ve found what you want to watch, open it up and tap the Cast icon at the top of the screen.
It should work on Chromecast just as if you were watching UK Netflix.
In our experience, it’s a little choppy – quality varies a lot. Sometimes it can take minutes before a programme starts streaming and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Be patient with it – if Netflix isn’t streaming try again later. In our experience, force killing the app or reconnecting to the WiFi sometimes helped.
There’s a handful of good VPN services available on the App Store but unfortunately for any tightwads out there, none of them are free. You might get a few days or a few hundred megabytes worth of streaming time, but in the end you’ll need to cough up.
Tunnel Bear and GoVPN both give you 500MB a month for nothing to play with, which won’t really give you much of a window – Netflix says that an hour of viewing standard definition video eats up about 1GB, so you might get through one episode of Archer or Family Guy before you need to cough up.
When you download a VPN app, you’ll be prompted to turn on the VPN settings on your iOS device. This is a simple case of following the on-screen prompts.
You can find the VPN menu under Settings > VPN and toggle this as you need to – most VPN apps will kick in on demand once you’ve connected to the service.
Once you’re connected, it’s easy to specify which country you want to appear to be accessing Netflix from. In Tunnel Bear’s case it makes it a little fun with a colourful world map and amusing ursine animations.
When this is done, fire up Netflix like normal. Make sure you’re connected to the same WiFi network your Chromecast is using.
If you’re having problems connecting to Chromecast, you should be mindful that the iOS Netflix app has trouble spotting Chromecasts that have special characters, like apostrophes. If you’ve called it something like ‘Dave’s Chromecast’ you might want to give it a new handle.
We had to rename ‘Recombu’s Chromecast’ to ‘Recombucast’ for this very reason. As soon as we’d given it the new apostrophe-free name, our iPhone found the Chromecast as if it’d been there all along…
Once you’re connected, sinmply search for content on Netflix as normal, look for the Google Cast icon and tap it to toggle between your iOS device and your Chromecast.
Right now the only way to get US Netflix on your TV via an iOS device for free is to head into the settings and change DNS codes.
Please note that this isn’t a sure-fire works-every-time method. This will require a certain amount of trial and error as well as patience.
We’ve explained how to hop over the geolocation fence in our guide here, so for more information on tweaking DNS settings, you might want to open this in a separate tab for your reference.
Before we begin, it should be noted that there is no way of verifying the safety of any DNS numbers you might find online. If you choose to follow the method below you do so at your own risk. We can’t be held responsible and the same applies for any other site that posts DNS codes.
If you have some way of getting codes from someone you trust, then by all means use those. You should only do this if you’re sure you’re safe.
With that in mind, here’s how you can get US Netflix on your TV using Chromecast and an iOS device.
1) Set up Chromecast
You’ll need to have Chromecast and your iOS device connected to the same WiFi network for this to work.
2) Keep a note of your current DNS settings
Head to Settings > WiFi and tap on your current WiFi network. You should see things like IP Address and Subnet Mask listed below. What you want to change is the DNS settings.
Take a screengrab or jot down your current DNS digits. What you’re essentially doing is trying to trick Netflix into thinking you’re accessing it from the US.
If you’re successful in doing this, that’s awesome, well done. But when you’re done watching new episodes of Archer and you want to use services like BBC iPlayer (which is geolocked to the UK) then you’ll need to switch back to using your old codes.
In any case, it’s a good idea to turn your iPhone or iPad off and back on again, to see if the DNS codes have stuck. If you ‘forget’ your home network and reconnect to it, all of the regular DNS settings should be restored. If they’re not, well, that’s why you should take notes.
3) Find US DNS codes and replace your current ones
This is the tricky part. Finding DNS codes vis Google is easy. Finding ones that work is hard.
The first thing to do is familiarise yourself with the settings page above. You’re going to be seeing a lot of it.
Find some US DNS codes online. There are a number of sites set up which host these but as we said before, there’s no guarantee that any of them are safe to use, or will work.
Assuming you’re sure that the codes you’ve obtained are safe (or you simply don’t care) what you do is replace the current DNS settings on your iOS device’s screen.
Once that’s done, turn your device off and then back on again. This will test out whether or not your device has stored the new DNS codes you’ve just fed it. If that’s worked, open up the Netflix app.
You should be greeted with a long list of titles that you otherwise, as a subject of the United Kingdom, wouldn’t see.
If you’re not seeing that – or titles are failing to load or stream – then you’ll need to try some different codes.
4) Tap the Cast icon to watch on TV
Once you’ve successfully got US Netflix working on your phone, simply find what you want to watch and tap the Google Cast icon to have it magically appear on your TV screen.
How to get US Netflix in the UK on Chromecast: Tips and Tricks
If something’s not working, it’s a good idea to force kill and restart any apps like Netflix that aren’t working.
Check the signal strength of your router if you’re having problems streaming content to your TV. Chromecasts are single-band WiFi devices and communicate over the 2.4GHz band which can get congested. Any devices using WiFi that can be turned off or moved over to the 5GHz band should help clear things up.