Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Traveling with Netflix

Living in Belgium I have not very many options for video on demand services, I can't get Hulu or Amazon video. For a long time I only got the BBC iPlayer, which outside the UK only works on iOS. But then, a few months ago, Netflix came to Belgium. A huge improvement, and saving me a lot of money on purchasing DVDs.

Netflix not only runs on pretty much any device, it also runs everywhere. While the BBC iPlayer would refuse to work in most countries, Netflix simply gives me access to that country's catalogue of videos. Especially when traveling to America that gives me a lot of new options. The only downside is that on coming back home, I lose access to that much expanded offer, and am back to the much smaller Belgian catalogue.

Now I understand that licensing results in TV series being available in Europe later than in the US. But why does the US Netflix have older UK series like Midsommer Murders, and Netflix Belgium doesn't? Why doesn't Belgium have even old seasons of CSI? I sure hope that with time we'll get access to the back catalogue of the US!

Content industry demands. They sell content in every region of the world exclusive to that region.

Netflix isn't available in Australia at all, but with an additional VPN service to pretend to be in America about 200.000 Australians pay and use Netflix. Content industry doesn't like that and is pressuring Netflix into counter measures to prevent access from abroad via VPN.

These paying Australians actually get called pirates in the media over there.

The content industry is still not realizing that physical borders do not exist on the internet. They should be happy about 200.000 customers. Netflix itself couldn't care less where you live, I'm sure they would happily offer a global service where everyone can watch everything they aquired the rights to.

Just imagine, the content from all over the world accessible in Netflix, Bollywood section, French section, German section, BBC section, just everything from one source. That should be the future.
Licencing sucks balls. VPN services are easy, and might also be legal. (I believe IP spoofing is perfectly legal in Norway.)

Netflix of course cannot say that they don't mind you using VPN, but they're not trying very hard to stop it.

Due to everybody having Spotify or Wimp music piracy is dead in Scandinavia, but movies and TV shows are pirated more than ever. An easy-to-use service with a good selection will beat piracy, but if you split the content among six providers and lock most of it away with regional locks, piracy still exists. Will we ever get that one subscription for streaming video?

Spotify is controversial - the labels love it, but artists thinks it pays too little. If the Spotify model survives, it will hopefully spread to TV shows and movies. Those who own the rights will embrace it, but they'll face fierce opposition from local distributors like movie theaters, who will hate it if a movie is released world wide on Netflix the same day they can show it.
They're probably rolling the ball slowly. Netflix in the US was the same way, and part of why I canceled at the time. Lots of cheesy 80s sci-fi movies, rare gem, mostly crap. Once the sub base gets solid they'll put those funds back into content acquisition.
You may want to look into XBMC (as in google "Youtube how to install XBMC").

Hope it helps. ^_~

What do you think of Netflix's search facilities? It always frustrates me particularly on mobile devices. You are only ever shown a small number of the movies and shows available in a category and the list of categories themselves changes over time.

Also if you were considering the VPN route Hola on Chrome is a no cost option for watching non native Netflix.
Maybe they actually are torrents sympathisers? ;-)
The geographical limitations of licensing are burdensome, not only for consumers but for artists and companies as well - but still there are good reasons for having them (no, not greed) and even if you want them gone, that is not something easily accomplished.

I'd imagine the reason for not offering uk material in Belgium could be the cost of licensing vs the small population of the country. It might just not be economically viable to offer the full program.
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