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Discussion Starter #81
Does anyone else have any experience with usvideo.org? As Peter mentioned above it involves changing the DNS server(s) on your router or PC(s).

I am trying this right now but I only changed the DNS servers for one of my PCs, not for my router. I am able to watch shows on Hulu.com which you can't normally do from Canada. One downside is that using their DNS servers (rather than Rogers) appears to be blocking me from watching video from Netflix Canada on that PC.
 

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I'm on usvideo.org. Works well for Netflix and Hulu, but doesn't work for Windows Media Center Internet TV - I was just trying it out.

About $5/month, cheaper than VPN, though I'm not sure what the advantages or disadvantages of each are.
 

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I've used usvideo.org for a few weeks now, and it seems to work for me. I updated the DNS in my router and all devices in the house use the service.

Yes, for services like Netflix where it wants to identify you as either US or Canadian, it will think you are US.

For everything I've tested, it seems to work. The only significant exception is the Cartoon Network, which is one of the sources that comes up in Boxee for content so it's somewhat annoying that it doesn't work.

Just testing for now to provide some background for my blog, haven't decided if I'm going to stick with it.

Pete
 

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I've been using them for a couple months now with no issues. pnear, email them about cartoon network. I've done that for a few sites and they've either fixed it or told me it can't work.

For people that want to be able to flip back and forth, I created 2 Automator scripts for the Mac to flip back and forth as I didn't want to have the router tracking everything through their DNS. I can post the scripts if there is interest.

I'm sure there is a way to do it on a Windows machine too.

Effectively what's happening is their servers are doing the "handshaking" during the geo location check and then handing the stream back to your PC/PS3/Xbox etc directly. It's not a traditional VPN service where all traffic is going through a 3rd party server, only the handshake happens on their end. The bonus here is better throughput for streaming as there is no VPN overhead.

I also subscribe to a $10/month VPN service elsewhere for the times when certain sites don't work with this service.

cyas
 

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Discussion Starter #85
One question around configuring to use usvideo.org - you have to change your DNS settings. If you are using static IPs on your PCs (or other devices) then do you have to change the DNS settings on your PC or on your router?

I would think it is on your PC as when you set up a static IP, at least in Windows, it wants you to also fill in the DNS primary and secondary servers.

Isn't it only when you are using DHCP that it uses the router DNS settings?
 

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Discussion Starter #86
For people that want to be able to flip back and forth, I created 2 Automator scripts for the Mac to flip back and forth as I didn't want to have the router tracking everything through their DNS. I can post the scripts if there is interest.
It turns out that this is fairly easy to do in Windows as well. You can use a batch file with the "netsh" command to change your DNS server.

There also seems to be a way to configure your system to allow concurrent access to Netflix Canada and some US sites. However I don't think you could concurrently access both Netflix Canada and Netflix US. For example here is how you would configure your router if you are running dd-wrt firmware:

Try adding following line to "Additional DNSMasq Options" (below
"strict-order"):
server=/netflix.com/netflix.net/8.8.8.8
It should redirect all queries for all netflix servers to Google DNS
(8.8.8.8) and you'll be able to watch movies at Netflix.ca
I imagine you could also use the DNS from your ISP rather than the Google DNS.
 

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Rather than changing your router or all of your PCs why not just use one of these VPN services (even HotSpot Shield or Ultrasurf) on one PC and then just have it bridge the internet to your media streaming device? That seems like a more simple and more temporary solution to me.

I do something similar when in hotels. The AT&T Wi-Fi (at cost) service that most hotels offer only allow you to connect to one MAC address. I even called them on that and they said if you want a second device, it's going to be a second charge. Plus since most media devices don't have a web browser, you can't purchase from them or even accept their TOS if you wanted to.

So my solution: pay for the AT&T Wi-Fi on my netbook. Then have it share the internet and provide DHCP to my ATV2. Sometimes the speed is a little slow but generally it works just fine and I can watch Netflix, Hulu, and whatever else on the hotel TV.

Hence I figure you should be able to pretty much do the same thing from your home in Canada with the VPN service.
 

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You touched on the advantage of the dns option: speed.

A true VPN option, no matter how good the pipe is can't compete with having a direct connection to the source (netflix, hulu etc). DNS options like usvideo provide this direct connection.

I can't find it now but there is a good thread on here that a member breaks down a VPN connection, overhead etc. None of that is present with the dns stuff.

On our macs we have 2 buttons, USA flag, Canada flag. It stays on USA 90% of the time but when my wife needs access to canada stuff she clicks the Canada flag. Easy.
 

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I'm pretty sure that sites which do that at the DNS level do not provide a direct connection.

What they most probably do is redirect the domains they want to make appear as coming from the US (such as Netflix, Hulu, etc...) to their own servers which then act as proxies and talk to the real (Netflix, Hulu, etc...) servers...

This most probably provide a speed advantage but contrary to real VPN solutions this probably doesn't work for all sites, they must track down all the domains they want to redirrect to their servers and continually maintain them (in case new ones get added).
 

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I just finished trialing usvideo.org as well. I only changed the DNS settings on the Windows 7 box and left the router as it was. With this configuration I was able to use services from both sides of the border without changing my DNS settings. I tried Hulu, CBS, Netflix.ca, and GlobalTV. They all worked with no issues. My trial is over right now and Hulu failed the WAF due to commercials in the movies so I won't be subscribing to usvideo.org for now. Perhaps will consider it again once I drop cable in the spring.
 

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Interesting you mention Hulu failing WAF. Just filed with mine too this evening.

Still debating whether I will keep the US Netflix instead of Canada.

