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Can’t Watch Streaming Websites Like Hulu Outside The USA? Here’s Why

By Annie André

(Boring Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you use them to buy something, I may earn a small commission (which helps me buy more croissants) at no additional cost to you. Merci for your support)


Instagram in China?  Hulu in France?! Pandora outside of the USA? pffft! If you live in the US, you probably take for granted the fact that you can watch streaming video websites and listen to streaming music websites that many people around the world wish they could access. Here’s why some streaming sites region block their content so you can’t access it internationally outside the original country of origin. 

Why are some streaming websites only available in the USA

Why are some streaming websites blocked?

There’s no doubt that Hulu is one of the bigger streaming services in the US. Unfortunately, if you travel or move abroad, you can’t watch Hulu.

It makes no difference if you’re a US-based paying customer trying to access Hulu while on vacation. Hulu region blocks anyone and everyone outside of the USA: 

But it’s not just Hulu.  Pandora, HBOnow, and hundreds more streaming websites based in the USA also block their content from viewers outside the USA. 

The same is true of streaming sites in other countries. For instance, you can’t watch BBC iPlayer outside of the UK.

Related: How to watch blocked video streaming websites from outside the United States (legally). 

What does region-blocked look like? The dreaded restriction pop-up

If you visit one of these region-restricted websites outside of its region/country of origin, you won’t get a scary notice with a menacing red hand threatening legal action. No one will come knocking down your door and take you away in handcuffs.

You will, however, get an annoying and very frustrating geo-restricted message which looks different depending on which website you are trying to view. Here are a few examples of what you might see from Spotify and Hulu. 

Spotify used to be blocked in France but is now available. 

image of spotify blocked

 

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Partially blocked website: (country-specific website versions)

Some websites such as Netflix and Cartoon Network aren’t blocked outside of the US/region; however, the version you see in other countries is different.

For instance, in France, where I usually access Netflix, I get the French version. When I return to Canada, I get another version. 

The main difference between the American version of Netflix and other country-specific versions of Netflix is selection. There are far fewer movies and TV series available to viewers internationally than the American version of Netflix. Each country is different, but in some cases, it’s as much as 50 to 70 percent less content. 

Websites that are blocked outside of the United States

Here’s why you can’t view some streaming websites like Hulu Internationally

The reason why you can’t watch Hulu and certain streaming websites internationally is not that they are cruel. It’s due to licensing laws. By law, companies like Netflix can only stream content your country has a license to. And each country has a different set of content licensing laws. So every time a company such as Netflix wants to license content, they have to do it for each piece of content and each individual country. 

Streaming companies such as Hulu have an obligation to stop any user from viewing their content (geoblock you) if they have not negotiated a deal.

In other cases, it might not make sense to license a particular piece of content in another country due to low demand.

Is there a workaround to access blocked US websites like Hulu and is it legal?

There is no law forbidding the use of tools/ software to access region-blocked websites internationally however, they don’t always work. 

It used to be that you could use any VPN to mask your IP address and mimick a US-based IP address. But sites like Netflix and Hulu have gotten really good at sniffing these out and can usually tell right away that you are using a proxy server to access their site. 

If you want to learn more about how to watch region-restricted and blocked video streaming websites abroad, you can read about it here.

Government Censorship Of Internet Sites

It’s worth mentioning, that certain countries censor more than just streaming content providers.

For example, Mainland China drastically censors the internet by blocking access to over 10,000 domains, including Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, and The Wall Street Journal. Porn sites don’t stand a chance in China. Some sites are only partially blocked, such as Wikipedia 

[pullquote align=”cen”]North Korea’s DOMESTIC ONLY intranet system called Kwangmyong offers no links to the outside world whatsoever. It only connects cybercafes, libraries, universities and various other institutions with websites and email. [/pullquote]

Then there is North Korea, described as one of the few remaining “internet black holes,” which doesn’t allow its citizens access to the outside world at all. Except for a select few high ranking government officials and visiting foreigners, all North Koreans have no access to the world wide web.

But it’s not just Mainland China and North Korea that block websites.

  • British surfers are banned from viewing over 100 websites, most of which are blocked because they contain or deal with illegal pirating of music and video or copyright and counterfeit sites.
  • France is also believed to around 300 sites at the time of this writing. Most are blocked because they relate to child pornography, terrorism, or pirating or copyright issues. 

Which streaming video and music sites are region blocked internationally?

I compiled a list of streaming sites which you can’t view outside of the United States. It’s in no way complete, but it should give you an idea of all the sites which are not available to people around the world.

Shudder is retion blocked outside of US.

 

Streaming  Movie & TV Websites blocked or partially blocked outside of the US

Netflix USA version is not available outside of the US. 

Hulu
Shudder
FandangoNow
CinemaNow
HBO NOW
Crackle
Pluto TV
Popcornflix
ShoutFactoryTV

Websites as part of a cable package

FYI Network
Oxygen
USA Network
HBO
GO
HGTV
DirecTV
SyFy
Lifetime
Showtime
Showtime Anytime
DirectTV

TV & Cable Channels

ABC
Bravo TV
CBS
NBC
Spike
FX Networks
TNT Drama
TV.com
CWTV
TV Land
CNBC
AMC
A&E

News, weather traffic

CBS News
ABC News
FOX
WBTV

Educational TV And Movies

Smithsonian
History
National Geographic
PBS

Kids TV And Movies

PBS Kids
Disney
Cartoon Network
Nick
TeenNick
Nick Jr
Disney Junior
Disney XD

Comedy

Comedy Central
Adult Swim
Simpsons World
TruTV
CONtv

Music

CMT – Country Music Television
Pandora
MTV
Radio.com
Playlist
iHeart
Rhapsody
Slacker
Samsung Milk Music
VH1

Sports

CBS Sports
Eurosport
Tennis Channel Everywhere
FL GamePass
NBC Sports
PGA Tour Live
Golf Channel
FOX Sports
NCAA March Madness
FOX Soccer 2Go
ESPN
WWE
NHL Vault

  1. Although these websites are blocked outside the US, still everyone can access to these web sites Just by simply installing a Chrome extension known as “Zenmate VPS.” This extension change your current location to USA.

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