In this age of technology, where accessing content is so easy and universal, geoblocking content is something that goes against it. The whole concept of region-block or geo-block or geoblocking of content goes against the open nature of the internet. Today, anyone with an internet connection can get access to any kind of content except for content that is geoblocked. Generally, copyright holders enforce geoblocking to have different licensing schemes across different countries. Through geoblocking, they intend to increase their profit margin much more. But isn’t this whole concept discriminating? Yes it is. Thus, it is not a surprising fact that the EU has decided to abolish geoblocking and other copyright restrictions. When we see more countries participating to abolish this silly concept that’s the day when the internet will be truly free.
What Is Region-Blocking or Geoblocking Anyway?
Many of you may have heard the term “geo-blocking” or “geoblocking” for the first time but we bet you must have come across a page sometime or the other that says, “Not available in your country.” This dreaded message is so frustrating and we know how you feel. We are not lawyers so we can’t say if bypassing geoblocking is legal or illegal in your country (read our disclaimer at the end of this post). For the sake of this post, there are ways that helps you easily bypass the restrictions. Using technologies like VPN or SmartDNS you can easily access region-block or geoblocked content like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc.
How SmartDNS or VPN Bypasses the Geoblocking System?
Most of the popular streaming networks block their contents outside geographical coverage due to various copyright and legal issues. These media companies implements various checks to geo-block access to their content. At the most basic step, they try to find your location using your IP address. If your IP tells the system that you are outside their geographical coverage, they block your access. Unfortunately, you have nothing to do except using workarounds like SmartDNS or VPN services that helps you bypass geoblocking restrictions and regain back your access. The service tries to trick the geoblocking system by hiding your real IP address with a IP address that falls inside the geographical coverage area. Thus the system allows you to access the content without any restrictions.
Being from a country where we get to see our favorite programs later (even months or years later) from when the show was originally aired in the US or UK, it really disappoints us a lot. Although, the situation is changing as some TV channels have started airing shows almost the same time as it is aired in the US. The situation of online streaming options is pretty much the opposite. With no options like Netflix or Hulu here in India, we are left with nothing much except trying VPN. This is when we saw an email from UnoTelly service requesting us to review their popular SmartDNS service UnoDNS. UnoTelly is not primarily a VPN service provider (they do offer though) but is a SmartDNS service provider offering their flagship UnoDNS Dynamo service. There is a difference between both the technologies.
What Is the Difference Between a VPN and SmartDNS (Or UnoDNS as UnoTelly Likes to Call It)?
The basic difference is the way both technology works. In layman terms, when you use a VPN, your internet traffic is routed through the VPN provider’s server. You are assigned a new IP, all your data is encrypted and becomes invisible to your ISP. But it does slows down your internet speed and depends on many external factors. UnoDNS on the other hand is a Smart DNS service that doesn’t slow down your traffic. It doesn’t change your IP. Instead, it intelligently masks your origin country thus circumventing the geo-block (region-block) mechanism.
UnoDNS, A Super Intelligent Smart DNS Service With Unique “Dynamo” Technology
UnoDNS does not route your traffic through a server elsewhere. Thus it does not slows down your internet speed unlike a VPN. It is also easier to implement in comparison to setting up a VPN service. All you need to do is change your DNS to UnoDNS using your router and you can watch any geoblocked streaming media content using any device connected to that router. Once implemented, you can stream directly from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu Plus, HBO Nordic, Amazon Instant, Spotify, Zattoo, Xbox Video, and more using your native internet speed provided by your ISP.
Using UnoDNS SmartDNS service, you can unblock more than 350 channels (369 at the time of writing) which you can stream on your tablet, smartphone, gaming consoles, Smart TV’s and many more devices. And yes, laptop, notebook, desktops, or Mac too. All you need to make sure is, have them connect to the internet using the router you configured with UnoDNS.
UnoTelly Review: Is UnoDNS Really That Awesome as It Claims to Be?
After we signed up for an account and logged in for the first time, we were asked to change our DNS addresses to UnoDNS addresses. After it confirms the changes, we can reach any content without any restrictions.
If you want an insight on how UnoDNS removed the restrictions, here’s what it did. Earlier, when you used your IP address assigned to you by your ISP, the streaming service knows you are not from US or UK. Thus you get a message telling you that the content is “Not available in your country.”
UnoDNS servers are placed in regions where the streaming services are available. When you activate UnoDNS and try to access any geoblocked service, it tunnels your connection through these servers. It provides a local IP that is within the service’s geographical coverage area, thus you are not blocked from streaming any content from them.
Some channels like Hulu Plus requires a monthly subscription but they are categorized accordingly. We did tested a few subscription based services using their trial offer. We tested the Smart DNS service to access mostly the free channels. It all played nicely on our Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit machine.
We tested both the router option and the Windows client UnoHelper. Using the client is the easiest most of all. The main purpose of the client is to update your local IP assigned to you by your ISP to your UnoTelly account. This is crucial as it then connects the new IP to your account so you can reach the service. Sadly, it runs on Windows operating system only.
Without the client, you are required to manually update the IP address changes from the web dashboard. We will love to see UnoTelly releasing clients for other platforms too.
UnoTelly boasts a lot about their unique feature called UnoDNS Dynamo. UnoDNS Dynamo is, according to them, an intelligent DNS technology. It lets you switch between a channel’s regions. For example, with your US Netflix account, you will be able to stream from any of the 10 regions of Netflix available (with that same Netflix US account).
If you have used any other DNS or proxy services to unblock content, you may know the frustration of being limited to the U.S or U.K based content only. After testing UnoDNS Dynamo on a few channels we started liking the service. We are very confident, you will also start liking the feature. While testing, we were able to easily switch between Netflix from Brazil, UK, Finland, Mexico, USA, etc. with a single click. A plus feature which helped the service to gain extra points from us.
In addition to the UnoDNS service, UnoTelly also provides UnoVPN service. UnoVPN works with PPTP and OpenVPN Protocol support. The VPN servers are located at US, UK, Canada, and Netherlands. You can use the UnoVPN to access any websites that are not yet supported by UnoDNS service. As discussed already, technologically, the DNS service is better than the VPN in terms of speed for streaming online content. You can refer to the help page here to set up UnoVPN service. Your username and password is available in account settings page.
UnoTelly shined in all our tests throughout the period we tested the service. The extensive help and support available on the website is very handy. The wizard based approach to help you properly configure your devices for UnoDNS Dynamo service is idiot proof. The dashboard looks like Windows 8 Start screen which is fully customizable. You can drag and drop the buttons present on the dashboard to organize them the way you want it. All in all, UnoTelly is a great service that helps anyone stream geo-blocked contents without much hassle. The service gets a positive thumbs up rating from us for standing up to its claims.
UnoTelly Subscription Plans
If you want to the service, you can opt for a free 8 day trial account. You don’t need to give your credit card details. Use your email address to sign up for a free 8 day trial account. During your 8 day free trial, you will be able to try the UnoDNS Gold plan without any restrictions. After the free trial is over, if you like the service and you want to continue using it, you have to subscribe either the Premium or the Gold plan. Both Premium and Gold plans allows you to access all 350+ supported channels. The only difference is, with the Gold plan you will also get the UnoVPN service.
What are your views about “region-blocking” or “geoblocking” of content? What do you do to get past the great “geoblocking” wall? What do you think about the UnoTelly service or any other service which you use? Let us know in the comment section below.