Posts tagged ‘video’

How to Watch Blocked Internet Videos

By Chad Upton | Editor

The internet is a great place to catch TV shows and clips that you or your PVR missed.

Unfortunately, a lot of websites only allow their video content to be viewed in their service area. It’s not because they’re mean, they may have contracts that prevent them from distributing outside their area, not to mention cost savings reasons.

That’s right, it’s expensive to stream video over the internet to thousands or hundreds of thousands of people in a reliable way. You need a lot of servers and bandwidth, both of which are expensive, especially in large quantities. If a broadcaster only services one country, they’re not likely going to spend money to reach customers outside of their service area, although they may allow it if there are no restrictions of that nature in their distribution contracts.

Secondly, they may not be allowed to broadcast outside of their broadcast area. Broadcasters buy distribution rights for the shows and other content that they air. These distribution rights are usually sold by country. That means a broadcaster who buys the rights to air a show in the US is not allowed to distribute that show over the internet to another country since they have not bought the distribution rights required to broadcast in that country. In fact, another broadcaster in that country likely has paid for the rights to broadcast that same show there.

There are also legal agreements with members of various guilds and unions that may prevent content from being distributed in certain areas or for a finite time after the original air date.

Broadcasters can identify which country you’re in when you access their website. They use various methods to determine your location, but the most popular is something called Geo-IP look up. Basically, when you navigate to their website, the network address of your computer is sent to the web server. They can look up that address in a database to see the country that address is registered to. This method is accurate most of the time and in some cases they can actually narrow down the part the city that you live in.

Although there may be legal and ethical issues with it, there are ways to circumvent some of the methods that are used, potentially allowing you to view content from outside their intended region of distribution. These methods may be illegal in your country, so verify the legality of it before doing so.

I think there is at least one ethical use for circumventing regional lockouts. For example, I was in Canada a couple weeks ago and I wanted to catch up on one of my favorite shows. I normally watch the show on network TV and all of the advertising is relevant to me. I wasn’t able to watch videos on the broadcaster’s website from Canada, so I could have used the following method to make it work:

  1. Install this Firefox plugin: http://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/967 (requires Firefox browser)
  2. In Firefox, Go to “tools” > “Add-ons” and click on the “Preferences” button for the Modify Headers add-on.
  3. Click on the “Headers” tab at the top.
  4. Then enter: “X-Forwarded-For” in the “Header name” input box (without the quotation marks).
  5. Enter one of the following IP addresses in the “Header Value” input box (without the quotation marks, and choose the country where the content is accessible from)
    USA – 12.13.14.15
    Canada – 207.245.252.27
    UK – 193.35.131.194
  6. Select “Add” from the “Selection action” drop down.
  7. Enter the country name in the “Descriptive comment” input box.
  8. Click “Add”.
  9. Now select the one you just added in the list and then click the “Enable/Disable” button. You should see a green circle next to it, indicating it is enabled.
  10. Close the Modify Headers box, restart the Firefox browser and visit the intended website.

I should note some websites that the above method does not work for:

  • cbs.com
  • cwtv.com (the CW)
  • hulu.com
  • sho.com (showtime)
  • tnt.tv

There are at least four times that many sites that DO work, although I’d rather not single them out for legal reasons. There are also a few other methods, but this is by far the easiest to setup and use. If you have IP addresses for other countries, let me know and I’ll add them.

Also, it takes a lot of people and money to make these great shows; be sure to support them by purchasing them when they come out on disc or renting them from iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, etc.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: Hulu, Spike

September 27, 2010 at 5:00 am 65 comments

The White Dashes at the Top of a TV Picture

By Chad Upton | Editor

They may appear as rapidly flashing dots, dashes, lines or boxes across the top of your TV screen.

The white lines are more prevalent on HDTVs, although they can show on older standard definition sets too.

They often appear while watching an HD channel that is broadcasting a standard definition signal, which frequently happens during commercial breaks and shows that are not available in high definition.

The lines are supposed to be there, you’re just not supposed to see them. If you have seen them, they will vary in size and shape depending on your TV.

These lines are like barcodes embedded in the picture. Closed captioning, teletext and programming guide information is represented by these white lines. Your TV can interpret them and display the information in a format that you can read.

Although this primarily affects HDTVs, it stems from variances in old Tube TVs (Cathode Ray Tubes). In the early days of television, there were extreme variances in production of television sets — some would cut off more of the picture than others.

Broadcasters overcame this problem by trying to keep all titles and important actions away from the very edges of the screen, in case they were cut off on some TVs. That extra space that you don’t see is called the overscanned image (because of the way that CRTs would paint an image on the screen by scanning side to side sixty times per second).

The overscan area became a good place to hide extra information when closed captioning data was added to TV signals.

HDTV signals do not overscan. Their signals are newer and were designed to encapsulate extra information from the beginning. But, you may still see these lines on an HDTV if the broadcaster is showing content that has the lines.

Most good televisions have the option to adjust overscan, including hdtvs. You’ll have to consult your manual, but this option will allow you to adjust the picture so the white lines are not visible.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: Wikipedia (Safe area, Overscan)

August 20, 2010 at 5:00 am 1 comment

YouTube URL Secrets

It used to be, when you wanted to share a video, you’d attach it to an email and send it out to your friends.

Now when you want to share a video, you find the video on youtube and send a link — that keeps everybody’s inbox from filling up.

Change the Starting Position

Sometimes, you’ll want to make sure your friends see exactly what you’re talking about. To start the video at a specific spot, you can append “#t=MMmSSs” to the end of the url (link). You’ll replace the uppercase Ms with the number of minutes and the uppercase Ss with the number of seconds in the video where you want playback to begin.

For example, if I want to jump to the 2 minute, 39 second point in a video, then I would add “#t2m39s” to the end of the URL (example:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_HkH8huuzA#t=2m39s)

This trick also works for embedding a video. Although, when embedding use “&start” instead of “#t” and it’s in seconds only. (example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_HkH8huuzA&start=159). Try playing the following video, it will start near the end.

High Definition

Many YouTube videos are now available in HD. To ensure you link to the HD version, append “&fmt=22” to the end of the url. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_HkH8huuzA&fmt=22)

Download Video

Maybe you want to transfer a video to your iPod or laptop for offline playback. If you load a video in youtube, you can swap out “youtube” for “keephd” in the URL. If there is a forward slash “/” after “watch” then you may want to remove that as well. This new url will take you to keephd.com and it will give you links to download the youtube video.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Make Use Of, Ampercent

June 30, 2010 at 5:00 am 3 comments


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