How to use Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and BBC iPlayer in Germany & Europe legally.

 

Tutorial: Even on this, you could watch Netflix and Hulu in Germany (mwichary@flickr.com)

My tutorial “Netflix in Deutschland” is quite popular on the web and it got a lot of comments from English speakers, so I decided to make an English version of it. The good thing is, in this version I don’t have to explain what Netflix, Vudu or Hulu is – you guys already know it well. So if you moved to Germany or Europe in general lately and would like to continue using your existing Netflix, Vudu or Hulu Plus account overseas, just follow this simple tutorial. If you need to sign up to a new account from Germany, that also works – it is a bit more complicated, though. BBC iPlayer is free by the way and also works as described later on – it’s quite like Hulu for our british friends.

 

 

What do I need to use Netflix, Hulu (Plus), Vudu or the BBC iPlayer outside the US, eg. in Germany?
By default, many internet services like Netflix, Hulu or Vudu are region-blocked outside the US, for example here in Germany. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them overseas like you’re used to – just follow these simple steps. You’ll need:

  1. A VPN-Server that acts as a middleman to pass the data from the US (or UK) to Germany. Unblock-Us is recommended – it’s cheap and it’s fast. (4,99$ / month, 1 week free trial). There are free ones in the web, but they tend to be too slow, which sucks when trying to watch a movie.
  2. A working Netflix Account. If you already have one, this should be a piece of cake. If you need to sign up first, you’ll need a US Credit card and, if you are already abroad, the mentioned VPN-client.
  3. Access to the Internet (obviously). Hulu can be accessed over the website www.hulu.com once you have set up Unblock-Us without any further costs. If you want to use Hulu Plus in Germany, you’ll need a working Hulu Plus account. If you don’t have one yet, you’ll either need a US credit card or alternatively a US iTunes Account that you preloaded with US-Dollars from a prepaid iTunes Gift Card.
  4. If you want to enjoy Netflix or Hulu Plus on your TV screen, you’ll have to connect your computer with an HDMI cable. If you own an Apple TV, an XBOX 360 or a Nintendo Wii, you’ll also be able to use Hulu and Netflix natively on these devices. Usually, your Account (Apple ID, Microsoft XBOX Live Account etc.) needs to be set to “Country: United States” to make Netflix or Hulu appear as an option.

Is it legal to use Netflix in Germany?
As long as you have a valid Netflix or Hulu Plus Account and you have paid for it, it is legal. Christian Solmecke, a german lawyer for media-law, explained it this way:

“Watching a videostream by avoiding a “region-block”, for example on hulu.com, creates a temporary duplication of a video that is justified through § 44a in German copyright law. Watching a video from a foreign streaming-portal is therefore considered lawful.”

However, using your account from outside of the US is against Netflix’ or Hulu Plus‘ terms of service – doing so may get your account suspended (although this has never happened to my knowledge).

How do I set up Unblock-Us?

 

Use Netflix, Hulu, Vudu or BBC iPlayer in Germany via unblock-us

Use Netflix, Hulu, Vudu or BBC iPlayer in Germany via unblock-us.com

Unblock Us uses a DNS-server (domain name server) as a “middle man”. It directs the videostream to you, wherever you are located on the globe. After signing up to unblock-us.com, you’ll receive the DNS-address of their service in a mail. Enter this DNS-address in the network settings of you computer or device, then go to unblock-us.com in your browser. Login using your username and password and click on “check service” – that’s it. Netflix, Hulu, Vudu etc. will now work on your devices as if you were in the US, as long as they use the said dns-server.

 

 

How do I change my DNS-server?
If you are using Windows, go to Control Panel > Network Connections and select your used network. Click on Properties, then select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Click on Properties. Select „Use the following DNS server addresses“ and enter the Unblock-us DNS servers 208.122.23.22 and 208.122.23.23 in the spaces provided. Click OK – that’s it. Now go to unblock-us.com and click on “Check Service”. Finished – You should now be able to reach Netflix.com from Germany.

