There’s nothing quite like getting home from work, cooking some dinner, sitting down at the table, and watching Netflix. Well, scratch the “getting home from work” part, as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us into our homes.
However, Netflix hasn’t gone anywhere. Neither has Hulu, Prime Video, YouTube, etc.—the pandemic has given us more of a reason to count on streaming platforms for entertainment. But what if you can’t access these streaming services?
Depending on where you live, access to these streaming services may allude you. Even if you have access to these services, there’s a very real possibility that the show or movie you’re eager to watch is unavailable. The disappointment that follows? Immeasurable.
Why is this? Why do streaming services restrict the type of content you’re allowed to watch? Better yet, how do you avoid these restrictions? How can you watch your favoourite show you want, anytime you want?
Answering your questions is why I’m here. With this article, I hope to dispel your worries and tell you how you can watch any show, movie, or video you want. And just for fun, we’ll go over the best streaming services to use during this pandemic.
How do Services Restrict Access to Content?
To start us off, let’s talk about the act of restricting content based on a user’s location, a practice known as geo-blocking. There are many reasons why a company or streaming service would employ geo-blocking, but the major reason concerns certain countries’ laws and restrictions.
For example, if Netflix were to ever penetrate China’s streaming market, they’d be forced to comply with China’s laws, meaning many shows and movies would be unavailable to the general public.
This is also the case for countries Netflix already does business in. It was only last year when Netflix removed an episode of Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia for making a joke about Saudi royalty.
Now that we’ve gone over what geo-blocking is and what it entails, let’s go over how you can avoid geo-blocking.
Fortunately for many of us, certain software allows us to bypass any form of geo-blocking we may run into, one of them being VPNs. VPNs, short for virtual private networks, exist for two things: encrypting information and bypassing geo-restrictions.
VPNs allow you to choose which country’s VPN server you’d like to connect to, and once you do so, you’ll be able to access the content found in that country.
I find myself using one often, as a lot of content I prefer to watch is only available in European countries, and so far, I have very few complaints. I, myself, can’t find any reason as to not use one.
Which Streaming Service(s) Should You Use?
Now that we’ve got those explanations out of the way, let’s talk streaming services. Which ones should you use while stuck in self-quarantine? Of course, the answer depends on the type of content you enjoy, but I thought I’d give a brief overview of my favorites.
Trademark streaming service Netflix has probably the most diverse catalog of all streaming services, containing anything, from the most obscure of horror movies to the latest Pixar movie. If your taste is relatively mainstream, Netflix is one of the best streaming services for you.
What Hulu offers over Netflix is its insane catalog of TV shows. Sure, Netflix has a few, but Hulu contains most older shows, including older animated children’s shows. If you have a kid, younger brother/sister, or simply want a taste of nostalgia, Hulu is for you.
If you’ve exhausted both Netflix’s and Hulu’s catalog and crave for more, YouTube offers a plethora of ingenuity on its site. Whether you’re looking for a quick, surface-level guide to history or a few laughs, YouTube’s got you covered,
While the situations brought upon by the pandemic can be considered less-than-ideal, we must look at the silver lining. Right now, it’s the ability to catch up on your backlog of shows and movies you’ve built up throughout the years.
And even if you’ve been affected by geo-blocking, there are ways around it, once which I laid out in this article. Now, relax, and try to take your mind off of everything (except the show you’re watching, of course)!