Digital Problems and Netflix Frustration

The internet has transformed our world in so many ways especially as a source of entertainment.   For anyone who has to travel with their work, it’s difficult to overestimate the change.  For me I can still remember checking into hotels and desperately trying to find something watchable on the TV that I could understand (i.e in English).  It usually ended up with some lame pay per view movies or a US based news channel available on an obscure satellite station.

Not so anymore, the internet has changed all that and the availability of powerful media devices like tablets and laptops provided the ultimate mobile entertainment center.   Of course, I am grateful and I’m certain travelers everywhere share that sentiment.  However it’s not perfect and that’s because of some stupid outdated copyright models which frankly have no place in the 21st century.

Now take my situation, I love Netflix and over the last 18 months it’s got even better.  Netflix used to only be accessible in the countries it was licensed in.  Forget the global, digital world there were loads of places where Netflix simply didn’t work.  Fortunately it expanded and made their service available in 140+ countries so now wherever you are, it’s pretty likely that your service will work.

However it’s not quite  that simple, because the Netflix account you use will actually change greatly depending on where you are.  This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re travelling to countries where you don’t speak the language.   For example in my latest trip I started in Slovakia, and bored one evening got into a science fiction show called The 100 available on Netflix.  This was great and I started to really enjoy it, and so when I traveled to the UK the week after I thought I had my evening’s entertainment covered but no.  You see Netflix licenses it’s content on a country by country basis and in the UK it lost the rights to broadcast this show to SKY.

It basically changes drastically from country to country what you can access, the only guarantees are the Netflix produced stuff which seems to be available across all accounts.  However some of the regional versions are quite small certainly in comparison to the US version of the site.  It’s not easy to switch either, this article – How to Watch UK Netflix Abroad is  some help.  However you need to use a VPN to hide your IP address and many of those are blocked anyway so will often not work.

It’s a ridiculous situation and one that will hopefully one day will be remedied.  After all a digital product shouldn’t really change depending on your location – after all I would never have subscribed to the Japanese version of Netflix but when I’m there that’s what I get when I log into my account.  Just like a Japanese subscriber would get redirected to a Dutch version when logging into their account in the Netherlands.

Further Reading:

Accessing BBC iPlayer in Ireland – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/bbc-iplayer-ireland/

 

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