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European Initiative – Is the Digital Market Changing

It’s almost essential nowadays to have access to a VPN or proxy service, not just for the security concerns but because the internet has become a minefield of blocked sites, copyright issues and geo-inspired redirections.    A few years ago, you were rarely blocked from any website but now it’s a daily occurrence and if you live outside Europe or North America it can be even worse.

Now there are lots of reasons for these blocks but most of them revolve around copyright and profit maximisation.  Sometimes that video or movie is only licensed in a specific country so cannot be broadcast to other locations – a ridiculous notion in the concept of a global network like the internet. However there is an important proposal being tabled by the European Union that could change the way that digital products are sold and distributed across the world.

Basically it is proposing a ruling that ensures the portability of digital products in line with one of the EU’s fundamental ideals of a single market.    What that means is that if you buy a service anywhere in Europe you should be able to access your purchase from anywhere.  This is clearly not the case at the moment, even to the extent that a British License fee payer loses access to the iPlayer the minute they leave the confines of the UK.  They are not alone and virtually every global media service blocks and restricts access based on locations.

bbceu-iplayer

This would be fantastic for the consumer and no longer would we need to use a plethora of proxies to access content online.   It does get ridiculous sometimes, when you switch from a US VPN like this one minute in order to watch NBC and then to a UK one to watch  the BBC.  Some days I switch IP addresses a dozen times to avoid various blocks especially if I visit the Far East   It’s also getting worse with the BBC who were reasonably relaxed about these circumvention techniques now starting to target and block VPNs in order to maximise their commercial revenue from the new BBC Store.

It’s frustrating to see a service like Netflix delivering vastly different products dependent on your location – the US version of Netflix has thousands more films than most other country variants.   Obviously the Media companies are less than impressed mainly because it restricts the level at which they can leverage different markets to maximise their profits.  One comment from the leaders of a TV and media lobby –

“Any intervention that undermines the ability to license on an exclusive territorial basis will lead to less investment in new products and reduce the quality and range of content available to consumers.”

John McVay – CE of TV Producers Organisation Pact

There is plenty of opposition from other media organisations of course and whether any proposals can withstand the lobbying remains to be seen. It is still unclear if the changes would permeate to the USA but in all it could be significant change in the way we access digital products and services.

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Just to Share

You know sometimes you just wanna share a song…….

It’s worth a listen….

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So Can I Watch UK TV in the USA

The trouble with most media websites is they look at your IP before determining what you can see online. More precisely they look at WHERE your IP is authorized to.  Some internet sites like search engines use this to tailor your search results, to ensure that you do not end up getting a plumber who lives on the reverse side of the planet when you sort “local plumber” into Google.

So that is great but regrettably that is just about the only advantage.  Much more often it is used to prevent access,  so if you need to see US TV stations on line from Europe or perhaps British TV whilst in the US then you’ll be out of luck.
Here’s an example of the kind of display that you’ll get if you do try….

You’ll have the same sort of difficulty  if you attempt to access NBC, ABC, Hulu or even Pandora from anyplace outside the USA – because you don’t have a US IP.   It gets really annoying,  particularly when you travel a lot and discover your self blocked from your favorite web sites simply because you happen to be in another location briefly.

Fortunately it’s possible to sidestep these blocks and actually a complete little miniature industry has developed into allowing completely unfettered use of these web sites.

OK just  for illustration,  although the same applies to almost every single media site in the world – let’s try and watch the wonderful BBC Iplayer from outside the UK.  We’ll just use a security program called Identity Cloaker to access the BBC to demonstrate.  The trick is to fool the website into thinking you’re in the UK.  This is done by connecting via a different IP address, one based in the UK and hidden by a proxy server.

Here’s what I actually do

 

That is the small front end of Identity Cloaker which offers you the list of all the proxy servers (about 10 pages of them across a dozen countries).  We want a UK one as that will give you a British IP address whcih is essential for UK TV in the USA.  In this screen you search down and look for a UK host which has the fastest speed to your relative location. You can also access sites in the United States, Italy, Germany, Canada, Holland and some more places simply by choosing the correct banners.

After selecting this server you will have no problems – simply go to the BBC website and watch whatever you like.  You can even disconnect after the programme you wish to watch has started playing (although if you need to change you’ll need to connect to a UK server again).

It’s very easy to use thanks to the point and click interface of Identity Cloaker.  It will allow you to  see UK TV in almost any country at all, your location simply doesn’t matter. There are loads of providers out there now , but I truly can recommend Identity Cloaker, they have now been around many years, really fast servers  and do not charge per proxy like most of the companies.

There’s a really cheap demo for 10 days for a couple of dollars here — Identity Cloaker 10 day trial — try it first to check out how it works for you.