Hack Allows Canadians to Access US Netflix

Dave Zatz —  January 2, 2013 — 18 Comments

Know any digital media junkies living in Canada? If so, you’ve likely heard how good we supposedly have it here in the US when it comes to streaming video and that their options are seriously limited… despite nearly two years of Netflix. And, as it turns out, the Canadian Netflix library does indeed pale in comparison to its American equivalent. But some industrious individuals have managed to bypass Netflix’s relatively weak geo-authentication by merely changing their Xbox or PS3 DNS settings. The video above demonstrates how to configure a Canadian-based Xbox 360 for US Netflix and the process is similar for enabling US Netflix on a Canadian PS3. Of course, you Canucks would require an active Netflix account and will want to keep an eye on the video description for specific network settings as the successful ones seem vary by region and periodically lose access. Further, as Netflix encodes and distributes their streams in dozens of variations, this specific hack appears limited to the PS3 and Xbox gaming consoles… and the backdoor could be closed at any time.

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18 responses to Hack Allows Canadians to Access US Netflix

  1. While I haven’t visited Canada lately and can’t verify the results first hand, I have it on very good authority the solution works. And if you don’t believe my rock solid source, feel free to peruse the video comments for various success stories and test the DNS entries yourself.

  2. Those are the DNS servers from a “Smart DNS” service by unblock-us.com — nothing new there ;)

    Scroll to the bottom of this page, for example:
    http://support.unblock-us.com/customer/portal/articles/291548

    Though getting access to them without paying for the service isn’t very nice!

  3. P.S. And if you pay for the service ($4.99/mo) it will work on all platforms (e.g. iPhone, router, computer) and in all countries.

  4. Interesting, obviously someone is keeping up with this and didn’t realize it was a pay service. Do they also include a proxy or VPN? As far as not very nice, on one hand I absolutely see your point. On the other, intentionally bypassing regional restrictions is also not very nice? ;) I’m merely here to point out it has been accomplished with relative ease (compared to the struggles I had in getting BBC iPlayer onto a US Roku device).

  5. “While I haven’t visited Canada lately and can’t verify the results first hand, I have it on very good authority the solution works.”

    Yet another Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.

  6. “On the other, intentionally bypassing regional restrictions is also not very nice?”

    Tell it to my multi-region Blu-Ray player…

  7. Can’t answer your question about proxy/vpn services but I’m sure a simple look at their website will let you know ;)

    Yes, the Roku is a pain as you can’t manually override the DNS and it sounds like you have to register the Roku via their UK site and other hoops, maybe? I don’t do much with the Roku for int’l access myself as I make use of other boxes/options for that… :)

  8. Shhhh Dave. Stop being a buzz kill. You are going to ruin it!!!

    I’ve been using unblock us for almost 2 years now. As a cord cutter, I use it with MLB.tv to bypass blackouts, new movie releases from Netflix Mexico, uk, Ireland, etc., it lets you choose which netflix region catalog you want to watch. It also works great with bbc player and its live feeds.

    No proxy or VPN, just DNS settings. It won’t degrade your Internet speed.

    There are other, free dns services that only support minimal services. Fantastic service. Now delete this article!!

  9. Al, that did occur to me… and I did suggest to my source that publicizing this might not be in his best interest, but he encouraged me to proceed. I also figure with over 110,000 YouTube views and some stellar engineers, Netflix knows the dealio and hasn’t bothered to take action. Meanwhile, we’ll all hope for a better future with more online content, fewer inane restrictions.

  10. I can attest to this working through both the Xbox and the PS3 in Canada. No monthly fee required. Takes only a couple minutes to set up. Yes, one of the DNS numbers that works goes through unblock-us.com. But there are several other DNS numbers that work with the Xbox and PS3 . All quite findable for avid Youtubers/Googlers. ;)

  11. Many routers let you change your DNS servers. Doing that would allow you to “change” the servers on the Roku since it will just use whatever ones your router gives it. Actually it will work for all your home devices.

    The downside though is all your traffic will use that DNS. Using a non-local DNS can cause performance issues for any any-cast service (YouTube, Netflix, etc). TiVo’s HDUI is also notorious for having performance problems when using a slow DNS.

  12. FYI, to see how CRAPPY the Canadian service is compared to the U.S. service, check out this site that details the differences:

    http://netflixcanadavsusa.blogspot.ca/

    The Canadian service provides, perhaps 20% of the U.S. service. And much of the content available in Canada is the unwatchable made-in-Canada crap foisted on us by the CanCon rules! :(

  13. In thinking about this further, these DNS services must be actually be proxies and this approach simplifies the end-user config. Hm.

    Morac, what I was experimenting with way back when is a two-router solution. Granted the config was different, and more complex, than just DNS but I wonder if similar could work. But really who wants to go to all that trouble? The powers that be should just make this stuff universally available at reasonable rates.

  14. Sheesh. If Canadians spent half as much time lobbying for solutions as they do coming on US blogs to whine about how they “can’t get that in Canada!!!”….

    Every tech blog I read has at least one comment on every freaking story like this from some sour Canadian moaning about how much better we have it.

    This is the US. We invent good things. Why does this come as a shock that we don’t automatically make sure we deal with all the crap that comes with regulating a service to make it available outside of our borders?

  15. Anyone know if the DNS settings can be changed on a roku device?

  16. “Anyone know if the DNS settings can be changed on a roku device?”

    Sure. Easy, peasey.

    Just move with the Roku device to the country you wish, and voila!

  17. No, the Roku doesn’t allow for custom network configurations. I assume you could accomplish similar via your router, but that could impact performance all your other devices.

  18. I found a better VPN solution for Netflix hhttps://www.iwasel.com/en/ I am using this VPN provider for a couple of months with unlimited bandwidth and No restrictions over use.

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