Some of the best TV shows and movies are restricted to US sites. It can take months or even years for a show to syndicate to a country, and buying DVDs feels like digging into ancient technology these days.
Pirate streams and downloads are options for some, but they’re full of virus risks. Even if you’re good about avoiding viruses, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may shut down your connection or throttle your internet–even if it’s not allowed by law.
Here are a few details about Amazon Fire TV service blocks, and ways to get around the system to see the movies and show you want to see.
How Does Amazon Fire Block Customers Outside The US?
An easy way to block users is by their IP (Internet Protocol) address. This address identifies your specific computer on the internet, and is essentially your identity on a network.
This regional blocking is called Geo-blocking, and serves multiple purposes. Some are due to business management practices, while others may be caused by local government rules. Some blocks are caused by multiple cultural and economic reasons that are hard to pinpoint. An example is blocking access to sites that pay in a specific currency that isn’t allowed or circumvents local economic rules.
Entire groups of addresses can be blocked. One of the easier, standardized ways to block entire groups of IP address is to block by region, which is often used to block certain markets are block specific areas.
Specific blocks can be placed on users that cause problems for the service. Because Amazon Fire is subscription-based, users can be blocked by their account and lose access completely. Violators are usually free to open another account and purchase new service, which brings in more money for the company.
It’s extremely rare to receive a specific IP ban. You would have to be the source of some heavy abuse to be banned by your IP address alone. It’s impractical in a business where many users bend the rules, and not very efficient since IP address can be changed.
How To Get Around Amazon Fire Region Blocks
The easiest way to avoid regional blocks is to change your IP address. You essentially need to make your internet connection look like whatever the server allows. In this case, you need a US-based IP address.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is used to create a secure, private tunnel for internet traffic. It’s often used to make identity theft and spying harder, but part of its security is exactly what you need. Surfshark (https://surfshark.com/download/amazon-fire-tv) is a VPN that promotes security, masks your IP address, and provides other benefits to make streaming easier.
When you connect to a VPN, you usually need to select a network location. These locations are based out of specific cities and countries, and it’s easy to choose a location that matches your needs.
If you want to access US-only Amazon Fire, Hulu, Netflix, or YouTube, you just need to choose a US location in the VPN. If you want to access a Japanese-only website or game, the same goes. The online gaming world often sees new games released in Korea first (with IP restrictions for various reasons), and gamers can choose Korean VPN servers to gain access.
It’s that simple. While most VPN service customers have bigger security concerns, your main concern is looking like a connection from the right country for your video, audio, website, or other content.
Contact a VPN privacy and routing professional to discuss other details about accessing services like Amazon Fire TV, Netflix, and Hulu.
Why Does Amazon Restrict Content To US-Only?
Restricting access by country happens on almost every major streaming platform, and it’s different depending on the country. There are a few reasons to limit access, but the two main issues are licensing and server resources.
When a series releases, the rights are often given to a local group. A studio, producer, or production company in a show’s host country (the country where it was created or first released) usually has rights in the main country, but may sell it to other companies in other countries.
One of the reasons that Rome fell was because it was too big, and it’s a lesson that many nations and businesses both follow and fail to learn from. Most streaming companies know that market control is a very careful balance because it’s not just collecting fees from customers who are hungry for their content.
Some companies may have specific laws governing how a show is given to the public, and may require different censorship or accessibility options. The main studio would have to spend time and money research what to do to stay legal in the country just to make money without being fined and potentially losing future business in that country.
An easier option would be to partner with a local distributor who can handle the local requirements. This partnership may be mutual, or the streaming company could buy out a company to have a pre-built local distributor that delivers foreign money without needing to invest in heavy ground-level research.
When people view Amazon Fire or other services outside of their normal country, they could be taking money away from local distributors. Amazon or a studio on Amazon services may want to help out a distributor who needs to sell off DVD stock before allowing people to watch a series online, or there may be a controversey that needs to be censored before exposing an entire nation of people who may not know about the series already.
Server management is another big issue. While some low-end, growing companies only have one server location for the entire world, bigger businesses with global clientele will spread out their server load.
Customers in the United States of America can connect to servers in the USA. Customers in the United Kingdom will connect to the UK, and the same goes for other countries or regions.
When too many people from across the world connect to USA servers for a new, currently America-only series, the system becomes overloaded. While businesses need to plan for higher than expected system loads, a company that builds too many servers will have expensive maintenance bills when a show is over, but the electrical bills and repair bills keep piling up.
Instead, just-in-time delivery and a more accurate measurement of server needs is used to give specific regions the servers they need. In many cases, this server load is combined with local translation needs and other local requirements to ensure one big, smooth release date.
The delays are sometimes to create the best, most convenient experience for local markets as possible. Unfortunately, in some cases the US-only block will prevent markets that will >never see a local release.
Thankfully, getting around such blocks is easier than ever.