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Netflix over torrents

With nearly 30 million streaming subscribers in the U.S. alone, Netflix is one the major providers of online video entertainment. Not only do they offer a great service but they manage something that no other content provider can: the ability to combat piracy.

It’s simple, for $8,99 you get access to a ton of content including unique content such as House Of Cards and the upcoming season 4 of Arrested Development. It’s a great service (info on how to get access from outside of the US here) and interestingly it’s beating piracy as an option.

Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos reports he has some evidence to back up this claim of beating piracy. In a recent interview with Stuff, Sarandos notes that BitTorrent traffic dips every time the video provider opens up shop in a new location.

“One of the things is we get ISPs to publicise their connection speeds – and when we launch in a territory the BitTorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows. So I think people do want a great experience and they want access – people are mostly honest.”

In other words, many people who previously pirated movies via BitTorrent stop doing so when Netflix becomes available. Choice is also the key to solving the piracy problem according to the Netflix CCO.

“The best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally but by giving good options,” Sarandos says.

Good quality content at a capped price per month. All you can eat for a fixed price; what’s not to like?

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How to watch Netflix in South Africa

So every month you spend about R600 for DSTV and another R700 on your uncapped ADSL line. This is a lot of money and frankly DSTV is only really useful for sport. If you’re not that into sport, I have found the solution to your entertainment needs.

In the US with just an internet connection and a credit card you’ve got access to basically unlimited TV viewing options. Services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Video On Demand mean you can find any type of movie or series to suit your taste. Yes, we’ve just got iTunes in South Africa meaning you can rent or download a movie or series but services such as Netflix offer so much more for a fixed monthly fee. I personally haven’t watched DSTV properly in ages and while I will miss the occasional sports match I’ll enjoy the R600 I save on something I hardly use. Netflix is a whole $8 per month but this is a flat fee no matter how much you watch.

I’ve got a 2mb uncapped ADSL line and while the shows take about 30 seconds to buffer they work perfectly once everything gets going. Netflix is great for kids shows and you can keep your kids entertained for the rest of their lives without having to watch the same show over again. I’m talking Barney, Shaun the sheep, Thomas the tank engine, Spongebob and pretty much anything you can dream of. A bonus is to buy an Apple TV ($99 if you know someone going overseas or buy it from Wantitall for probably the cheapest price in SA) you can plug it into your TV and watch shows on your couch.

I’ve recently found a service called Unotelly that allows you to pretend that you’re somewhere else in the world so that the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, Hulu, Vudu, Pandora and countless other really great streaming services are available. There is so much content out there you may never leave the house again. I’m not going to go into the technicalities of how the service works as it involves lots of three letter acronyms but follow the steps below:

Step 1: Sign up to Unotelly

Go to www.unotelly.com or click on this link for a free trial: http://www.unotelly.com/unodns/pricing

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Click that bad boy

Step 2: Change your DNS

Don’t worry if the term “DNS” scares you, just know you need to change it. If you’re interested in how it all works here’s a wikipedia article on the topic. You need to setup the new DNS in your router or modem, the device that you connect to the internet with. Most likely a technical friend or the Telkom man set yours up but know it’s the little box with the aerial or wires coming out of it. Don’t be afraid of the technicalities here, Unotelly have a great section where you can get information about how to change the DNS depending on what make of router you own.

Click on this link (http://help.unotelly.com/solution/categories) to go to their help site and then scroll down and select your router. This is probably the hardest step in the process so if you’re having no luck find a geek and bribe them with an iTunes voucher or something to set this up for you. In South Africa you’ll use the DNS in Cape Town which is “196.41.139.189”. If you’re anywhere else in the world try this website to locate your closest DNS: http://www.unotelly.com/unodns/global

Pick the brand of router you own

Pick the brand of router you own

Step 3: Check it’s all working and setup your IP

Okay, now we get to check that you setup is correct so go to http://www.unotelly.com/quickstart2/ and you’ll see a bar at the top showing you the status of your service. You’ll probably get an error message about your IP address which you need to setup. Click on the “authorised networks” tab on the left or click this link: http://www.unotelly.com/quickstart2/networks.php

Enter your IP

 

Simply type any name into the “Network Name” and then type your IP into the “Your IP Address” area. You can see your IP address below the empty spaces but you need to still type it in. For example my IP in the example is “41.244.158.134” and the “41” goes into the first block, the “244” into the second and so on. Everytime your router gets restarted you’ll need to redo the IP address part of these instructions but this isn’t often.

Once you’ve done this the top of your browser will show the following image. If you don’t see this you’ve entered the IP incorrectly so try again.

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Step 4: It’s Netflix time

So now that the internet thinks you’re in America it’s time to setup Netflix. Simply go to www.netflix.com and signup for a months free trial.

Please don't judge my viewing habits

You can now phone up DSTV and cancel your account because it just because totally superfluous. You can check how to setup additional devices here or follow the Apple TV tutorial here. Your Xbox or PS3 that’s already sitting next to your TV also have the ability to stream the likes of Netflix, Hulu and music streaming services such as Pandora.

It’s a pleasure.