Best streaming services 2017: The unblocking algorithm

April 07, 2017

Best streaming services 2017Those times when we had to buy discs for watching our favorite shows and movies became a thing of the past, as long as today we have such innovative online entertainment resources as streaming services. There are lots of feature-rich web-based resources we can use to spend time while watching the most popular movies in real-time regime. Strange though it might sound not all of average users run the services and have unhindered access to them. Listed below are some of the most necessary facts you should know about when dealing with streaming services.


Video Streaming Services: What is it about?

A video streaming service includes several important constituents without which there wouldn’t be such a terms. Streaming media and VoD are integral parts of any streaming service dealing with video.

Streaming media consists of all the audio and video content, which is converted into a compressed form and routed over the network and played right away rather than stored on your hard drive. With the introduction of this innovation any user can watch any material of interest without waiting for its downloading on the device. Although the content is being streamed in live, you can do everything you need with it like pausing, rewinding, fast-forwarding and etc.

While being an interactive TV technology VoD (Video on Demand) allows you to watch any program in real time regime, download or watch the programs later. The technology is delivered over the internet to home connected devices.

Thus it comes that a video streaming service is an on demand entertainment resource that allows watching any offered streaming material.


Some Advantages of Streaming Media

The overwhelming popularity of the kind of service is conditioned of some advantages the technology gives:

  • Video search and personalized playlists.

Any customer of a service can make up a list of favorite shows, movies, series and look for the shows he/she likes most, which makes the service interactive.

  • Optimization of the streaming media.

This means that all the streaming services owners are able to monitor the most in-demand shows and series for further betterment of the service.

  • A rational use of bandwidth.

The feature is determined by the service’s way of operation. Only the transferred part is the content that is being watched.

  • Efficient copyright protection.

Due to the fact that a video file offered by a streaming service is not stored on a user’s computer makes the intellectual property more protected. A media player disables the video data as soon as it’s played.

However, you shouldn’t forget that usage of streaming services requires a license and fees for viewing the media data. Besides, most of the up-to-date streaming services offer their apps compatible with numerous devices and Oses, which makes you able to watch the streaming service from any suitable gadget. Nevertheless, the services can’t be watched from any country.


Some Challenges a Streaming Service Can Pose

  • Bandwidth usage

Although the service uses the bandwidth rationally, there are some difficulties with the thing. When watching some streaming media in a high quality sufficient bandwidth is required. There are some vivid examples. When watching a video in:

HD quality – you need at least 5 Mbps.

‘Super HD’ – 7Mbps is required.

3D streaming – you need 12 Mbps.

So, while using slower connection than a cable or DSL you may come across some issues.

  • Online only

The streaming services are available only in case you are connected to the internet. If connection to the internet is cut while you are watching some streaming media, you will be out of luck to watch it up to the end until the internet connection is restored. For avoiding such cases you have a chance to watch for both streaming and downloading a file protected by copyright, which prevents piracy.

  • Pricing

For watching any streaming media service you need to subscribe for it. After you paid for it and got an appropriate license, you can run it without any doubts. There are various packages offered by numerous resources. Thus, you can choose a month package in the function of a trial and then extend the subscription for a longer period. However, there are few services that offer a free trial and the version is highly restricted. But don’t be afraid of it, as long as many authoritative streaming services offer a money-back guarantee.

  • Geo-restrictions

Since the service’s administrations are concerned about the copyright protection, most of them are restricted in different geo-locations. Thus, such popular streaming services as Netflix or Hulu are available in the US only. Most of them are also restricted in the offered content.


For getting an in-depth insight let’s consider some living examples of the most attractive for audience video streaming services:

NetflixNetflix

The service is stated to be the most purchased, as long as among all the representatives presented on the market today, the channel is the most in-demand. The old faithful Netflix is a great grandparent of all the streaming services, which stays ‘afloat’ up to now. For one monthly subscription fee you are to achieve access to unlimited streaming of different TV shows, movies, comedy shows, original programs like Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards and etc. The channel’s performance consistency and money in terms of selection make it the best streaming service ever. Although Netflix is offered in most countries, the content presented on the service is not the same for all the geo-locations. Thus Netflix American content is presupposed to be viewed from the US only and many of the series allowed in different geographical regions differ a lot. When talking about the channel’s terms of usage nothing unlawful can be find out. However, you shouldn’t forget about the fact that the channel watching requires internet connection, which is far from being free from threats and malicious system infections. 

 

pros

cons

  • A wide variety of media content selection.
  • A user-friendly interface.
  • Positive customers’ comments.
  • The pricing is higher if comparing it with other streaming services.
  • Frequently-changed titles.
  • Limited original program’s content.

 


Hulu

The streaming service offers a wide variety of streaming content, TV shows, movies and original products of NBC, Fox, ABC, TBS and many other studios and TV channels sponsored by their partners. However, a regular Hulu service offers just a few episodes of popular TV series, whereas Hulu plus gives you an opportunity to watch all the video content uploaded to the website. The channel is the best solution in case you are not ready to pay for cable subscription or HD antenna. Having subscribed for the channel, you achieve a handful of cable shows and most network shows. All the program’s seasons can be viewed through the streaming service. Such original shows as The Tick Tack of IT can be watched there too. Being a fan of classic anime series, you will be satisfied to learn the channel lets watch them. Even having subscribed for the service, you will have to sit through advertisements. However, the number is far fewer than you watch the same shows on cable TV.

 

pros

cons

  • A wide variety of up-to-date TV content selection.
  • The pricing is comparatively low.
  • Positive customers’ comments.
  • Frequent commercials.
  • Insufficient movie selection.
  • Inconvenient interface.

Amazon Prime Instant Video

Amazon Prime Instant Video

For those who appreciate purchasing on Amazon online shop, the bonuses achieved are great. There are two free purchase shipping, a free Kindle book a month, and limitless access to Amazon Music and Video. As well as Netflix, Amazon offers a great variety of movies, original programs, and shows. Despite its competitors, the streaming service has a wider variety of children programs and comedy shows due to cooperation with Viacom that has a control over Nickelodeon, MTV and etc. If you need to get access to HBO’s classic catalogue, the service is what you need. However, the access to the channel is restricted and not anyone who feels like it will be able to run the channels multimedia library.

 

pros

cons

  • A wide multimedia library.
  • Goes with other Prime benefits, such as Kindle book delivered monthly.
  • A great variety of original shows.
  • The channel’s media library is lack of brand-new shows.
  • Only a year subscription is offered.
  • Some personalized content requires additional payments.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue

If you want to get a cable subscription without getting a cable company involved, the service is what you actually need. The streaming service delivers live TV for its customers at different prices. The streaming company offers three main packages for the service, which is compatible with a few devices. The pricing is not as long as some other video streaming services offer. However, there are 90+ live channels proposed for the customers. Besides, you have a chance to record all your favorite shows to watch them later. The video material includes local sports, news and other popular TV shows.  

 

pros

cons

  • A wide variety of channel selection.
  • You don’t need to subscribe any contracts for using the streaming service.
  • The channel offers strong DVR capabilities.
  • The app is not compatible with a few number of devices.
  • The pricing is similar to cable channels.
  • Geo-restricted.

Sling Orange

It is another good service which can replace a necessity to subscribe for a cable TV. The streaming service provides you with a happy medium between cable TV and other streaming services, as soon as the media content is pretty enough for an average customer and the pricing is much lower. The service doesn’t require a contract to be signed up by you or a necessity to rent a special set-top box. The service is especially helpful for sport fans, as long as it offers ESPN and ESPN2. Besides, the content of such networks as NBC, BBC America, CNN, Cartoon Network and etc. are included in the list of streaming materials.

 

pros

cons

  • The pricing is much lower than cable TV requires.
  • The media content is pretty wide.
  • You don’t need to rent a special set-box or sing up a contract.
  • If compare it with other streaming services, it will be more expensive.
  • Limited content.
  • Geo-restricted.

