After the semester is over, my family and I will be traveling to South America for a winter vacation. This is great and how could I possibly complain? However, I really want to watch football, and this is a problem when I’m out of the country. I will have access to the internet, but I don’t know if local channels will be showing football games. Worst of all, December games are critical to the season, and January is when the playoffs begin. I really need a way of figuring out how to watch these games regardless of where I am. Any ideas?
As a longtime Miami Dolphins fan, the last two decades have brought heartache and pain to me during December and few watching opportunities in January. Hopefully, this is not the case with your team! I do understand how you feel, though, because I don’t like to miss any games either. With a heavy travel schedule and limited access to channels while away, finding a way to catch the matches can be a challenge. However, a fundamental understanding of the problem provided a way to search for alternatives. You have several ways to get around the viewing area restrictions imposed by local channels.
One popular option is to purchase and install a Slingbox. The great aspect about this option is that it was developed specifically to provide users with the ability to watch sports internationally. The advantage of this device is that it provides complete control of your home television, allowing you to watch whatever you generally have access to on a tablet, smartphone, or computer. The box connects to your television provider and your local area network. Set up is simple and easy and can generally be running in less than five minutes. The option is perfect for sports fans, expats, frequent travelers, college students, military personnel, or anyone who wants access to their specific programming.
The disadvantage of this option is that the upload and download required sometimes causes a lag in the connection. However, if your home’s internet access is good, then this is a solid alternative. Another disadvantage is the cost, because the Slingbox is priced in the $300 range.
Another option is to use a virtual private network (VPN) provider. A VPN helps to secure network traffic by encapsulating private networks, such as your home’s, and moving the traffic through another intermediate network. This, however, is not why you would use a VPN. The actual reason is the side effect that this action causes. When connecting to a VPN setup at your home, the IP address that your computer obtains and is subsequently broadcasting to websites that you connect to would be the one that your home’s network provides.
An IP address is a sequence of number that identifies a computer over a network, including the internet. If you perform an IP address lookup from different places while connected to the internet, you will see that a browser displays your location. Therefore, when trying to stream something on Netflix, Hulu, or any other provider, the services detects where the IP is coming from. If there are any access limitations based on location, you will not have access to the source. Instead, if you configure a VPN at home or use a VPN provider with servers that are inside of the United States, when connected, the computer will receive a local address. This will bypass the limitations that the companies impose on the geographical area and will allow you to access the content, such as the football games you want to watch.
So, select an option and don’t worry about missing football. Enjoy the time with your family and best of luck during the semester.