How to Guide: Watch Netflix from Overseas with an Apple TV

I recently plonked down for the new 1080P Apple TV - and it's pretty good - except for one glaring exception - no way to watch Netflix.

I don't want to get too much into the politics in this article, but I will say that if I'm paying for Netflix, it's my business where I'm watching it at. Globalisation is a double-edged sword and consumers get to play too. The reason Netflix is not available in my country - is because there is a less competitive market here. Media companies have the ability to price things much higher to the local market - and consumers with no choice, pay for it. Sure, caveat emptor- but don't forget the other side of the equation: Caveat vendit - you filthy, money grubbing bastards.

Anywhooo ... this article assumes a few things:

1. You have a valid US netflix account. This means you have a US based credit card or a relative/friend who has set you up with a Netflix account. I won't go into the ways of getting an account here. But I imagine there are plenty of creative ways to get one.

2. You have a US iTunes account If you are not from the US, as above, there are ways to make this happen.

2. You have an Apple ecosystem with OS X Lion. Should work fine from a Windows computer, but that's just not what I have, so screenshots and explanations are in Apple-ese. Also, I've heard there are issues with Internet sharing of a VPN connection in Snow Leopard and earlier.

3. You have a VPN subscription. I use Hide My Ass. I don't know if they are the cheapest, or event the best - but they are one of the biggest and have lots ofservers. I reviewed a few different VPN services a while back - but Hide My Ass is my current one.

4. Your Mac is connected to your router via ethernet (wired) connection - not Wi-Fi and your Apple TV is useing Wi-Fi.

At the beginning, I should say that this was a lot harder than I thought it would be. These instructions are pretty simple, but they didn't seem to work the first time around. If something didn't connect properly - I found myself rebooting the Mac and/or pulling the power plug on the Apple TV. If something doesn't work, try that first. If these steps still don't work at all for you, there is another technique that will work - but it's more nerdy than this one and requires updating the firmware on your router to install the VPN directly on the router. ... yeah I didn't think so. Read on.

The first step is to set up the VPN. Hide My Ass has a pretty extensive server list. I try to pick one in a major hub like Phoenix or Los Angeles.

Next you need to plug the information into the Network panel in system preferences and set up the VPN there. Use the "+" to add a new interface. From the drop menu select "VPN" as the Interface, "PPTP" for the VPN type and give it a service name - I suggest the name of your VPN service. Select "Create".

Now that the VPN has been created, enter the IP address of the VPN server, your account user name and select Authentication settings. Select Password and enter the password for the VPN. For Hide My Ass at least, this is a different password than your standard account pass.

Exit out from the authentication screen and select the Advanced button from the main VPN panel. From the main options tab, tick the "Send all traffic over VPN connection" and click OK.

Lastly, from the main VPN screen tick "Show VPN status in menu bar", click "apply" and exit out of the VPN configuration.

Next, still in System Preferences, go to the Sharing panel. Share your connection from the VPN (in my case called "HideMyAss") over Wi-Fi. This panel has particularly poor UI, make your changes while it's unticked and then tick the Internet Sharing box to start it.

OK, that's pretty much it. Now configure the Wi-Fi connection on the Apple TV to connect to the hotspot connection you've created on your Mac. Now all the traffic going to and from the Apple TV will be routed through the VPN. Anytime you want to connect to the VPN, you can use the quick connect from the menu bar at the top of your Mac's screen.

Remember that in order for the Netflix App to even show up on the Apple TV, you have to be signed in to a US iTunes account on the Apple TV.

Load Comments...

Send this Article to a Friend

Separate multiple emails with a comma (,); limit 5 recipients

Your email has been sent successfully!

Manage this Video in Your Playlists

New Blog Posts from All Members