For Australians, two things remain the same: death and Foxtel. Imagine a time in which the tiny convict colony we live in can experience the type of content being shown all over the US and UK at the click of a button.
Bendalls account executive Andy Busch and I have endeavoured to work our way through the tangles of Apple Nation to reduce the TV subscription monthly bill that families are slugged with each month.
Andy tells me his own family toil stems from a total of four boxes being used in the house at any one time, as well as the archaic purchasing of movies for $5.99 on Foxtel – months after they are available online from the US.
In a world in which movies and content are available around the world for viewing everywhere but Australia, something has to change.
Infamous piracy destination the Pirate Bay recently celebrated 10 years in successfully escaping prosecution and providing millions (if not billions) of movies and software for the venturesome user.
It provides an interesting insight to the changing paradigm of the subscription television service.
Firstly, many Australian now have Foxtel and, secondly, find an Australian who had a choice in what subscription television service they used.
Twenty-one-year-old Andy laughed at the premise of waiting to watch something on TV that was available online through Netflix, Hulu or any of the other rapidly increasing internet subscription services flooding the US.
So began my quest to get Andy to provide The Easy Guide to Netflix.
There are three ingredients to bringing Netflix/Hulu to life on your home TV:
1. Apple TV (preferably Apple TV 3)
2. A wireless internet connection
3. HDMI cable
Note: Andy chose Netflix due to the larger volume of content, so this guide will refer to creating and getting started with Netflix.
Step 1: What gear you need
The only two bits of hardware you will need are Apple TV, which retails for $109 from the Apple Store, and a HDMI cable, which you can get quite cheaply off the net or any electronics store. Before adding Netflix, the pure Apple TV service gives you access to a large range of content, such as those featured in the iTunes store, in 1080p HD.
The Apple TV box (via a HDMI cable) connects to your TV, and through your home wireless network connects your computer to your TV.
Much like Foxtel’s ‘on demand’ movie rental service, Apple TV offers you a much larger base of movies. However, at $7.99 for a new release movie, it’s hardly economical to be watching a new flick every night. The fun doesn’t stop there.
This how-to guide details adding Netflix onto TV, not installing Apple TV itself. Although it is relatively straightforward, here is a walk-through video if you’re confused:
Step 2: Access
Accessing www.netflix.com from any Australian computer will show you this message: “Sorry, Netflix is not available in your country yet.”
Not available in my country? Ain’t that a bummer…Not! (Andy’s word’s not mine! He is 21!)
The vital step in all of this is to trick Apple and Netflix into thinking your computer is based in the US.
In order to do this, you need to change the DNS settings of your computer to show your computer’s location to be based in the US.
I used the very reputable Unblock-Us (www.unblock-us.com), which changed my computer’s address to the US. They do not log or analyse any data passing through their servers.
Quick extra tip: I did this at home to access Apple TV USA and bought iTunes credit in the USA, so we can access Apple TV USA, which is sooooo much better than Apple TV Australia.
Back to Andy.
To do this with Unblock-Us, follow the easy-to-do guide on their site, here.
Once that is set up, restart your browser and straight away you will realise by accessing www.netflix.com that the site has changed. Through your IP address, it thinks you’re located in the US and allows access to its mainstream site.
Currently, there is a free trial, so go ahead and sign up for that.
Step 3: Get it working
The next step is to get your Australian Apple TV device to pick up Netflix. As all Australian Apple TV devices are stock built without Netflix, you need to go into settings and change the Wireless networks DNS settings, much like you did with your computer.
After rebooting, your device will show Netflix, Hulu, and lots of other cool US only options. To do this:
- Click settings and navigate towards general settings to access your wireless network.
- Select Configure IP
- Input the following Unblock-US preferred DNS settings as 111.118.175.056
- Click done and head back to the general settings page
- Select reboot
- To access Netflix and the other US only Apple TV settings, scroll down to iTunes store and change the store location to ‘United States’.
- Again reboot the device
The main screen after reboot will show Netflix, Hulu, etc, and you will just need to log in using your Netflix username and password and voilà!
Welcome to the 21st century.
Note: check your data package and rates before using Netflix or AppleTV
Many thanks to Andy Busch: [email protected]
Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.