So, Netflix is coming to Belgium at the end of September, finally. Both Telenet and Belgacom anticipated this in the past year(s) by launching their Rex&Rio and Movies and Series Pass respectively. Netflix however, should be significantly cheaper (*) and offer a lot more content than what Telenet and Belgacom do. What content Netflix will offer is not yet known though. And this is what worries a lot of people. And it should! People wonder if Netflix’ catalog will be up to par with what they offer elsewhere.
Netflix does not offer the same content in all countries. Instead, it offers a catalog based on each specific country. The United Kingdom for example will see a lot more BBC content in its catalog than any other country. Australia has other content, the Netherlands have other content and so on. This means that you are in theory restricted to what Netflix offers you. In theory.
Luckily, a limited catalog in Belgium does not mean you cannot access the content of other countries. This article describes the steps needed in order to enjoy the full-blown Netflix catalog, including country-based exclusives! Beware though, there is an additional cost attached to this, although it is very minor.
If you browse to the Netflix.com site at this time, you’ll see that you are forwarded automatically to the Belgian url. It seems their site does a check on your location and forwards you to that sub domain on their site. There is no way to sign up for an account yet and they only offer you the option to fill in your email address to stay notified when they launch. A while back I really didn’t want to wait for the launch, so I decided to sniff around a bit to see if there was a way to sign up anyway and start watching.
The first thing to do was to get around that location check. What if we could trick the Netflix site into thinking we were browsing their site from another country, say for example the US? There are a lot of ways to do this, but the easiest, with the least performance drops, is through custom DNS servers. I’ll spare you the technical details, but suffice to say that this allows you to “change” your location to a country of your choice and hence enjoy Netflix.
So, for the tricky part:
Head on over to Getflix (this is the DNS service I use) and signup for an account! (tip: if you like them on facebook, you get a permanent discount!)
Once you signed up, sign in with your newly created account and head on over to the config page.
They have an excellent guide on how to set up your dns config on your computer, so I suggest you follow their guidelines. Please note that when you filled in the correct settings, it might still take a minute or two before the site recognizes the settings. (**)
Head on back to the Netflix.com site (important, don’t use the .be version!). If everything was done correctly, you should see a different page than before. This one should show a welcome message and a way to start a free one-month trial. Go ahead, sign up for your free month! (***)
After going through the formalities, you’re ready to enjoy Netflix. You’ll have the US catalog presented to you by default, since you signed up at the Netflix.com site. If you want to access another catalog, log in to your Getflix account and change the location in your settings page.
There you have it: using this way you can sign up for Netflix using their US site, pay only 12.35$ / 9.5€ per month (8.99$ for Netflix and 3.36$ for Getflix. Eat that Telenet and Belgacom!) and enjoy the full range of content available in their catalog. That’s around 11.000 movies or series!
Please give me a shout if you need help with any of these steps or if you encounter problems.
I’ll write up a guide in the coming days on how to setup a HTPC mediacenter (Home Theatre PC), in which I’ll highlight some useful things regarding Netflix, amongst others.
If in the meantime you want to check out everything that’s in Netflix’ catalog for a certain country, head on over to allflicks, which keeps a decent record of the catalog!
Enjoy watching Netflix!
(*) No pricing is known yet, but following their strategy in other countries, we can only assume they’ll keep the same price range in Belgium.
(**) The setup did not immediately work for me. I needed to disable my IPv6 adapter in my network settings and fill in the DNS server only in the IPv4 adapter! If you’re having issues, give me a shout and I’ll try to help you if possible.
(***) Yes, it is a free month, but you have to fill in credit card info and a valid postal code (in the country you’re signing up for!) in order for it to accept your free month. If you’re looking for a US postal code, try filling in the Beverly Hills postal code (tip: it’s the number from the 90’s teen tv show).
P.S. If you don’t want to use Getflix, here are a couple of alternatives: