For those living within United States territory, accessing music, shows and movies through Pandora, Netflix or Hulu is as easy as creating account. Not so much if you live elsewhere, thanks to region locking due to licensing issues. The solutions to this problem for those living outside of the United States are many, but they all have the same end – fooling target websites into thinking you’re trying to access them from within the United States. Obviously, it’s a legal grey area – Netflix and Hulu aren’t denying people access to their services because they want to. But, that won’t stop many from trying to circumvent region locking anyway, so they can watch the 37th running of American Idol or whatever number they’re on now.
What could stop people is the complexity of the solutions available. Using proxy servers or VPN tunneling, while not extremely difficult, does require a certain amount of technical knowledge. UnoDNS doesn’t require that kind of knowledge, though it helps to have it so you can understand what it is that you are using.
UnoDNS tricks websites like Netflix and Hulu by letting you access them via the UnoDNS DNS server. DNS, or Domain Name System, translates URLs into numerical IP addresses that are legible to network servers. Usually, your DNS server is automatically set by your ISP or your router – probably a local one. You always have the freedom to designate your own DNS server, though. All UnoDNS does is substitute the DNS server you’re using with theirs. This is handled by the UnoDNS setup wizard – you don’t really need to get into the ins and outs of how to adjust your computer’s or router’s DNS settings unless you want to.
The problem with this is that it means you’re directing your Internet traffic through UnoDNS. That’s a fair security concern for some, for two reasons. One is the risk of external attack – you’re relying on UnoDNS’s server to be secure. But, the same kind of risk is inherent in all services you use on the Internet, and none are invulnerable – ask LinkedIn or the dozens of other companies that have been the victims of hacking attacks. UnoDNS does use Comodo SSL encryption, though, which is formidable enough to allay some fears.
The second reason for concern is internal – you’re trusting UnoDNS. According to the people behind UnoDNS, only the traffic marked as one of the services they provide (Netflix, Hulu, etc) will be sent through their systems, while the rest of your traffic (email, Facebook, etc) will be ignored. That’s asking for a lot of trust, but UnoTelly has been around for a few years and hasn’t ripped anyone off yet. As far as trust goes, you could do worse.
Setup is simple and straightforward. After using UnoDNS to access both Netflix and Hulu, it’s become clear that performance is not an issue – all videos have run smoothly and without interruption. I have been using the service on my notebook running Windows, but the service is compatible with Mac, Linux, Smart TVs, video game consoles, set-top boxes, smartphones, and tablets, as well. If you wish, you can also enter their DNS server into your router’s settings to cover your entire home network.
UnoDNS is available in three levels – free, premium, and gold. Free only works with computers, and gives access to fewer websites. Websites available on the free version include Pandora, Spotify, and Amazon Instant Video, among others. Free does not include Netflix or Hulu. Premium, which costs $4.95 per month, does include Netflix and Hulu Plus, as well as video from network websites like BBC, ABC and ESPN. Gold, which costs $7.95 per month, includes offerings like TNT, Adult Swim, and National Geographic. You can browse the entire list of channels offered here.
The advantage of UnoDNS is its ease of use. There are other free solutions to the problem of region locking, but none are as simple as UnoDNS, and after set-up, you don’t need to worry about it again – just browse the websites in question as you would normally. It would be as if you were accessing Netflix or Hulu from within the United States, because that’s basically what is happening. If you’re living abroad and are tired of hearing about all the television your friends are talking about without knowing what’s going on, UnoDNS is a simple, fast service that works well and is reasonably priced.