If you are using a Macintosh, go to System Preferences > Network. Double-Click on the connection that you want to change the DNS for. On the connection properties window, click on the DNS tab and use the “+” symbol to add the servers 208.122.23.22 and 208.122.23.23 . Click on OK and you’re done. Now go to unblock-us.com and click on “Check Service”. Finished. Now Netflix.com or Hulu.com should work from Germany.

Setting up your XBOX:
Note: You’ll need a laptop or desktop computer set up with the said dns adress to go to unblock-us.com and click on “Check Service” to activate your unblock-us account first. Then you can setup your XBOX.
On your XBOX: Go to Settings > System > Network Settings. Choose your used connection. Go to Configure Network > Ip Settings.  Select Manual > Primary DNS Server. Enter 208.122.23.22. Select Secondary DNS, enter 208.122.23.23. Select Done, Done again. Press B to test the connection. Restart your XBOX 360 – that’s it. If you haven’t done it yet, download Netflix and Hulu from the marketplace. Netflix or Hulu should now work from Germany on your XBOX.

Troubleshooting:

If unblock-us stops working, go to their website and click on this message

If unblock-us stops working, go to their website and click on this message

From time to time, your internet service provider will change your external IP adress. If this happens, Netflix will not be reachable unless you go to the unblock-us.com website on your computer. You will see the message „Looks like your internet address has changed. Please click here to activate your new internet address“ Just click it, and everything will work as usual.

 

That’s it. As you see, it’s quite easy to use Netflix, Hulu, Vudu or BBC iPlayer in Germany. Please leave your comments below and don’t hesitate to correct my English – I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes here. Anyhow, let me know if this worked for you. Thanks!

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17 Comments

  1. Rolf 10. Februar 2013 Reply

    How can a DNS server can „redirect a video stream to you“? DNS means Domain Name Services: what it does is provide an IP when given a domain name, or the countrary (although seldom used). It hardly does more, and surely would not be able to redirect media streams.

    • Author
      Nerdizm 10. Februar 2013 Reply

      Hi Rolf,
      you are right about the dns, usually a dns just translates the url into an ip-address.
      While they don’t exactly spell out how their service works, Unblock-us redirects your domain name request to a transparent proxy. The proxy goes off to the real website on your behalf, and then forwards you the content. This only happens with the first few bytes of a data-package, once the connection is established your normal isp is used. That’s why the site claims faster speeds than VPN because it’s not a true proxy, and you are no longer tied to your location as you can use different DNS servers for different countries. Sorry, that’s all I found out so far. I can assure you that it’s been working for about a year flawlessly.

  2. HerrKrinkle 12. Februar 2013 Reply

    Hi there. Can I apply the XBOX process to my PS3 if my PSN ID is registered as from United States? Will it work as easily as described for the XBOX?

    • Author
      Nerdizm 12. Februar 2013 Reply

      Hi!
      I don’t have a ps3 to test it, but if you already have a working us-american psn id, the rest should be easy.

      I found this Youtube Tutorial how to set up the ps3:

      Further advice from unblock-us:

      Restart the PS3 before using the service
      If you had Canadian Netflix installed before, hold „Start“ and „Select“ buttons on the controller at the same time while starting Netflix app on PS3. It will allow you to reset Netflix settings and activate it at Netflix.com

      To install Netflix application – you can open http://ps3.unblock-us.com from PS3 Internet Browser. You need to log in to PSN using US or Canadian account, install latest PS3 updates (if any) and your system must be configured as described above before you start installation
      To install HuluPlus application – you can open http://ps3.unblock-us.com from PS3 Internet Browser. You need to log in to PSN using US account. You can create US PSN account by selecting „United States“ as country.
      I hope this helps –
      cheers
      Tim

      • HerrKrinkle 9. August 2013 Reply

        Cool. Thanks!

  3. Andre 18. Februar 2013 Reply

    Hi there! I was using Netflix in Germany for the last 4 months. Suddenly it stopped working… I just cant pay with my paypal account anymore (recurring payment)! Dont remember how I did 4 months ago, I think I had a similar problem as my Paypal account is German but I have tried many things and I just dont know what else to do.

