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My Netflix + VPN Experience…

Let me preface this by saying that this is personal experience with these services and that your mileage may vary (YMMV)

Ok. So I decided I wanted to try Netflix.

I knew that I had to tackle two main issues:

  1. I needed a US issued credit card for the Netflix subscription
  2. Spoof my IP so that it appears my location is in North America instead of Asia

For issue 1, I used entropay.com to create a virtual credit card (VCC). Then I loaded it with US$ 20.

So that’s US$ 20.99 (entropay charges 4.5% to load a vcc)

Now issue 2, is where it gets a bit more complicated.

I first signed up for 7-day RISK-FREE trial @ $74.95 for one year ($6.25/mo.) (BEST VALUE) on proXPN.com (used a 20% off promo code: tnt = twit.tv/tnt) this comes out as US$ 59.96 I downloaded their Windows app and was able to connect my notebook to their VPN was able to access Netflix and create a 1 month free trial account. This is the streaming account and does not include DVDs which you don’t need really. I also downloaded the netflix iOS app

The problem: I was able to access netflix.com and watch on chrome BUT any other site I went to gave me an error.

I then proceeded to try and put VPN on the router level, I tried to look for documentation but there wasn’t a lot for proXPN so that failed. I downloaded their app and got VPN profiles setup, connecting to their VPN was hit or missed and I was plagued with the same issues of not being able to browse and netflix iOS not working either.

So that’s a bust. I submitted a support ticket to cancel my premium account and get a full refund. Processing takes a 2 days and refund an additional 10. So if all goes well I get back the US$ 59.96

Next I tried strongvpn.com (thanks @loman for the recommendation). My friend has been using them for 1.5 years with PLDT DSL (more on this later)

Like proXPN I had to sign-up for a premium account before I could try it. I got the PPTP US$ 55/year with 7 DAY FREE TRIAL. So I plunked down the US$ 55 and proceeded with setting up strongvpn on my Linksys WRT610N. The thing about strongvpn is their support is excellent. The live online chat had very polite and sharp techs. He/She guided me in flashing my router with their build of WD-RT and also inputting all the settings. Stellar support all the way.

So I got strong VPN working on my router and my IP was showing United States. Netflix on iOS and on browser was working but the resolution was terrible.

Next I downloaded the netflix app for PS3 and signed in with my credentials. This app kept giving me error ui-113. Suddenly, Netflix finally started to work on the PS3 but the quality was terrible and the buffering was unbearable.

Did a lot of troubleshooting w/ the help of strongvpn tech but in the end it was the bandwidth that was the culprit. It appears that my ISP SkyCable (or SkyBroadband) was somehow throttling connections to the USA. I am on their PhP 3999/mo - 5Mbps unlimited plan.

Here are some speedtests…

This is with strong VPN ON –

 StrongVPN-2874298271

These are with strong VPN OFF – note the speed difference between USA & PH

NoVPN-CA-2874385256NoVPN-PH-2874413691

So my netflix was buffering a lot and was stuck on 240SD (that’s cellphone quality??)

StrongVPN was relatively easy to setup and was working on the router side and iOS BUT the speed was horribly affected. I did not think SkyCable would be able to fix this (their support is pretty terrible). So I had to cancel my strongVPN account while it was still in the 7 Day trial period. It will take 7 – 10 days for the refund to be processed.

Here are some screenshots of netflix on iOS

IMG_0334

As I said the quality was quite poor… IMG_0338

however some time later it began to improve…IMG_0345

I also tested strongvpn with SMART LTE.

IMG_0346

Surprising that the quality was this good however I was at a SMART LTE zone and it was early in the morning (less users) so take this with a grain of salt.

IMG_0351

I also cancelled my netflix account. Trial period ends 30-Aug-2013.

I think I will wait for fiber to be readily available to everyone, as of this writing it is only available to exclusive villages – read: RICH people. Hopefully netflix would still be in business by then OR the Philippines would no longer be blocked from streaming services (is it wrong to dream…?)

Any SkyBroadband subscribers using VPN which company/service do you use, how is it for browsing and streaming?

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