Watching Hulu in Singapore… Really Can?
Backed by ABC, FOX and NBC (sadly CBS doesn’t like this idea…), no doubt Hulu is the best place to watch US TV shows online. Here are latest episodes of your favourite television shows available on the same day aired in the United States: 24, Modern Family, Glee, American Idol, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, more and more added every year. Authentic contents in original studio quality. They are not those pirated copies recorded from television and shared over torrents could compete with (* 720p HD video quality is available for Hulu Plus customers!).
Isn’t Hulu wonderful? Yes, just unfortunately it’s only available in the U.S.
and Japan (* Japan edition provides something different… let’s ignore it). When you try to access to Hulu’s video library in Singapore (or any other countries than US/JP apparently), its geographical restriction system will simply kick you out.
If so, how about… cheatin’?
Well, well, naughty boy, you’re right! Let’s explore all possibilities.
Solution #1: VPN
Smartasses like me probably will consider US proxies. Great! Easy and direct. There are quite a number of proxy or VPN (virtual private network) providers who even advertise themselves as a method to unblock Hulu (as well as Netflix – another popular online service not accessible in most countries). In general, VPN is relatively more reliable and secure than Web proxy in terms of videos online streaming.
After Googlin’, You may find a few providers, such as StrongVPN (starting USD7/month) or IPVanish (starting USD10.00/month). All of them are built with a simple concept: renting servers from United States, setting up VPN, then redirecting all your traffic through them.
Oooops. Sometimes it fails. Because Hulu continuously blocks IP addresses from any known proxy and VPN providers. So nowadays unblocking Hulu through US VPN isn’t the simple best solution any more.
Okay, don’t be pessimistic. This is not an end. I do believe a few newly VPN startups haven’t been blacklisted by Hulu… yet. As well, there are big players such as TorGuard (starting USD9.00/month), who own a large number of reserved IP addresses not in the range of Hulu’s blacklist… yet.
Solution #2: DNS
Bypassing geographical restriction also can be done by routing traffic through DNS servers in the U.S. It’s simple & fast, since it only routes traffic on demand, not redirecting any traffic like VPN.
Nevertheless, Hulu won’t stop blocking any known DNS routing server. So there are not too many providers who could route properly for Hulu access outside the U.S. Top gamers in this niche market are UnoDNS (starting USD4.95/month) and UnblockUS (starting CAD4.99/month) etc.
(* For unknown reason, my ISP’s transparent proxy disappeared since last month, so I couldn’t confirm workings below any more. — 24/09/2014)
→ Singapore ISP Transparent Proxy Issue
Singapore is a little different red dot. Required by Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), all Internet service providers (ISPs) such as SingTel, StarHub, or M1 etc must have a transparent proxy to filter contents such as pornography, racial or religious hatred etc.
It’s no big deal to VPN, but DNS has trouble. All DNS routing services couldn’t work properly with transparent proxy. Quite a number of complaints to ISPs but no way to fight law enforcement.
Anyway, a loophole I found is, no transparent proxy on network with dedicated IP. I guess IDA could easily trace and block anything since IP address is dedicated. I’m not sure how much a dedicated IP costs and it seems only available for companies.
For home users in Singapore, I have another workaround, which might be troublesome, but working at least. It’s like this:
1. implement a DD-WRT router for home network; 2. get a VPN with Singapore IP (VPN is on dedicated servers so no transparent proxy attached; IPs in other countries are okay but Singapore IPs will be faster in this case); 3. set up the VPN on the DD-WRT router; 4. set up the DNS routing service to the DD-WRT router; 5. Now any device (desktop, laptop, smartphone, XBox, Chromecast etc) connected to home network can use DNS routing.
Solution #3: ISP
It’s exactly the same as solution #1 or #2, but done by ISP at your most convenience. You don’t need to set up anything on your computer to unblock Hulu’s geographical restriction. Yay!
No, definitely not done by our stagnant giants StarHub, SingTel or M1. It’s those recent tiny fibre providers offering such value-added service to attract customers, such as ViewQuest’s Freedom VPN (starting $10.70/month) or MyRepublic’s Teleport (starting $2/month).
Still, please remember, Hulu could blacklist any solution above someday; and you know, IDA may also block any VPN or DNS service someday. Try at your own risk!