    Please Update Your Payment Method

    Dear Andre,

    Sorry for the interruption, but we are having trouble authorising your PayPal account. Please visit http://www.netflix.com/YourAccountPayment to enter your payment information again or to use a different payment method. When you have finished, we will try to verify your account again. If it still does not work, you will want to contact PayPal.

    If you have any questions, we are happy to help. Simply call us any time on 0800 096 6380.

    –The Netflix Team

    ——

    We are not able to process your payment using your PayPal account at this time. Please return to the recipient’s website to complete your transaction using their regular checkout flow.

    • Author
      Nerdizm 18. Februar 2013 Reply

      Hi Andre,
      I’m using Visa to pay for Netflix – my (german) Paypal wasn’t accepted. Did you change your country settings or address in Paypal?

      Alternatively, have you tried a prepaid visa card?

      Let me know if that helps

      Cheers
      Tim

  4. Vicky 11. April 2013 Reply

    Hi,
    Do you have any idea how to get the BBC iplayer app onto an XBOX in germany? I have a uk xbox live gold account and a smartDNS service (overplay) set up on the xbox. So I see the UK app store and can select iplayer – but when I try to download it just says that is not possible from my current location. I am guessing the smartDNS will work to stream from the iplayer, just not to download the app 🙁

    I also have a VPN service for my laptop (myexpatnetwork), so I tried connecting the xbox to my laptop by cable and sharing the internet connection. That worked so long as the vpn wasn´t connected. As soon as I connected via the vpn, the xbox didn’t see any internet connection any more (I could get the iplayer on the laptop though, so there was a connection).

    Maybe I need to set up some kind of vpn on my router (its a fritzbox)??

    Do you think I should try a different smartDNS or VPN service, or is this just doomed anyway.

    Thank you!

    • Author
      Nerdizm 12. April 2013 Reply

      Hm, I used Unblock Us to download Netflix and Vudu to my Xbox via an US-Account and it worked fine. iPlayer should not be too different. Wild guess, have you set the country of your xbox to UK? Does your VPN network have different countries to choose from? Unblock Us can be set to USA, UK, Canada etc. Maybe you set yours to USA and forgot about it? I hope this helps,

      cheers
      Tim

    • Author
      Nerdizm 12. April 2013 Reply

      Sorry, I just realized your main problems are conectivity based. Can’t you connect the xbox directly to your vpn? With Unblock Us it’s quite easy, you only have to enter a DNS into the Xbox’s Network Settings and click a link on your laptop. They give you a free week to try it, maybe it’s worth a shot.

  5. Eugene Haller 12. April 2013 Reply

    I recently moved to Germany. Looking to pick up a Smart TV (had to leave mine back in the US) I dont have a Netflix account but would want one considering most programing is in German. Do I need an iTV in conjunction with a Smart TV or can the Smart TV receive Netflix by itself?

    • Author
      Nerdizm 12. April 2013 Reply

      Hi Eugene,
      Some smart tvs do have Netflix apps, but the necessary connection to the us-app stores can be tricky. It depends from device to device and even from firmware version to version. If you only need the „smart“ features for Netflix or Hulu, I’d suggest you save some money by buying a good „dumb“ tv and invest some of it in an apple tv or a boxee. They’re cheap, there is a lot of software around for them and you can just follow this tutorial to make them work.

      Cheers
      Tim

  6. bahuhen 14. November 2013 Reply

    huhu,

    ich habe einen deutschen PSN Account, wohne aber mittlerweile in Österreich, im PSN Store wird mir der Video-Store angezeigt, aber ich kann dort nix kaufen/leihen, weil mir „der service z.Z. nicht zur verfügung steht“.
    Ich nehme sehr stark an, dass liegt an meiner „österreichischen IP“.

    Meine Frage also:
    Gibt es sowas ähnliches wie unblock-us auch für Deutschland?

    danke~ =)

  7. thor4542003 11. August 2014 Reply

    Would you happen to know how to sent up a roku 3 in Germany I have not been able to.

    Thank you

  8. Diane Johnson 18. August 2014 Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I love Hulu plus especially because I can watch the latest Family Guy episodes 1 day after they air. If you live outside USA like me, you can use UnoTelly or other similar tools to access Hulu Plus overseas.

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