Use a VPN to Access US Netflix Content

Woman using Netflix on tablet
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Because of the annoying and convoluted world of media copyright, many international users cannot see all American Netflix offerings from their countries. For movie and TV distributors, the licensing and fees to circulate their content to these countries are prohibitive or are not profitable enough, so they just withhold their content. Australia, Canada, the UK, France, Mexico, and Brazil are some examples of who is forced to receive a smaller selection of Netflix choices.

Example: US Netflix users have access to approximately 8300 movies and TV shows. Canada Netflix users only have access to 4200 movies and TV shows (source).

To circumvent this bureaucracy limitation, users outside the USA will sometimes use a virtual private network (VPN) service to convert their connection to originate within the USA, therein unlocking access to American Netflix choices. 

This contravenes some of the spirit of the copyright agreements, because the users are essentially cloaking their actual location, and consuming the benefits that are supposedly reserved for those on American soil. Yet at the same time, these subscribers are paying the same, or more, for monthly subscriptions to Netflix, while being forced to receive a smaller selection of choices.

Netflix is very torn on this issue, as you might guess, as this regional restrictiveness does reduce the attractiveness of their service. At the same time, though, Netflix says that technical enforcement is not 100% possible with preventing VPN connections.

Does this mean that as a non-American that you will be banned from Netflix or be financially punished for using a VPN? At this time, yes, it could happen to you. As of May 2016, Netflix has started blacklisting some VPN providers and blocking those users from accessing US Netflix. Not all VPN's are banned yet, though; readers describe that they can still use some services to get access to US Netflix.

So, if you really want to see reruns of 'Airwolf' or 'Flashpoint' outside of the USA, get a lesser-known VPN and watch those episodes soon before your VPN gets banned.