For a long time on-demand television and film service Netflix was the stuff of legend — something to be enjoyed exclusively by those lucky sods overseas, like Wimbledon or enormous pretzels.
But then it arrived, streaming straight to our laptops and television, in a flurry of expectation.
Sadly, Australian Netflix sucks.
That is, by comparison to the American and UK versions, which are veritable treasure troves of entertainment: Breaking Bad, the X-Files, Twin Peaks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sherlock, Gilmore Girls… I could go on, but it’s too depressing. (You can read the full list here.)
The limited range of content is the reason that many savvy Australians choose to access the American Netflix catalogue via proxy servers and ‘unblockers’, which allow users to access networks outside of Australia.
Unfortunately, as of last Thursday, this is no longer possible, with Netflix announcing a crackdown to stop people accessing television and films not licensed to their specific region.
“Some members use proxies or ‘unblockers’ to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it,” David Fullagar, Netflix’s Vice President of content-delivery architecture, wrote in a blog post.
“That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are.”
Currently, all of Netflix original shows and movies are available worldwide and some have speculated that the move is a push to get more people watching them.
Regardless, Mr Fullagar said that the company was working to make all content available worldwide, but there is a “ways to go”.
“We are making progress in licensing content across the world and, as of last week, now offer the Netflix service in 190 countries, but we have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere,” he said.
“We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy. That’s the goal we will keep pushing towards.”
Users have expressed their frustration, with many threatening to boycott the service all together.
Other have suggested it will cause an increase in Internet piracy.
I guess I could always rent a DVD.