ABC Family

Freeform (ABC Family)

Being one of the most renowned streaming services in the US, Freeform offers a subscription to the channel, which presupposes a wide variety of shows, movies, and TV series for its clients. The streaming service is rated to a large audience from 14 to 34 and over. The media content is stated to suit each taste. Besides, the channel has a special day on Sunday called Funday when all the channel’s clients can watch feature film focusing on teenage and youth. The tricky question of the service is that you can run it from the US and from nowhere else.

 

pros

cons

  • The streaming resource offers a wide variety of media content suiting all tastes.
  • The app is compatible with numerous OSes.
  • It attracts audience of different age.
  • The subscription is really expensive if compare it with other services.
  • It is a family channel.
  • Geo-restricted.

Pricing Comparison Table

 

 

 

Amazon

Hulu

Netflix

Sling Orange

Freeform (ABC Family)

PlayStation Vue

One month

$99 per year/ $7.99 per month

$8

$9

$20

$35

$50

So, as you see the amount of streaming services is pretty large. Therefore, having decided to subscribe for one of the channels you will be satisfied both in pricing and the quality of the streaming video you get. However, as you might have mentioned there are also some difficulties with geo-restrictions and content packing. That’s exactly why having decided to break from a tradition to connect to cable TV, you need to subscribe for a highly appreciated service that is to provide you with a wide range of video content and guarantees.


Why Are Some Streaming Services Geo-Restricted?

The internet is overloaded with different streaming services like streaming TV series, music streaming services, PlayStation TV channels and etc. however, just a few of them are geographically free. In this case a world of virtual or digital entertainment becomes highly censored and lack of freedom for people of different countries.

There are countries the governments of which follow a strict policy of censorship. Attention! These countries have nothing in common with the geo-blocking implemented by many streaming services authorities. In such countries as China, the UAE, India, Iran and some others surfing the internet is extremely difficult, as long as all the measures applied for committing surveillance over the citizens are highly effective and block not only some foreign streaming services, but censoring the entire network of the company.

Why Are Some Streaming Services Geo-Restricted

The thing is that geo-restriction is followed by authorities of the streaming services to prevent piracy and make everything possible to protect the media content copyright. Some of the media streaming services widen their networks and offer the service in several countries. However, the media data of one and the same channel can differ a lot. Most of the enumerated video streaming companies restrict access to the offered content from outside the US. On the one hand, they prevent foreign unauthorized users from downloading the original shows and distributing them online. On the other hand, such companies make it impossible to watch some content from outside the US you are a citizen of the country and have subscribed for the channel.

In such a manner, geo-restrictions implementation is an attempt to stop online pirating activity while protecting the copyright and benefiting from the business. Therefore, having decided to subscribe for a streaming service, you need to make up a subscription. Fortunately, most of the services are comparatively low in cost and provide you with a great variety of streaming content.


How Does the Geo-Restriction Work?

In most cases the geo-blocking is focused on IP address-based technology, which presents a so-called filtering system. The system makes all the invalid or non-verified addresses inadmissible for a channel’s content. Hulu, Netflix and Freeform are among the most popular streaming companies that restrict their media content through the system.

However, most of advanced customers have already made their best to avoid the geo-blocking. Thus, there are several up-to-date tools, which are to make your true address shifted or even shifted to any country you wish. There are such possibilities as proxy servers, smart DNS, VPNs and some other anonymizers. Unfortunately, not all of them are good for your choice. Some of them are lack of reliability and need your good overview before running them.


SmartDNS

Smart DNS Proxy is a smart technology that gives you a chance to unblock any geo-restricted web resources, such as video streaming services, music streaming services, etc.

 

Smart DNS Proxy

Why should I use it?

What risks can I face?

  • The service offers minimal speed losses, which is great for watching video streaming services in a high quality and playing multi-player games without any lags or hits.
  • The app is easy to use and install on numerous OSes.
  • The service re-routes some specific information for needed for your usage without making your address hindered or substituted with another one.
  • Despite a VPN service, the technology doesn’t provide you with any online protection.

As you see, the service is what you need for watching geo-restricted video streaming services. However, when looking for stronger protection the technology is lack of possibilities. Such strongly restricted channels as Netflix implement special filtering systems that can identify the ‘face’ address and having figured out a breaker make its authentic address blocked or give heavy fines.


Proxy Servers

Having browsed the internet for proxy servers, you can find a list of ready-to-use servers located in different countries. Some of the countries can perform suitable locations for you, which is also used for avoiding geo-blocking.

 

Proxy servers

Why should I use it?

What risks can I face?

  • With the help of the service you can change your IP address, virtual location and get access to some geo-blocked web resources.
  • There are lot of proxy types and you need to be technologically advanced to choose a right solution.
  • You need to learn how to change settings of your browser to run a proxy server.
  • Any proxy server doesn’t provide you with a strong online protection, which can result in some security problems.

The output is pretty difficult to use in case you are an average customer. Besides, it doesn’t offer a high level of security. When trying to access some geo-restricted websites, you may face some difficulties, as long as some streaming services run top-notch filtering systems that make your network and system compromised. However, the system has met the approval on the part of numerous customers.


A VPN Service

What is a VPN?

As you know, many of the most popular streaming services that have achieved a large audience of dedicated fans have implemented geo-restriction to their web resources. The measure that is being applied for protecting the copyright has made many customers deprived of a possibility to watch their favorite video content from outside the US.

A VPN is a virtual private network that was created for making a corporate network protected from multiple online threats. The technology has gained popularity among business companies and average users. The tool performs numerous useful functions, which make your network relieved of malicious online environment and all the threats that can occur online.

Any VPN service provides several significant functions for maintaining privacy, security and anonymity:

 

privacy

security

anonymity

Having established a connection to the internet through a VPN server, your true address (which is assigned by your ISP) is to be substituted by a server’s one. Besides, your virtual location can be easily shifted while switching from one server to another one. The function gives a possibility to get access to any geo-restricted web resources.

Being connected to the internet any device undergoes some security risks. The threats are coming from malicious environment maintained by hackers, computer frauds, government and ISP surveillance. It’s not a secret to anyone that all the unprotected traffic sent online can be intercepted and misused. However, having subscribed for a VPN you get an opportunity to choose a set of up-to-date protocols for creating a secure tunneling. While being routed through the tunneling all your generated traffic comes to be thoroughly encrypted and thus protected from any unauthorized access or interference. 

Due to the fact that a VPN hides your true IP address, all your online activities become de-identified. Besides, a highly reliable VPN service provides its customers with guarantees and accepts different payment methods. Some of the payment methods are stated to be highly anonymous, such as crypto-currency, for instance. What is more, credible VPNs should store no logging data or metadata on its customers.


How does a VPN work with streaming servicesHow does a VPN work with streaming services?

Advanced users have already tested several working ways of how to avoid the geo-blocking and found out that a VPN is the best solution for the purpose. Any strong VPN is to operate well in case you follow some algorithm while using it.

Having subscribed for a VPN service for streaming channels, you need to make sure the app is compatible with your device’s OS and the operational speed of your internet is fast enough to stream the video content in a high quality or 3D.

After that you need to open a server list and choose the most appropriate server, which is to substitute your authentic address with its IP. Having established a connection through the server, your true address is changed for a server’s one and the streaming service’s filtering system ‘sees’ you as a citizen of a country you are connected to. Thus, in case you connect to a US-based server to avoid the geo-restrictions implied by Netflix, for instance, your address is changed for the US one. 

When a server is chosen, you are advised to check an average speed rate of your internet connection. For this purpose you can use several web-based apps, which have been designed for simplifying the task. When knowing your average speed is enough for watching streaming services in a high quality, you are ready to take another step.

