In our how to rip anything series, Jenneth Orantia and Mike Le Voi show you how to (legally) copy, rip or download virtually any form of media so you can enjoy it permanently.
Aussies may get a decent selection of streaming video options, but our US friends across the pond have it far better.
Each of the major US cable TV networks, such as Fox, NBC, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, ABC and CW (to name just a few) have their own web sites where you can stream full-length programs for free, and there are also sites like Hulu (free) and Netflix (subscription) that pool together TV and movie content across different networks and studios.
Even better, most of the sites give you an option of standard or high definition playback, so if bandwidth and hard drive space isn’t an issue, you can copy higher-quality streams of TV shows than you can from the Australian catch-up TV services.
US Video's free trial is pretty compelling, and a handy table on their web site shows comprehensive device compatibility.
All of these sites check visitor IP addresses to ensure that only users from the United States can access the content, but there are ways around this. Paid VPN services like AceVPN
can trick these sites into thinking you’re logging in from within a particular country, and start from US$5 a month. There are free VPN services as well, however these aren’t as well-suited to streaming video and tend to lag.
Another option that works exceptionally well and is easy to set up is a proxy service called US Video
. The service costs US$5 a month, and there’s a one-week trial to test it out beforehand. Setting it up is as easy as changing the Primary and Secondary DNS settings on your router; from then on, all of your web traffic will look like it’s coming from the US. The only downside to US Video is that Australian catch-up TV services may not allow you to stream content as they think you’re coming in from the US – although you can get around this by reverting back to automatic DNS address allocation in your router settings.
To copy video streams from overseas content providers, use the same programs we mentioned earlier
A well-known workaround for subscribing to Netflix, which is technically only meant to be available to US users, is by using an Australian credit card with a US address.