Should you keep your USA Netflix account?

Shirley Liu 20 April 2015


It’s estimated over 340,000 Australians were already watching Netflix USA before the service launched here in Australia. How did they do it? And should they keep it?

Netflix was a global phenomenon well before it ever launched in Australia, and a well-established part of the American entertainment economy in particular. In late 2014, CHOICE estimated that 340,000 Australians were already tuned into the service, setting up an overseas account and getting around the geoblocking restrictions using a VPN. Although against Netflix’s terms of use, the company seemed to be quite lax in enforcing its geoblocking prior to the Australian launch. The question is, with Netflix Australia now live, is it worth risking a reprimand by having a USA-based account?

First a little background: geoblocking is a system that allows a service provider to block accesses to a product or website based on the region of the user. Your IP address betrays your location, allowing the system to work. However, by using a Virtual Private Network (or VPN) you can encrypt your information and prevent the outside world from knowing who you are and where you are. While not designed specifically for this kind of use, a VPN is a wise move for anybody concerned about their online privacy and security – we’ve got a detailed comparison of all your VPN options here.

Back on topic, the main reason why you may wish to keep your US-based Netflix account is access to TV shows and movies still not available here in Australia. Content you desire so much you’re willing to pay a bit extra and stream it from the other side of the world (which is never going to give you the best quality and experience) to gain access. According to our estimates, Australia’s service offers 220 TV shows and 900 movies at the time of writing, which is still a long way behind America’s 940 TV series and 6170 movies.

To help you make your decision, we have the two following in-depth feature comparisons for you to explore. If what you want is on the Australian service, you can jump across now on a 30-day free trial.

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