As opposed to SmartDNS and Proxy servers, a VPN service provides its clients with top-notch encryption methods. There are several encryption protocols that can be used for different purposes:

PPTP

The protocol is stated to be a great-grandfather of traffic encryption. It is simple for setting it up and fast in operation. With the help of the protocol you can make your data protected without heavy speed decreases. Therefore, it is highly usable for watching streaming services in a high quality and playing multi-player games without any lags or hits. However, the technology is stated by some security experts to be insufficient for encryption. Therefore, having decided to supply your network with top-notch protection, the protocol is pretty inadequate.

OpenVPN

streaming videoBeing a comparatively new open source technology, OpenVPN provides customers with a reliable and strong solution. It is highly resistible to such blocking services as Google and others. The library of the protocol runs a variety of cryptographic algorithms, which make a VPN service almost exclusively powerful. When talking about the level of encryption provided by the protocol, OpenVPN is stated to have no revealed weaknesses. Besides, the protocol gives you a possibility to bypass most of the well-known firewalls. Therefore, having decided to conceal your online activity from the ISP and other prying eyes, the technology is what you need.

L2TP/IPsec

The protocol itself doesn’t provide any privacy or encryption to all the passing traffic, therefore, it’s commonly used in combination with IPsec. As a result, all the sensitive data is encrypted before the transmission, which makes all the generated traffic protected and secured. Most VPN compatible devices have the protocols built in. As long as there are no major vulnerabilities associated with IPsec, the method of traffic protection is reliably strong and safe. However, the protocol is known to be compromised by the NSA, as it has been revealed by E. Snowden. Besides, due to double encapsulation of traffic, the protocol is known to slow down the process of data transferring, which results to lags and hits during streaming services watching.

SSTP

The protocol is known to have been developed by Windows. Although it has been made compatible with some other OSes like Linux and RouterOS, the best operation is presented on Windows. The advantages given by the protocol can be compared with OpenVPN’s ones. However, as you might have already heard the tech giant (Windows) cooperates with the NSA, which compromises your online security a lot.

IKEv2

The protocol has been created by two corporations Cisco and Microsoft. It is also compatible with some other OSes like Blackberry and Linux. It is good while re-establishing VPN connections. The UDP port 500 used by the protocol algorithms is easy to block and knock out of service. Besides, a few potential issues can be caused at the server-end, as soon as the implementation is tricky.

As you see, the variety of protocols is really great, so that you can choose the most optimal solution basing on your personal demands. Besides, if you need your internet connection to be fast and safe, you will also be offered to use some VPN servers that are enriched with speed boosters apart from military-grade protective protocols.

When protocol is chosen and you have an opportunity to run it, all your traffic routed through a secured tunneling comes to be encoded and therefore unreadable and inaccessible for any prying eyes and adversaries. So, you can watch any streaming videos you like.


How to choose a VPN for unblocking best streaming servicesHow to choose a VPN for unblocking best streaming services?

Having searched the internet while looking for a reliable VPN output, you might have come across numerous companies presenting their service. However, not all of them provide high-standard possibilities to the clients and the products differ in quality a lot. Therefore, having decided to make your network free for watching streaming services and secured from multiple threats, you need to find the most optimal alternative. Happily, we have worked out several basic characteristics you need to add to the ‘must-have’ list while selecting a VPN service.

  • a vast variety of server locations;

While choosing a VPN for unblocking such US-based web resources as Netflix, Hulu, Freeform and others you need to pay attention to the amount of server placed there and IP addresses of a VPN’s server park.

The more American servers a company offers, the better it will be for you. As soon as all the enumerated streaming services are sought-after by many users from all over the globe, you need to have access to a mere loaded server placed in the US to get access to the channel. When connecting to an overloaded server you will inevitably face some difficulties starting from decrease of speed rates, video’s quality decline and lags up to internet disconnection.

  • strong encryption protocols;

We have already enumerated the most popular protocols for traffic encryption. On the assumption of your basic needs, you can choose the most suitable variant. Thus, for making your traffic military-grade protected you need to choose OpenVPN. Whereas, you need PPTP for watching any video content in a high quality without any lags.

