From the Blog

NetflixFirstly, what is Netflix? Netflix is a video streaming service in the US that for a monthly fee, allows you to watch unlimited movies and tv series. The service costs $7.99 which is around R60 a month. That’s 3 DVD’s from your local video store.

The problem we have with Netflix is you have to be located in the US to use the service. In order to get Netflix to work here in South Africa, we need to actually browse and use Netflix via a server that is physically located in the US. Sound complicated? Not really. Enter the VPN (Virtual Private Network).

One thing about all of this is both Netflix and the VPN you are going to use have trial accounts. Netflix offers a 1 month free trial and the VPN has a 7 day money back guarantee. So try it out and if it doesn’t work properly or you can’t see yourself using it, cancel it all without spending any money.

How to setup a Netflix account from South Africa

To set this up, you’ll need a valid US mailing address and a Credit Card. They run automatic checks on the address to make sure its a deliverable address. Use Fake Name Generator to grab a Zip Code and State, then find the exact address of a post office in the US using USPS. Post being delivered to a post office is definitely going to work. :)

Enter your Credit Card details and your Netflix account should be good to go! (There is a Paypal option, but you most probably have a South African Paypal account, which won’t work.)

Using a VPN to access Netflix from South Africa

You going to need to sign up for a StrongVPN account. They have a number of packages and payment plans, so choose the one that suits you best. (Choose the cheapest!) I signed up for the Lite PPTP 3 month account ($21). Once you have your account setup, read StrongVPN’s How-to guide to getting your different machines or devices setup. If you having problems with setting up the VPN connection, use their live chat feature. They available for support 24 hours a day!

Download the Netflix app (iTunes link) for your iPhone and iPad in order to browse and watch movies from these devices. To connect your iPhone or iPad to your TV to watch movies, either get yourself a set of AVI or HDMi cables to connect to your TV or if you plan on getting an Apple TV, Airplay will allow you to tap a button and start watching the movie on your TV!

You can also watch movies via your web browser that has Microsoft Silverlight support. (For Mac, only Firefox and Safari has Silverlight support. Windows has support for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome.)

Some tips and observations

1: I’ve managed to watch movies via my Macbook and iPhone. With iOS 4.3 coming out, Airplay will be available to 3rd party apps. What this means is with an Apple TV (mine is on its way from the UK) I’ll be able to just tap a button on the Netflix iPhone app (if they implement the new feature) and stream movies on my TV!

2: Apple TV and my XBox 360 have Netflix integrated into them, the problem is you cannot setup a VPN connection directly on these devices. So other than hacking your router to use the VPN directly, I can’t see any other way to get the native Netflix app on the Apple TV or XBox 360 to work here in SA. But with an iPhone, you’ll be able to use Airplay to view movies on your Apple TV via Netflix!

3: When you are connected via the VPN, your browsing experience is slower (Speeds seem to vary though). You literally only need the VPN to bypass the location checking of Netflix, so once a movie gets past connecting to the Netflix server and is checking your connection speed, turn off the VPN. You’ll be watching movies in the same time as it takes Youtube to load on your connection. I also found that I only had to do this once and every subsequent movie I tried, I never had to be on the VPN to get it to work.

4: I’m still learning all the tricks of how to get all my devices working. Initially I couldn’t get any movie playing on my iPad (it would just say loading and never play), but I tried it again this morning and it’s working!

5: You can’t really start watching a movie on your iPad and then turn off the VPN. The app doesn’t have proper multi-tasking, so it cuts out and starts the movie from the beginning and does their location checks again. I did however find that once I started watching a movie on my iPhone, turned off the VPN and then started browsing other movies, the movies just worked!

6: I also managed to get Netflix to work using the Boxee app you can download for your Mac or PC. I’m not sure if it will work if you have the actual Boxee device, as it will need the ability to setup a VPN connection.

  • Michael

    I am guessing that unlike PayPal and iTunes, Netflix does not do a country validation on your credit card number. Your credit card is a local one?

  • Mark

    Hi Jason. A cheaper way of achieving the VPN connection is to use the multi-platform Vidalia app from Tor Project (http://www.torproject.org/projects/vidalia.html.en) which gives you access to fee proxies world wide. I use this to validate my UK Spotify account once a month. There are a number of ‘How-to’ guides out there for example http://blog.tgummerer.com/tag/spotify/. Have tried to get BBC iPlayer working with this method but this requires consistent connection via the proxy so is very slow and the iPlayer download app is Adobe AIR based which I have found tricky to direct to a proxy address.
    Have fun!!
    Mark

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @Michael, I used my SA Credit Card for Netflix.

