*** Update September 2016: You now get Netflix in South Africa without the need for the DNS address fix described below. All you need to do is create a Netflix account using your South African credit card, and you can watch a selection of Netflix shows via the Netflix app, on your computer, or on your TV using a streaming device such as Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, or a SmartTV. However, if you want to see the exact same shows as available in the U.S., I believe UnoTelly might still prove to be useful, as it makes your computer or streaming device look as if it’s located in the U.S. It’s a better option than a VPN, which in many cases is detected and blocked by Netflix. So, should you want more options than Netflix gives you outright for South African viewing, read on. ***
As I told you in my last post, our family has been in TV nirwana for the last week, watching the latest Office episodes and a host of more or less free movies to our hearts’ content. All courtesy of UnoTelly, a relatively new DNS-based subscription service allowing you to access a wide range of US- and UK-based TV channels from overseas.
|Doesn’t this look just a wee bit tempting? From UnoTelly website|
This post will show you how to make it work for you.
Just to be upfront about it, this is not a comprehensive comparison of DNS services. I did not test anything but UnoTelly, who had contacted me about reviewing their product. If this is one-sided, so be it. It works for me.
The way UnoTelly works is by giving you a DNS-address to enter in your computer and all the other devices you might use in your home for streaming content, such as Wii, PS3, xBox 360, Blu-Ray DVD player, Android, iPad, Apple TV, etc. It’s fairly straightforward to set up. In fact, all I had to do was run the setup wizard on our three computers and then manually enter the 2 DNS addresses they give you in our router (the only part a bit tricky if you’re not accustomed to accessing your router), and voila: Netflix (and others) automatically appeared on the xBox as well as Noisette’s iPad. It would also have appeared on our TV if we had a network-enabled TV or a Blu-Ray player, but as it is I will have to buy a device such as Roku. More on that later.
As I’ve said before, the alternative to this DNS-based system is a VPN-service, and those have been around for some time. The problem with them, apparently, is speed – they can slow down your system to a crawl, since everything is routed through their servers. Not something you can tolerate here in South Africa, where everything seems to be close to a crawl already!
Let’s get started on setting this up (but read the entire post first, as I’m giving you some coupon codes at the end):
Step 1: Visit the UnoTelly website and sign up, for FREE. This is a very nice feature. You get their Gold service for an 8-day trial, giving you full access to all the premium and gold channels. Just make sure you have enough time to watch some TV the following week, so as to try out the full features before having to make a decision which service you like. After your free trial has expired, UnoTelly offers 3-tier pricing (payable via PayPal or credit card):
FREE: No cost, working just on your computer and a limited range of channels
PREMIUM: $4.95 per month, working on computer as well as mobile, TV, tablet and premium channels
GOLD: $7.95 per month, same devices as premium service but also access to gold channels
Step 2: Start the Setup Wizard and follow the instructions. It is important to set up everything on your computer first, before setting it up on other devices. I can’t remember precisely what it was that I did here, but it involved setting up an authorized network using my IP address, and then entering the two DNS addresses provided by UnoTelly into the network properties on my computer.
Step 3: Go to the Quickstart page to make sure that you are up and running. From there, if you want, follow the instructions to enter the DNS addresses on any additional computers, as well as on your router.
At this point, you should be good to go. Go to the Hulu website and see if it works. Without UnoDNS you would have gotten a message such as “sorry, this content not available in your viewing area” or something of the sort. Try the same with the Netflix website. For some reason I had trouble linking to Netflix initially, but downloading and using Firefox as a browser fixed the problem (not sure why, because now Chrome works fine as well, though Firefox might be a tad faster).
Check out all the other channels on the UnoTelly website and browse to your heart’s content. Some of them will still cost extra money, for instance while Hulu is free, you might want to upgrade (and pay for) HD content on Hulu Plus. And Netflix costs $7.99 per month. But that’s still a fraction of what you pay for Multichoice here in South Africa, and it gets you unlimited movie streaming. Skip the next step if you already have a Netflix account (you just might have to reactivate it).
Step 4: Signing up for Netflix if you’re living outside the United States is something I haven’t done, as we already have an account (based on our mailing and credit card address there) so I’ll refer you to this article on how to do it. It involves a few steps, including obtaining a virtual Visa card, but it sounds simple enough.
Step 5: If, like we, you have a TV in your house that’s neither hooked up to a Blu-Ray DVD player or a Wii or xBox, then you might have to buy an additional device to stream your newly acquired channels to that TV. I’ve determined that Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player is the best of about five such devices, but read for yourself in this excellent comparison on DeviceGuru.
That’s it. I wish you happy channel surfing with your newfound freedom. If you are among the first five readers to sign up, you will receive a 25% discount by using “joburgexpat” as your coupon code. This may not sound like much on a $7.95 service, however if you choose to pay for one year, you get the same discount on the entire amount.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, all I ask in return is that you use the Amazon links in this post should you choose to purchase a Roku device. Even if you end up buying something else it will benefit me. You can also use the Amazon launch box in the right column. Thanks!