Saturday

Proxies and Watching Hulu from Canada

Well I'd never heard about it before, but apparently Hulu is the most watched Video site on the Internet behind only YouTube. Well I don't know if that's true but I was asked by a friend who's spending a year in Canada if that strange security proxy program I use could help him watch this site. He had previously been using something called Hotspot shield but that didn't work any more.

Well first of all before Operation Hulu Canada started, I had to do a little checking, Hulu is actually great and has lots of the best American series, including the Simpsons and family guy. However there is also lots of information on the internet about how it is completely inaccessible outside the USA, and that includes using anonymous proxies to block your IP address.

hulu outside USA

Indeed if you do try and watch Hulu from anywhere outside the US then this is the message you'll receive.

Hulu Canada - First Attempt



Well I wasn't sure this was going to work, but usually just using Identity Cloaker and selecting one of their proxies in the correct location allows you to view 99% of Geo-Restricted content, indeed works like a charm for watching BBC Iplayer but Hulu was rumoured to block this method.

So I changed my proxy to a US one and fired up Hulu again, looked a great series of programmes called Cities of the Underworld but when I tried to watch, I got a different message.

hulu streaming by proxy

Although I didn't get the country restricted message, using one of Identity Cloakers US Proxies didn't work either.

It looked like Hulus Flash Media Player bypassed the proxy settings for some reason, it is probably by design and this would stop 99% of proxies being used to access Hulu.

Watching Hulu from Canada - next try



Well using US Proxy didn't work, I checked under all the major browsers with similar results to above - the Hulu content wouldn't play. So the next logical method was by streaming through a VPN which is based in the USA. Fortunately Identity Cloaker comes bundled with a customised version of OpenVPN. From the Identity Cloaker console screen you can start up OpenVPN and select one of the US Proxy Servers to connect to, I chose an East Coast server for testing as I was in the UK at the time of testing.

Important - You'll notice that there are lots of servers you can connect to (new servers get added all the time), but for watching Hulu and any video streaming it's best to use UDP (User datagram Protocol) rather than TCP. Don't worry it's quite simple, make sure you choose one of the MAC compatible servers (even if you're using a PC) to connect to as they all work in UDP, it's a much quicker protocol for streaming video than TCP - so you'll get better results.



Just sign in here with your Identity Cloaked account and then your entire connection is streamed via that server, and of course compressed and encrypted to make you completely anonymous as well.

This should make me look completely indistinguishable from a US Internet Surfer, so I dashed off to Hulu to try again. This time I thought I'd try and watch a new episode of Family Guy to test my connection. So I made sure my OpenVPN connection was working (you'll see two little computer icons in the task bar - green when connected)

This was the result of using Identity Cloakers Open VPN connections -
hulu success

As you can see it works, and it worked very well, Identity Cloakers US Servers seemed very quick and if you were trying to watch Hulu from Canada they would be even quicker. I generally get one little pause to buffer the video stream per episode but that will vary depending on your connection. Open VPN connections can sometimes be sensitive to upload speeds but I didn't get a problem with that at all.

I made a rather bad video - if you wanted to see the steps I took to enable my friend to watch Hulu from Canada, and me from anywhere !  The secret of course is to use a USA proxy - here's the video.



Well I hope you're able to view that video, it should demonstrate how easy it is to use, you don't have to set up complicated VPN options as the software does it for you, just click and login and watch Hulu wherever you are. Install on to your USB drive and you can watch it on any computer you happen to be using as well. Hotspot shield was the cheapest way to view Hulu but unfortunately that's now been blocked, mind you it was always painfully slow to use.

So that was it my mission to watch Hulu Canada was successful, oh and of course watching Hulu from anywhere outside the USA as long as you have a subscription to Identity Cloaker. Canadian or other French speaking viewers may also be interested in watching some of the content on French web sites, here's how you can access M6 Replay using the French proxy in Identity Cloaker.

Why not test is out ? It's simple to use, and for the price of a Starbucks coffee you can try the trial version of Identity Cloaker for 10 days - Trial of Identity Cloaker.

It can also be used to access Geo restricted stuff from all over the world, I can definitely recommend the BBC Iplayer which gives you access to BBC programmes through your browser.

If you try Identity Cloaker - ask for the new version IDC2, it's about to be released it allows you to watch Hulu without using the VPN mode so is much easier, it's also quicker than the original programme.

24 comments:

aou said...

Well.. if you are only after prime-time shows, such as House, 24, Grey's Anatomy, Corner Gas - they are already available on a websites of some canadian broadcasters like CBC, CTV and Global.

Here is the list of Hulu Alternatives in Canada

Welshgadgets said...

Thanks for that aou - I'll tell my friend.

Ironically I couldn't actually view it as I was outside Canada.

But fortunately Identity Cloaker has some Canadian servers as well, so I could connect that way.

VitaMik said...

Hey! I'm a soon to be Canadian college student. I'm living in the US and am therefore basking in the glory that is Comedy Central's website and all it's Jon Stewart/Stephen Colberty goodness. But in Canada, I can only watch the most recent episodes. I can't watch any old/classic clips from say, 2004, because Comedy Central blocks their videos for Canada. I'm wondering if there's anyway to get around the block? Could I use the same method you used here? Thank you!

Welshgadgets said...

Yep it should work fine - any VPN back to a US machine should work. If you have a friends or your own server left on to connect back to that is an option too (and of course free!)

