Making the Switch to VPN: How to stream American online content to your TV from abroad
For expats who are still figuring out the best way to access American content while living abroad, VPN can seem too technical and too good to be true. But, for the first time in history, there really is an affordable way to get tons of American entertainment from anywhere in the world – streamed right to your television, laptop, Ipad and more.
For this installment of our beginners series, “Making the Switch to VPN” we are giving you a step by step guide to setting up your VPN home theater.
Step One: VPN Client Service
There are plenty of VPN service providers to choose from. (And many sites that specialize in reviews.) Make sure that your service provider has server options as close to your physical location as you can get, while staying in the country you want to connect to. Common American server locations are New York, San Francisco, and Miami. Without going into too much technical detail, this service assigns your IP address (which tells streaming services where your physical location is) to America, thereby circumventing the location controls. Think of it as a virtual tunnel to American internet.
Most providers will also have the option of PPTP or OpenVPN. Don’t let this confuse you, they are just different connection types. Sabai Technology staff recommends that you start with OpenVPN as it is typically a more stable connection and offers more speed control.
VPN accounts are available for as low as $55 per year.
Step Two: A Media Streaming Device
If you want to be able to watch Netflix, Hulu, or network channel streaming sites like HBOgo or ABC.com on your television, you will need a streaming apparatus. These start at just $50 and go into the thousands. Several popular choices are:
Smart TV: All the major television companies are making them now: Samsung, Vizio, LG, and more. These televisions come internet enabled and usually have some sort of web platform or app store for accessing digital content providers such as Netflix. This is the priciest option, but you can get a Smart TV for not much more than a flat screen television. So, if you are already in the market for a new TV, this may be the way to go.
Roku: This small (and getting smaller) device plugs into the back of any modern television. The Roku uses an app store interface that allows you to access both free and paid media content, as well as games and exclusive channels like the SEC network. (Roku is a great source for American sports!) There are several models of Roku, with the primary difference being HD capability. A basic Roku starts at just $49.99 and tops out at $99.99.
AppleTV: The ads say that with an AppleTV there is “always something on,” and with the Itunes store plus channels like Hulu and Netflix, they aren’t kidding. With the Airplay device, you can send content that is on your Ipod or Iphone directly to your TV via the AppleTV. If you are a fan of Mac products, at just $99, this is a no-brainer.
Step Three: VPN Router
This is the step that pulls it all together. A single VPN account is meant for a single device. Streaming devices don’t have a way of accessing VPN. So, you need a VPN router to bridge that gap. Running that single VPN connection to a VPN Router allows you to broadcast the “virtual tunnel” to all of your networked devices. With a VPN Router, the security and American connection can be enjoyed on all of your network devices throughout your home.
Sabai Technology makes a VPN Router that is extremely easy to use and sets up in about 5 minutes. This VPN Router can work in conjunction with, or in place of, your primary home router. The most popular VPN Router models are:
Linksys E2000: A just $129, the E2000 VPN Router is a lot of bang for the buck and is perfectly suited for an “average” user. Each Sabai Technology VPN Router ships with the VPN firmware already installed and is tested before leaving the facility. However, if you think you may want to stream multiple devices at once, play games online or will be doing heavy downloading you may want to consider moving up a model.
Linksys E3000: The mid-range E3000 VPN Router model is well suited for larger families or gamers. The same easy to use firmware is on this model, with the added benefit of a built in USB port if you want to connect a printer or external hard drive to the network.
Asus RT N16: The N16 VPN Router model is known for its range. Larger homes or concrete structures can benefit from the power that this model features. Families with heavy bandwidth usage will see increased performance from this model as well.
Up and Running
Getting started with VPN streaming can be a bit of an investment, but compared to monthly cable and satellite charges, there is significant savings to be had for a wider variety of on demand American entertainment choices. Hundreds of thousands of expats are using VPN connections to keep their internet American, even if nothing else in their life reminds them of home. Get started today and enjoy the relaxation and comfort of American entertainment so that home can feel like home.