Imagine you are travelling abroad and you want to watch some catch up TV. You fire up your laptop, iPad or smartphone – only to discover that it’s not available for replay in your area. You might be an American abroad who wants to watch ABC, Hulu content, iTunes, or something from your Netflix queue. Or, perhaps, you are a Brit somewhere else in Europe who wants to watch the BBC iPlayer. Sadly, you’re out of luck and the content providers just couldn’t care less.
Geolocation restrictions to content are an Internet cancer. Nothing is more irritating than finding out that you are unable to play a video because you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As more Video on Demand (VOD) services come online, this is likely to affect everyone. But there are solutions. Once of which is Overplay.
Overplay is a simple service to use. Simply go to their website and sign up for a subscription. At the time of writing, it was less than $10/month. Then, download the Overplay application to your PC or Mac.
Overplay creates a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between you and their Server. This basically tunnels all of your Internet traffic from wherever you are to make it appear to be originating from where the Overplay VPN Server is located. For instance, you might be in Berlin but want to appear to be in the West Coast of the USA. All you have to do is connect to the Overplay West Coast USA VPN Server and you will appear to be surfing from there instead.
The process is simply. You just fire up the Overplay application, log in and specify which geographic location you want to appear to be in. That’s it – that’s all you have to do. From that point on, your computer will appear to be in whatever geographic VPN you ask the Overplay application to connect to. Overplay has VPN servers in the US (East Coast, Central and West Coast), UK, Ireland, Canada, Sweden, Japan and Switzerland (amongst others), so you should find a Server that allows you to watch the content you want to see.
Using Overplay on the iPad is also very easy. All you have to do is go to the Overplay website and get the configuration details. Then, you go into the iPad ‘Settings’ and configure a VPN for Overplay iPad. You can set up a VPN configuration file for as many VPN servers as you would like to connect to. After you have done this, all you need to do is connect your iPad to the Internet (either via WiFi or 3G – if available) and then click on the VPN you would like to use. That’s it. All your traffic will now appear to be originating from that VPN server.
For example, you could create an Overplay iPad VPN for the West Coast USA, and Overplay iPad VPN for Japan, and so on and so forth. By connecting forcing my iPad’s WiFi connection to use one of these VPN settings, I appear to be residing in that geographic region.
The same is true for Overplay iPhone – settings are almost identical.
In summary, then, Overplay offers a good way to make your laptop, iPad or iPhone appear to be browsing and accessing content from different countries and geographic regions, depending upon the VPN settings that you configure on your device – and dependent upon what VPN servers the Overplay service have in operation.