If you, like many other binge TV show watchers, are tired of recent Netflix shenanigans with cutting down access through VPNs, and the main reason you invested in a VPN was to watch Netflix anyway, you may want to read about Trickbyte.
It is really a simple to configure system, not requiring much technical knowledge, and also quite affordable: for little over 2 USD per month, if you pay for two years in advance, it gets things done. Of course, it is better to test for yourself before you buy and luckily, Trickbyte offers a generous 14-day free trial (no credit card info is required to sign up for that). One thing to note: in the trial, the service will work perfectly fine from your computer, but it will not be possible to set it up for a router or Smart TV device (more on that later).
Trickbyte is, essentially, a simpler (and, admittedly, less protected) solution: it serves as a Smart DNS solution, and focuses on making streaming available in spite of blocks.
You can use it to stream content from the following countries: USA, UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mena¸ Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
The whole array of streaming services is supported and includes: Netflix, Hulu, BBC Player, iTV, ABC, Amazon Video, AMC, CNBC, Disney, Fox, HBO Now, NBC, National Geographic, Showtime, Spotify, Syfy, UFC, Vudu, Youtube, Comedy Central, and many others. The full list of supported channels can be found here.
Obviously, for many of these you will need to have a paid subscription, and Trickbyte only solves the problem of these services blocking access from regions other than the one you are physically located in.
Other possible uses include e.g. checking the inventory or online shopping for apparel at stores such as Abercrombie (they prefer to block access to their online store for non-US located clients, as the prices in Europe are way higher).
A number of devices is supported: Your Standard Browser (Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge…), iPhone/iPad, Android, Playstation 3-4, Xbox 360-One, Wii-Wii U. Apple TV, Roku. WD TV, Samsung Smart TV/BD, LG TV/BD, Panasonic TV/BD, Sony TV/BD, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Kindle Fire.
Now, to fully harness the convenience of Trickbyte subscription I set it up on a router. I bought an Asus router that has VPN options included (not a must for that, but useful, costs about 50-70 USD). On the router, I disabled the 2GHz network and only left the 5GHz network, with a different name (SSID) than my home wifi. As a result, I have a separate wifi network allowing me to browse as if I was in the US, and it does not interfere with my base network. Already neat, but I have taken it just a step further: I’ve connected my Smart TV (Samsung) directly to the router, which means that my TV streaming is fully kosher US now.
The described solution may just as well work for a VPN service, and I’ve even checked it briefly with NordVPN, but as it turns out their servers only operate with OpenVPN standard, and not PPTP or L2TP, and sadly my router is limited only to these two older ones.
Now, the next step I’m taking is buying an ultra-portable, pocket router that I’m also going to use for travel to secure my connections, and I’ll also set it up with Trickbyte and possibly a VPN. It is worth mentioning that Trickbyte itself also offers a VPN service, that can be used for security (rather than just region nuisance bypassing).