    @Mark, I’ll check that out and see if I can get that to work! I have read though that Netflix is a little more clever than using a proxy to mask where you coming from.

  • http://www.imod.co.za Chris M

    “With iOS 4.3 coming out, Airplay will be available to 3rd party apps. What this means is with an Apple TV (mine is on its way from the UK) I’ll be able to just tap a button on the Netflix iPhone app (if they implement the new feature) and stream movies on my TV!”

    That’s where it’s at!

    What does an Apple TV cost if you don’t mind?

    At the rate this is going, it’ll be worth killing my DSTV subscription and rather just investing in an Apple TV and Netflix account!

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @Chris Apple TV is $100 from US, 100 pounds from UK and about R1600 from some online shops in SA that have imported them.

    The new Apple TV won’t come to SA through Core because we can’t rent movies via SA iTunes account.

  • http://www.imod.co.za Chris M

    @Jason – R1600, what size is that? I think I must do some more research around these TVs, because R1600 is peanuts?

    Ye, figured that, stoopid SA laws and nonsense :(

  • http://blog.ainslie.co.za Chris

    Interesting approach.

    I wanted to watch TV shows on CBS and other US sites using Windows Media Center. I got TOR up and running on my machine and through playing with the config could tell it to only “break out” of the TOR network from a US location. This worked like a charm and now it’s time to try it with Netflix too!

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @Chris M, there is no internal hard drive. Go do some research on them first. :)

    @Chris, let me know if you come right with Netflix using Tor!

  • http://www.imod.co.za Chris M

    @Jason – Ye, sorry, when I said size, I was meaning screen size not HDD size, and now that I think about it, it’s just a device that connects to the TV :)

  • http://www.nicksoper.com Nick Soper

    A fixed monthly fee for all you can eat media is definitely the future.

    In fact we’re pretty close with Netflix’s $7.99 subscription for all the movies you want and with unlimited music downloads on the Nokia Ovi store on a new cellphone contract.

    I will happily say goodbye to DVD stores (booking movies? how last century) and the late fees associated with them.

    (Also loving in the post how 9/10 sentences finish with an exclamation mark! as well as a few smilies sneaking in there)

    Keep it up big man

  • http://www.nicksoper.com Nick Soper

    @Chris. I have always found the internet through TOR to be much much slower than without. How does streaming from Netflix work when you are on the TOR network?

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    Whatever Nick! Smiley’s are allowed on my blog. Banned from twitter.

    Also, this is some exciting shit! Netflix in SA!

  • http://blog.ainslie.co.za Chris

    @Nick. I’m going to give Netflix over Tor a try in the next day or two. Didn’t know how to register a Netflix account until now. Will report back with the details. As I said, I’ve done this for TV streaming and it is slower, but with 4Mbit ADSL and buffering, it’s workable!

    Truth is, none of these solutions beat hitting the news servers!! :)

    (Gratuitus usage of exclamations and smileys for Jason.)

  • http://Socialmediction.com Alessio

    Jason
    Is there any way we could get Pandora to work using similar methods?

  • http://Www.theengineroom.co.uk Dan

    Assume it eats your data allowance?!

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @Alessio – I’ll see what I can find out re: Pandora.

    @Dan – it does yes, but getting uncapped would help the problem.

  • http://socialmediction.com Alessio

    @Jason: Great, thanks mate.

    I use Grooveshark on a regular basis, and Apple hasn’t approved an iOS app as yet. I know there’s a Grooveshark app for jailbroken iOS devices though.

    Not too keen on jailbreaking, and heard it’s not really worth it.

  • http://grantstechworld.wordpress.com/ Grant

    Hy Jason whats the quality like considering our slow internet speeds? And would sharing your internet connection from your PC with your xbox 360 or Apple TV allow you to stream via these devices?

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @Grant – I haven’t yet watched Netflix through my TV, so can’t really tell what the quality will be like, but through my laptop, it seems fine.

    You won’t be able to stream Netflix using your XBox, but can use the Apple TV using airplay.

  • Matt

    Hey Jason,

    Thanks for the great site-it really helped with setting up my ipad!

    I was wondering if you could get existing movies you have on you laptop onto your ipad? Do I need a specific program or App to do this?

  • http://twitter.com/adielslarmie adiel

    @Matt: Until recently, you could copy content (iTunes friendly or not!) onto your iPad/iPhone using VLC, but apparently the app has since been removed.

    I suggest an app called AirVideo: It sets up a WiFi connection to your Mac/PC and allows you to stream any video from a designated folder on your Mac. Unsupported filetypes are converted on the fly & works great on my iPhone. Can’t speak for iPad as I’m not lucky enough to have one.