I was watching Prison Break on US Netflix and they just put it on Canada's Netflix. I think that if they keep improving it won't be necessary to subscribe to US video sites.
 

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The US one will always seem 'better' I think there doesn't seem to be as many hoops for Netflix to get the content. Not to mention a whole lot more subscribers. I think its worth the money and with multiple viewers in the house we get our moneys worth every month hands down!
 

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Wow, this DNS solution does look good. I am going to give it a shot by changing the DNS in my HTPC only. If I'm reading correctly my normal internet traffic should not take a speed hit with this set-up.

If I change at the HTPC only, will my connected linksys dma 2100's, that are connected via the same router as the htpc, work with this set-up or will I have to change the router DNS? I think the extenders traffic is all routed through the HTPC rather than connecting to online content directly, so changing the HTPC DNS should be enough.

I guess I will just have to try and see what happens. Will report back.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #94
Just using the PC should work fine. I have done this on several of my PCs and I have also used this on two iPads but I have kept my router using Rogers' DNS. But to be honest I don't know if there is a downside to changing the DNS settings on your router as it appears that this service does not affect internet traffic other than what goes to specific sites such as Netflix, Hulu, CBS, etc. The only downside could be not being able to access Netflix Canada but that probably isn't an issue to most folks.

The one downside to this service is that you do not appear to have a US IP to everyone on the net, only to specific sites which is unlike a normal VPN. Therefore if they don't set up a US video web site then you won't be able to access it. For example, I wasn't able to access streaming video from the Masters golf website last weekend as I guess this service doesn't have that site on their list.
 

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Will my 5.0 mbps Teksavvy DSL be too slow for the VPN that comes with a giganews sub. ? I ran a speed test on the Giganews website that clocked me at 2.5 mbps.

..also does anyone know if the Giganews VPN comes with all of their tiered plans? I see they mention a specific VPN with the diamond plan but nothing with the other plans.
 

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Australia and VPN services

Hey, CRTC, take a look at this:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/media-streams-spark-piracy-row-over-copyright/story-e6frgakx-1226078817583
[PROMOTING access to the forbidden fruits of the internet, such as movies and TV shows available only to US audiences, might breach Australian copyright law, a leading expert says.]

A debate is under way about the legality of devices called virtual private networks (VPNs) that facilitate access to US-only content on media aggregators such as Netflix, Hulu and Boxee in the US.

These aggregators prohibit their content being streamed to Australian homes because their copyright agreements with major producers such as 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios and Paramount allow distribution only in the US, and sometimes in Canada.

University of NSW copyright expert Kathy Bowrey believes promoting devices that help Australian users access movies and TV shows available only to US subscribers might be unlawful.

"The person who offers the VPN is possibly liable. It's also a breach of copyright to encourage people to infringe, and provide a means by which they can infringe," she said.

However, in an area of law that is often complex and unclear, the federal government says it might be lawful.

"In relation to the use of VPNs by Australians to access services such as Hulu and Netflix, on the limited information provided there does not appear to be an infringement of copyright law in Australia," a spokesman for Attorney-General Robert McClelland said. "Whether the Australian users have committed an offence by deceiving these providers about their identity, or eligibility to receive their services, would depend on state or territory criminal law."

To overcome the US streaming ban, technically savvy Australians have been using a form of internet tunnelling that lets them access media in the US and Britain, as if they were local users there.

The tunnelling, made possible using a VPN, tricks the Netflix, Hulu, Boxee and other servers into treating Australian users as local subscribers and the media streams unrestricted to their homes.

Concern about VPN tunnelling, however, has heightened with almost out-of-the-box offerings of VPN access with devices such as the McTiVia wireless streaming service now available in Australian retail stores.

Netflix said that accessing its content outside the US amounted to piracy and was a breach of its terms of service.

"Netflix shows in the US and Canada because of our content agreements. We do not condone any piracy or illegitimate use of the internet," said Steve Swasey, Netflix's vice-president of corporate affairs.


But it is understood content aggregators do not see policing the internet as part of their role.

Professor Bowrey said it was a copyright infringement to download the material, and both the distributor of McTiVia and the VPN service being offered might also be in breach of copyright.

McTiVia's distributor Inspire Technology said the company was acting within the law.

"All McTiVia is doing is introducing the VPN service to the customer," managing director Robert Bonanno said.

"VPN has been around for a long time and I believe there's nothing illegal about it."

VPNSecure.me, which offers the VPN service in partnership with McTiVia, says its offering was "100 per cent legitimate".

"The reason why the content is geographically restricted to these nations is due to agreements between companies like Hulu and Netflix and the media industry. There is no binding government law," VPNSecure.me spokesman Shayne McCulloch said.


"Being able to provide access to further entertainment content to individuals in Australia will help battle the unfavourable methods that Australians are using to watch this content as we speak."

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft did not comment.

In February, AFACT, which represents major Australian distributors, was unsuccessful in Federal Court action against internet service provider iiNet. The court found iiNet was not liable for the copyright infringements by its customers on its network.

New Zealand recently strengthened its copyright laws by enacting a "three-strikes" provision that means repeat infringers will be fined NZ$15,000 ($11,460) or disconnected from the internet for up to six months.
 

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A debate is under way about the legality of devices called virtual private networks
Devices called virtual private networks? okay.
 

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Is there currently any law in Canada against using a VPN to access american content?

I was at a buddies house over the weekend and was pretty impressed with the Boxee.

We watch so little TV at our place but there is absolutely zero content with the Boxee on the canadian side for my young kids to watch. I would like to pick one up and use a VPN to give access to the american sites.
 

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The problem with devices like the Boxee Box, Apple TV, XBOX, etc is that they typically don't have VPN client software included in them.
 
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