I’ve been hearing a lot buzz lately about a new video-sharing venture from NBC and Fox called “Hulu.” Basically the two networks gathered up all their shows (and a few others from various networks) and put them all online, and here’s the best part: it’s all free. Want to watch the new episode of The Office? Boom! There it is. Jonsing for re-runs of Arrested Development like I am? Say no more. It’s all there, with limited commercial interruption. There are even movies there too.
Fast forward to today. I was all set to check out the site’s catalog and start a vigorous veg-out session. The cheese puffs were in place. The sweat pants were on. The pillows – fluffed. There was just one problem: the site isn’t accessible from outside the United States. Buzzkill level: High. As old Billy Shakespeare might say, “Water, water everywhere, But not a drop to drink.” It appears that various licensing agreements prevent shows from being accessed outside American borders, and until that’s solved, foreign TV junkies will just have to hold their horses. Or will they?
Being the determined couch potato that I am (is that an oxy-moron?) I did a little sleuthing and discovered that if the Hulu servers can’t determine where you’re accessing their site from, they can’t block you from using it. To accomplish this little feat of internet trickery, I downloaded The Hotspot Shield from Anchor Free, a simple background application that disguises your IP address and therefore allows you to access sites like Hulu hassle-free. The only drawback to the program is that it inserts a temporary banner ad in your browser while the application is in use. Though a touch annoying, these ads keep the service free and also disappear the minute you turn off Anchor Free. In my opinion it’s a small price to pay for thousands of high quality full-length TV shows and movies. Thanks to this simple hack, I will never have to leave my apartment ever again. I just hope the elastic in my sweat pants is durable, because lord knows, if I keep pounding these cheesy-puffs like I am now, I will be giving that waistband a workout.