    Doesn’t strictly meet your requirements to copy video onto your iPad, but I think this is a sleaker solution & saves you HDD space on your iPad.

  • http://twitter.com/adielslarmie adiel

    Jason: Great post BTW!!! Would love to hear if this works for anyone else

  • Wat

    Seriously? Figuring out that you can use a US-based VPN, and a fake address to use US-only services is hardly groundbreaking. Some of us have been doing this for ages to use Pandora and Hulu, for example, or BBC’s iPlayer with a UK-based VPN.

    The problem here, though, is that, apart from the usual terms-of-service breaches, you’re using your South African credit card along with a fake billing address / zip-code. You do know this constitutes fraud, right?

    Pretty stupid, if you ask me.

  • http://www.imod.co.za Chris M

    Finally did some research on the Apple TV and it seems like a slick device, definitely worth happening if you’re a gadget freak. I must admit, the thought of streaming video like that is darn useful.

    For me, it seems more sense to buy an airport and stream from macbook to airport to AV receiver to TV, but that’s just because most of my movies and series are on my Mbp.

    I’ll need to go look at Netflix and connectivity to South Africa before I go that route.

  • afzal

    Just bought an ipad. How do I get to watch movies on my ipad. tks

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @Chris M, I must still write a post about my Apple TV and how awesome it works, so stay tuned for that. Regarding Netflix, after using it for a couple of days, I’ve realised it’s not worth it. Rather rent movies and series off iTunes instead of streaming stuff of Netflix.

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @Afzal – copy your movies into iTunes on your PC or mac and then plug your iPad into your machine and sync it with iTunes. If you struggling to get your movies into iTunes, you going to need to convert them into MP4 format. Just Google for converters (Handbrake comes to mind) and off you go!

  • Afzal

    Thanks Jason. What is apple tv all about?

  • http://www.imod.co.za Chris M

    @Jason – Please do that :)

  • Dyllan P

    @Jason –

    Just to assist those like yourself who have a US based Xbox Live account and therefore have access to the Netflix application on Xbox 360.

    You mention not knowing an easy way of getting Netflix to work on your Xbox without hacking your router. While this is an option (StrongVPN have a list of Linksys routers that they support), the cheaper option is to use ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). I’m a Linux & Mac user and have StrongVPN configured on both my Linux laptop and Mac Pro. If you enable ICS on either of these machines and connect to the StrongVPN you are able to connect your Xbox to the machines that have ICS enabled then you can use your Netflix application as per usual.

    An example as follows:

    Linux Machine – Enable ICS on the Lan Port.
    Connect your Xbox to your Linux machine via an Ethernet Port.
    Connect your Linux machine to your wireless adsl router or whatever provides your internet connection.
    Once connection has been established to the internet enable your Strong VPN on your linux machine.
    Open the Netflix application on your Xbox and choose your video.
    Once video starts playing disable StrongVPN on the Linux machine to get better bandwidth and better video quality from Netflix.

    Like you mentioned above you can turn off the StrongVPN connection once the video starts playing and the download speed will increase. So if you start the movie and the video quality is not great, turn off the VPN & just hang in there for a couple minutes, Netflix will recognize that your bandwidth quality has improved and adjust the video quality accordingly.

    On a bit of a different subject regarding Itunes US Account, (sorry im too lazy to go to the post), but recently Apple have implemented strict checks on physical address so much so that using an abbreviation on your fake US apple account such as St. instead of Street or Ave. instead of Avenue etc. can result in Apple rejecting your address. The only way past this is to make sure that the address is in fact legit it can no longer be fake and to omit using abbreviations.

    I hope this helps those looking to use Netflix and full Apple Store in SA.

    Cheers.

  • Etienne

    I have a great setup for watching my movie files on an iPad. Connect a usb drive to an airport extreme router. Make sure that the dtive is mac formatted. Then use the FileBrowser App on the iPad to connect to the drive. Any .mov or .mp4 or .m4v file will then stream to the iPad and will be watchable immediately. No synching with iTunes! My computer broke recently, but this scheme, once you’ve loaded the files on your drive, does not depend on one. The Airport Extreme base station uses *much* less electricity than a pc or notebook and I keep it available all the time. You really do not need to keep any movies on the iPad.

  • Whenjohn

    Hi Jason,

    Very interesting, although SAMSUNG has just brought out their SMAT TV , which apparently accesses Hulu Plus, Netflix & Blockbuster directly from your TV. Any comments?

