How to Watch in the UK

20 May


If you live in the United States then you probably won’t get the reference, however if you live anywhere else, chances are you know exactly what I mean

For those not familiar, Hulu is a popular video playback site from NBC that streams many mainstream television shows right to your browser.  The biggest problem with the site is that it blocks access for users outside the continental United States.  Hulu isn’t the only site in the world that does this either.  Many sites restrict access based on the IP Address that you are currently connected with.

This is where Hotspot Shield comes to the rescue.

Hotspot Shield is a free software download that allows you to use the internet anonymously – for both Windows and Mac computers.  It works by providing you with a different IP address than you would normally get, allowing you to bypass country-type restrictions.

Here’s a look at just how easy it is to use.

Start by downloading the installer from the Hotspot Shield web site.  The installation uses the standard wizard-type interface and I only identified two noteworthy items during the install.  The first is that you should uncheck the box that says ‘Include the Hotspot Shield Community Toolbar’.  Unless you are one of those people that loves adding more toolbars to your browser, this will provide you with very little additional value.


The second item I noted was that during the install you will see one or more Windows Security prompts that let you know that Windows can’t verify the publisher of the driver software it is installing.  To complete the installation, click ‘Install this driver software anyway’.


Once the wizard completes, a browser window will open up taking you to the ‘Invite a Friend!’ page.  You are in no way obligated to do this.  In fact, you can probably just close that browser window and continue.


You should now see a little green shield in your system tray that looks like: Hotspot_Shield

It’s possible that it will be red depending on the current connection state (green is connected, red is disconnected).  If the shield is red, you can right-click on the icon and the pop-up menu will give you the option to connect.  The menu also allows you to look at the configuration properties and disconnect the Hotspot Shield.


Clicking on Properties in the menu will open a browser window and load the status page.  This page shows the current state of the shield and the current IP Address being assigned.  From here you can also disconnect the shield, or click on Show Config for more options and information.  The extended config screen shows you how much data has moved in and out since Hotspot Shield last connected and the date and time of the last connection.

Hotspot_Shield 7_Hotspot_Shield

So you are now good to go.  Reloading the site produces more favorable results than last time.  The message about ‘our video library can only be streamed within the United States’ will be replaced by a message that tells you that advertising can’t be loaded.  Amusingly enough, they offer a link to get support if you can’t see the ads.


After 30 seconds, the ad message is removed and the video playback begins.  The only downside to Hotspot Shield is that it forces an advertisement across the top of the web pages you load while connected.  I can deal with that though, simply scroll the page down.


Well, there you have it.  Hotspot Shield does a good job at helping you avoid country discrimination, but it has some other great benefits as well.  If you are prone to using public networks (e.g. hotels, coffee shops both wired and wireless) then you can use this utility to help keep your data safe and secure.

The software essentially creates a VPN (virtual private network) between your computer and the AnchorFree Internet gateway.  The tunnel created prevents hackers and would-be snoops from viewing your emails, instant messages, credit card information and anything else you happen to transmit.

What other tools do you use to make your Internet use more secure and anonymous?

Try it out and tell me what you think!

[Update] Hotspot will work under the latest version of wine!


24 Responses to “How to Watch in the UK”

  1. blades May 21, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    sod hulu… pandora is what i’m planning on using this for. thanks!

  2. Gotit May 21, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Great tip!

    Does anyone know if this will also work for sites that don’t stream into the U.S.? For instance will it work in the U.S. for who restricts streaming to the UK.

  3. linuxandall May 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    I think so, I mean it should however I am unable to test it. If you try please send me an email or leave me a comment and tell me if it worked.


  4. i8dbbq May 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    I grabbed this and installed using wine. When I tried to connect there was a DDE error. I then installed it in XP running in VirtualBox and it connected fine; however I was unable to access the BBC iplayer from the US.

    • linuxandall May 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

      What distro are you using?

      • i8dbbq May 21, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

        I am using PCLOS

      • linuxandall May 21, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

        Okay, I’m not sure what to say as I’ve not really used that distro…

      • i8dbbq May 21, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

        It originally forked from Mandriva. No worries. I haven’t given up. It just didn’t work right out of the box for me.

      • linuxandall May 21, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

        Send me a link for PCLOS and I’ll make a partition on my holy hard disk for it and bless it with my use 😀

      • i8dbbq May 21, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

      • linuxandall May 21, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

        Looks cool, I’ll install it: take some screenshots and try and get HotSpot working

  5. John May 21, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Doesn’t work for Hulu anymore…or maybe just for me but I’m getting ‘you are hiding behind a proxy’ when I try and watch something…

  6. HappyJoe May 21, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    Not for me in the UK! The smart folk at now have the message:

    “Based on your IP address, we noticed you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool. Hulu is not currently available outside…”

    So much for that. Or should I blame my Mac???

    • linuxandall May 22, 2010 at 2:49 am #

      Did you follow all the steps exactly? If you have send me a screenshot of the page. I’m not sure whether it is Macs that it doesn’t work on as I have used both on Ubuntu and Windows Vista

      • Rory June 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

        I’ve got the same problem on Windows 7. Think Hulu have got wise to it. Unless someone has a way to get round it?

      • linuxandall June 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

        Yes I’ve noticed that from the comments. Try using Proxify. It is a good tool I use to get round the MegaVideo time limit. Google proxify


  7. zoe May 26, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    thanks soooooooooooo much, man! this is genius! i recently put up naruto episodes which Hulu provided for me on my website and i was really happy cause everyone’s been nagging me about it for a while but then…I CAME ACROSS THIS GENIUS! thanks soooooooooooooooooo much again buddy!

    • linuxandall May 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

      I’m glad you liked the post so much. If you want more posts like that subscribe and share the blog on with your friends.

  8. hulu boy June 1, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    I just did it using a mac and it worked. Thanks dude!

  9. Techiegeek June 2, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    Hotspot Shield is a great service and for free!

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