  • unlimited bandwidth;

When choosing an appropriate variant you need to pay attention to such characteristics as limitless bandwidth and speed. In case if you need a VPN for streaming heavy traffic, you should subscribe for a VPN that offers unlimited bandwidth.

  • trial version or money-back guarantee;

Such feature as a free trial version gives you a possibility to test the service before subscribing for it. While testing it you can unblock several streaming services, check the average speed rates and analyze the protection level. A money-back guarantee makes your budget protected from some extra expenses, as long as you can get all your money back.

  • support of different payment methods;

You should know that some payment methods perform better protection than others. Thus, crypto-currency is stated by some security experts to be more anonymous than other.

  • 24/7 professional technical group assistance;

Is it legal to run a VPN for streaming servicesAll too often, advanced customers neglect the characteristic. However, there are cases when even technologically educated customers can’t solve the issue without assistant group interference.

Having taken into account all the fundamental showings, you can find the best service for watching streaming services.


Is it legal to run a VPN for streaming services?

The service has been primarily developed for making any network protected from internet environment threats. According to the 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, the current state of internet safeness needs up-to-date solutions for outmost protection. Thus, all the Ecommerce and entertainment web-based resources have already switched to SSL certificates to make their clients and followers protected from being compromised, interfered or attacked by computer fraudsters, adversaries, and other prying eyes.

In compliance with the latest Internet Freedom Report, citizens of such countries as China, Iran, the UAE, India and some others are deprived of a possibility to enter any web resource they wish, as long as the internet undergoes government censorship there. Moreover, in India and the UAE users that infringe the law can be heavily fined or even arrested.

After the Snowden’s revelations the US average citizens have been interested in their network protection like never before. Therefore, such up-to-date protective solution as a VPN has become one of the most effective ways of making a network defended from all the risks one may face online. A VPN service is a legal technology used for all the needs coming from internet environment protection. Inasmuch as all the streaming services operate online, you should supply your network with a reliable security.


Bottom line

Best streaming services 2017: The unblocking algorithmDue to technological progress such innovative technologies as streaming services have displaced traditional cable TV and enriched the entertainment business niche. Today any internet user can subscribe for one of the feature-rich web-based entertainment resources and watch the most popular movies, TV shows and original programs in real-time regime.

Although the streaming resources are comparatively new web-based resources, they have already come to stay as a result of numerous benefits a customer achieve while using them. There are such bonuses as video search and personalized playlists, optimization of the streaming media, a rational use of bandwidth and etc.

However, the sources pose some risks and disadvantages for its customers too, which need to be solved before subscribing for a service. There are such issues as heavy bandwidth usage, online viewing only, pricing, geo-restrictions and some others. But one of the main problems many average customers face is geo-filtering, which has been implemented by numerous streaming services for protecting the copyright of the studios they cooperate with.

Thus, such popular streaming services as Netflix, Freeform, Hulu and others are restricted in access. The US citizens are able to subscribe for the channels and use them on the territory of the country. Whereas, citizens of other countries can’t run the services or can get a very local media content of their favorite streaming services. In this regard, having gone abroad, the US citizens are deprived of a possibility to watch their favorite series even with a license ‘in hand’.

Fortunately, many advanced customers have already tested several alternatives with the help of which any user can make his/her network free from blocking and surveillance. Among all the possible tools, such as SmartDNS, Proxy servers and other anonymizers, a VPN is stated to be the most efficient.

Having chosen an appropriate service and subscribed for it, any customer can unblock Netflix or other streaming services. It is pretty enough to choose a suitable VPN server and establish an internet connection. Having connected to a fast-operated VPN server hosted in the US, you will be identified by all the US streaming services as a citizen of the country, which gives you a chance to watch all the media content of the services.

When talking about VPN legality, many customers suppose it’s quite unlawful to access US-placed streaming services while being abroad. However, the main goal of the technology is to make your network protected from threats and make it free from all the prying eyes, as well as censorship and blocking. So, having decided to connect to the internet for watching streaming media, you need to get access to the channel and make everything possible to secure your network against multiple dangers.

Update: 12/04/2017

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