  • Whenjohn

    Sorry. should read Samsung SMART TV from Dion Wired.

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    That Samsung TV won’t work with any of those streaming services here in SA. There are tons of licensing issues around it all, thats why Netflix only works in the US and also the reason why you can’t buy music from the SA iTunes store.

  • Rennay

    Jason, you’re a legend dude.

    Just got the setup working – albeit with an old Linksys WRT54G (with dd-wrt) on my home network. Plugged my Apple TV into Linksys – so can use Netflix directly from Apple TV.

    Advantage of this setup is that I can segment a “part” of my network to use StrongVPN. Just need to set up routing to allow AppleTV to see other devices on my network to access the iTunes library.

    Was incredible – watched a full movie last night – no buffering issue at all.

  • Dirk

    @ Jason and Rennay

    Man is blog is a great help!!

    Got mac book and ipad working in netflix but there is no air play??
    What am i doing wrong?

    Apple tv is not working because, i take it it’s because i have a belkin router. Does this mean i must look around for for a dd-wrt router?

    Thanks
    D

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    The Netflix app doesn’t support airplay (not sure if or when they will support it?). So for now you definitely going to have to sort out your router to connect directly via your VPN which will then allow you to use Netflix directly on your Apple TV.

  • Ameer

    Hi there , reading your posts is quite interesting , though all of this sounds greek to me , can you advise if Netflix will work with a Playstation 3 , or I recently seen an external media player that has Netflix pre-loaded ? i just order a 4mbps Uncapped line ..

  • Rennay

    @Ameer, you can use Netflix on your PS3. However, you will need to set up a router with StrongVPN. Follow Jason’s instructions (above) about how to set up a StrongVPN account – then follow the instructions about how to set up dd-wrt on your router (http://www.strongvpn.com/dd-wrt1.shtml).

    So, once you get your ADSL line, your ADSL modem will connect you to the internet. Your router with dd-wrt will connect to the ADSL modem and establish the VPN connection. Your PS3 will then plug into the router and use the VPN connection.

  • Grant

    Will a 1meg line be fast enough for netflix ?

  • Jon

    I have a workaround to watch Netflix Outside USA.

    Basically, you will need a Virtual Prepaid U.S. credit card and a proxy service to allow you to sign up and watch Netflix outside USA.

    I’ve wrote about in my blog here : http://www.unotelly.com/blog/?p=72

  • joe

    For PC/Mac, tunnelbear is an awesome little piece of software – able to watch BBC iplayer and Hulu for $5 per month.

  • claire

    hi guys, I have just bought a new samsung D8000 smart tv. I live in australia and want to watch some uk channels bbc iplayer etc. Is there any possible way of me being able to do this on my smart tv? I know I cant download vpn’s on it but someone mentioned going through a router? Its all a bit confusing, is there anyone out there with a bit of patience that would like to see if they can help me pleaseeeee??

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  • Preyen

    Great post!
    I’ve been using this solution for the last year, but had to figure out all of these things myself, and that was a bit difficult.
    I’ll be sure to send this link around to all of my mates.

    Heads up – when I started using strongvpn it used to work with Hulu, and that was actually my primary reason for getting it, but it has since stopped working with that service.

  • Snakey75

    How do I get the Netflix app on my iPhone 4s? I’m in the uk
    Thanks

  • Rennay

    Hi Snakey75 –

    One option is to get an iTunes US Voucher (from a provider like maximus-cards), create an new Apple ID using the voucher as your payment option – which will help you skip the requirement for a US credit card.

    Then, you can access the US iTunes store with your new Apple ID and get any app/content from the US store.

  • snakey75

    thanks will try that

  • Slims

    I thought I was a bit smart technologically but this is a new language to me (Networking etc). Bought my Apple TV in Atlanta last month with high expectations only to be disappointed my SA iTunes account can’t do pretty much. Setup I have is iPad 2, iPhone 4s, 3Gs, Apple TV, Macpro & MacBook Pro all in Home Sharing. That’s the only cool function I can use, but I want more…I want to be able to rent these movies & tv shows on apple tv, but all I can do,is to watch the trailers 😡. Am on Tëlköm Simple package and know nothing about VPN’s etc…pls help

  • Davor

    Hi, I think I might be retarded, but every thime I try to click the “I have a US mailing address” icon it takes to me the homepage where I am advised the Netlfix is still not in my country…yet.

    Am I missing something?

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    Davor, you need to use a US proxy when accessing the Netflix store, so that it thinks you are in the US when signing up.