Check the trial out first if you want to test it or drop me a line as I sometimes get some trial accounts.

VitaMik said...

Oh?! How does the VPN thing work?? Like how would I be able to use that server to connect back? Sorry, I'm not that good at computers/internet. I know basic HTML and some website coding but internets and proxies...totally lost. :(

Welshgadgets said...

The VPN is just a tunnel back to the machine in the US. You can either set your own up or use a paid one.

If you want to create your own VPN. Then you need a computer in the US switched on and connected to the net.
If it's a windows computer this is probably the simplest method

http://lifehacker.com/201786/geek-to-live--create-your-own-virtual-private-network-with-hamachi

Follow the instructions and connect back to the US computer - from that point everything will be directed down the VPN tunnel to the US computer and so you'll appear the same as a US surfer. Hulu should work down this tunnel as long as it has a fast enough network connection.

You can test the above method while your in the US if you want.

If you wanted to use Identity Cloaker it's just a matter of running a small program either installed on your computer or you can run from a usb stick.

You run the program and it shows you a list of proxy servers which you can connect to - pick a US one and all your traffic will be routed through that server. Of course this way costs because there are loads of servers that have to paid for every month!

I use the paid route because I can't be bothered with messing around with my home server and leaving it on. Also the upload speed in my area is very slow so watching things like Hulu are painful

Both ways work - but depends on your circumstances - if you want to do it for free you need that computer or server to connect back to.

Hope that helps.

DJ said...

Hulu is getting wise to the VPN tactics...
http://files.getdropbox.com/u/229713/hulu.jpg

Welshgadgets said...

Yep DJ this has been happening for quite a while and why Hotspot Shield got blocked originally. But all they are doing is blocking the VPN IP addresses.

Multiple US servers/IP addresses and a low profile works :)

If anyone gets this message with Identity cloaker - please let them know so they can rotate the IP addresses for the servers .

Welshgadgets said...

Update,

With the new servers in the US, you can now connect using two different protocols when using the VPN function.

If you want to watch any media such as Hulu, select any of the servers that say MAC compatible as they all work in UDP, this is much quicker than TCP.

You should find all the media sites work much quicker, otherwise all instructions above are the same.

Craig said...

I have been Beta testing the vpnwarp.net service for a few months with great success. They are new, and only have one US server at the moment, but have huge potencial. I'm currently paying $1 via paypal for 12 hours of service. It works excellent with any US only website, and they will be offering a Canadian VPN soon to allow downloading of torrents from the USA

Welshgadgets said...

I had a look at the VPNwarp service, to be honest it looks very expensive.

It's between 3 and 4 times as much as Identity Cloaker for only a single server whereas I get loads all over the world.

Their server doesn't even have a valid SSL certificate which means anyone could be running it.

The short term pass is a good idea, but I also don't like the way they are so keen on recurring subscriptions - I don't like people automatically charging my card !!

So sorry doesn't look good value to me although I haven't checked the speed etc.

Sebastian said...

Hi,

My only problem is that Im working on a MAC and identity cloaker currently is only available for PCs. Any recommendations???

Welshgadgets said...

Hi Sebastian,

Well they have a beta version of Identity Cloaker for the MAC . It just takes a few minutes to set up manually but works fine when set up.

If you want to try it out drop me a message using the contact link above and I'll send you the instructions and a free 10 day trial to test it out.

It's not difficult but it's not as automatic as the PC version at the moment.

I'm sure there are some other vpn solutions for the mac around as well - though be careful with costs as some charge a lot of money.

welsh

Sebastian said...

Welsh,

Please. It would be helpful to get the free trial and see how it works. Thanks mate....

Welshgadgets said...

Sure drop me a mail with somewhere I can send it - got a few free trials left I think.

Welshgadgets said...

Admin from Identity Cloaker just dropped me a line - the East Coast Proxy server in the US is down at the moment.

Unfortunately the datacenter for the US east coast server had too many complaints about P2P - basically copyright stuff - so that server has been closed.

Should have at least one new US server up very soon though to replace.

welshgadgets

Welshgadgets said...

Should add that the new US servers are up now and some more scheduled very soon.

Fastest ones from Europe seem to be the US4 ones.

Welshgadgets said...

Seems to be a couple more US servers added, think they're East coast ones.

Sandy said...

I have family in the US but live in HK. I could link back to their computer on the eat coast and then access Hulu?

Welshgadgets said...

Sandy,

Sorry for late reply - I really try and keep up with comments here but I fail usually!

In a word - YES, it's perfectly possibly but takes a bit of setting up and of course your friends need a decent internet connection and to leave their computer on.

Search online for Hamachi/LogMeIn as they are probably the easiest ways but there are lots of options.

Good luck,
WG

Welshgadgets said...

The new version of Identity Cloaker - works with Hulu without using the OpenVPN function - just fire it up, select a US server before you access the Hulu site.

It's worth upgrading if you haven't already as it's faster too.

Liontamer said...

Do you know if IdentityCloakers has servers in Israel - trying to watch some online TV shows that are blocked outside of Israel ! Thanks

Welshgadgets said...

Liontamer,

No I'm afraid Identity Cloaker don't have an Israeli server.
Your best bet is these guys, who definitely have one -
Overplay

WG

Welshgadgets said...

Oops forgot to say if you want me to check a certain channel just post the address and I'll test it for you, I have an Overplay subscription too.