  • Vtcoza

    Hi, have you got this working through an Apple Tv or PS3 in southafrica. i have it working on my mac..it seems its a mission setting it up on on a netgear router

  • Rosakrauss

    I’ve finally managed to get the whole shebang set up, but whenever I try to download the Netflix app I’m told my request cannot be completed. Anybody know what I’m doing wrong?

  • Juliet

    How do I get the Netflix to play on my tv from my iPad or iPhone? I have the apple tv but I can’t seem to push the Netflix app to the apple TV. Any suggestions?

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason Bagley

    Hi Juliet, the Netflix apps do not have airplay streaming, so you can’t push them to your Apple TV unfortunately.

  • Rath

    Hi Juliet and Jason, it is possible to stream from iPad to tv, once you are in the Netflix app , all you do is double click the home button, swipe to where the iPod controls are. You will get an option to project it to the tv! It works I hav tried it

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason Bagley

    That is true Rath! I forgot about the fact you can stream everything from an iPad 2 onto your Apple TV.

    I have an iPad 1, which doesn’t have that functionality. So there you have it Juliet. If you have an iPad 2 or the new iPad, you can then stream any app, including Netflix to your Apple TV.

  • Juliet

    Thanks Jason & Rath, awesome it works!

  • Marius

    Hi , will an apple tv bought in the USA work in south Africa as they have different voltage to what we have in SA ?

    Thanks
    M

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason Bagley

    Hey Marius, I’m not sure, but I do have a feeling it will work. I bought my Apple TV from the UK and it worked perfectly.

  • Apple TV newby

    Hi, Just got my AppleTV 3rd Gen but not totally understanding the VPN bit. Everything setup except netflix. Please help as to next steps.

  • Spoon

    Use unblock-us.com instead. it costs 5$ per month

  • johann

    Rather use http://www.unotelly.com its much easier and loads quicker than VPN and very easy to set up!

  • http://www.facebook.com/SyncMaster.CT David Van Zyl

    Yes it does work, it comes with the two pin plug adaptor (USA 2 flat pin to SA 2 pin)

  • http://www.facebook.com/SyncMaster.CT David Van Zyl

    I have just gone through a expensive process by purchasing the recommended StrongVPN Router (Linksys E3000) and the StrongVPN package of 55 USD and both Netflix and HuluPlus work fine. Worth every penny!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeanjacques.rossouw Jean-Jacques Rossouw

    Awesome! thank you for this information, I have a Netflix account but I cant use it in SA! Felt like such a waste of money but luckily I found your info.

  • Apple

    There is a much easier, quicker and cheaper way to get Hulu Plus and Netflix working in SA via Apple TV. If you need it done, drop me a mail on appletvsetup@gmail.com

  • Guest

    I can help. Mail me on appletvsetup@gmail.com

  • appletvsetup

    I can help. mail me on appletvsetup@gmail.com

  • appletvsetup

    I can help if you haven’t got it to work yet. mail me on appletvsetup@gmail.com

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  • karen

    hi Jason
    great post. am busy registering with strongVPN. just to confirm – you use your SA details here?
    did you perhaps have problems getting payment through?
    thanks

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason Bagley

    Hey Karen, yip, just use your SA details. Worked like a charm.

  • itshe

    the problm is that if your internet speed is bad you have a buffer problem. With DSTV only when it rains u have have problem. this thing is expensive as u need a uncapped 2meg line or a data card which cost an arm and leg. Aikona it sound cheap but u can end up with big bills. wait for it to come to the kuntry

  • MJ Curry

    thank you so much! i am just visiting SA for 2 weeks but never thought of using my uni’s VPN for this–it appears to be working–let’s hope it helps with jet lag!

  • Mark

    Great Blog: I Just Set this up at my house. Never going back to dstv. i found an awesome set by set tutorial here. http://darrenbarnard.co.za/how-to-watch-netflix-in-south-africa/

  • carlseb

    For the all the trouble you go to set this up you may as well move to the UK and watch it properly!

  • carlseb

    Download it off the app store!

  • http://www.lazygamer.net Gavin Mannion

    I use Unotelly. You set it up on the router and then anything that connects to it can play Netflix. Easily the simplest option and you don’t need to know any technical details to make it keep working..

  • Kendra

    Thanks for the video article jason. VPN is good if you want to hide your real location. However, about content streaming, I prefer the DNS option. Currently, I am using UnoTelly and have no speed loss which allows me HD streaming with my 10mbps connection.

  • James76

    hi all, please help, i have been running Unotelly on my mac to tv for months now, also have hulu account, just bought Apple TV, can’t get it to work, i have been through all setups Unotelly have to offer, can anyone assist me? Please, i am at my wits end!!