How to setup Netflix in NZ

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Updated Oct 2013: We cover the major steps required to get yourself or your family up and running with the Netflix online TV and movie service in New Zealand. These instructions will also work in any other country outside of the USA and other on demand video services such as Hulu, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, Vudu amongst others.

Our recommended configuration allows any appropriate networked device (Roku, Xbox, PS3, PC, Mac, iPhone, Windows Phone, Android, etc) in home network to connect to Netflix – or a range of other international media services.

The good news – once you’ve collected a suitable router and setup the 2 accounts needed – the setup can often be completed reasonably quickly. And the running costs can be as low as US$13/month!

What’s the challenge?

This issue with connecting to Netflix (and many other US music/TV/movie services) is that they are targeted at the US market and therefore check if your internet connection is US based. This is done by comparing your IP address (each internet connection has one) with a list of valid IP address ranges for the US.

What are the workarounds?

Option 1: The most complete and reliable work around is to connect via a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that links your existing connection to the USA and provides you with a trusted US based IP address. This is what Netflix and other providers expect you to have in order to provide service. We detail this in detail below.

Option 2: A second and often simpler option is to use a special proxy service called UnblockUS. This works for the large majority of users but we notice some ISPs can interfere with this service and unless you have a fixed IP address this service may need you to login to refresh it occasionally (very quick through your web browser) – such as if your router is reset. Also, a few services such as Xbox Video do not work using this technique. That said this is the most simple to setup and access Netflix and instructions can be found via this website. An added benefit, the proxy solution provides access to video services in multiple countries – including the UK based BBC iPlayer service.

How much does it cost?

Running costs start at about US$13/month excluding internet connection and the cost buying your connection device (such as a Roku, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac, etc). Netflix on its own is US$8/month. Add to that a VPN to connection from NZ which is usually in the range of US$5 – $10/month.

As the video content is streamed using your home internet connection you may find a higher usage plan is required if you choose to use Netflix regularly.

What do I need?

In addition to a Netflix account there are only a few things you’ll need to get started:

  1. Internet connection
  2. Compatible router (in addition to your existing internet router if you use the VPN solution)
  3. An account with a VPN provider (or a proxy provider)
  4. Device for Netflix playback

Can you give me more details about those requirements?

Yes – here are the details broken down with more detailed specifications.

Internet connection

  • A fixed connection of at least 2.5mb/s is suggested – this covers most ADSL or cable modem connections in NZ
  • It’s important to realise that the more you watch the more data you’ll use. This may lead to your current internet plan being insufficient. It’s suggested you start with a plan that provides a minimum of 30gb data per month – more if you plan to watch Netflix regularly. Some users find a 60gb is more than sufficient, others use a 100gb or larger plan – this will also depend on how heavily you utilise your Internet connection for other downloads, how much video you watch and whether you stream in HD quality.

Compatible Router

  • For the
  • Recommended model is Dlink DIR-615
    • The DIR-615 is very easy to find in most countries incl NZ
    • Must be H/W rev C1, C2, D1, D2, E1, E3 or E4 (these are common and easy to find from most electronics retailers)
    • Connects to your existing (primary) ADSL or Cable router
    • Compatible with typical ISP routers which provide an Ethernet connection
  • Typical cost NZ$60-NZ$200 (Dependant on where you purchase and whether new or second hand)
  • Many other routers that are compatible with the full DD-WRT software (however these are mostly untested by us)
  • An account with a VPN provider who offers US IP addresses:
    • We have tried and tested StrongVPN – this is our recommendation
    • There are others that may provide better or worse results (faster or slower speeds)

Device for Netflix playback

The Roku player is the quickest and easiest to setup – and has the benefit of no ‘Xbox Live Gold’ subscription requirement when compared the Xbox 360. The downside is the Roku needs to be ordered from the US so will take a few days to arrive. The Xbox 360 provides the most impressive Netflix capabilities and with Kinect the benefits of voice control and gesture control.

    • Roku Streaming Media Player
    • Xbox 360 (all models are suitable) – setup with a US Xbox Live Gold account
    • There are lots of other options and have tested too:
      • Hardware imported from the USA such as the Roku box, some Blu-ray players come preconfigured to support Netflix
    • You can also use a PC or Mac

What steps do follow to get Netflix running (Option 1)?

Here are the steps broken down so just about anyone can follow them.

Step 1: Router

  • First step is downloading the appropriate DD-WRT firmware for your router to your desktop. In the case of the Dlink DIR-615 and many others you locate it on this page.
    • After visiting the link enter the name of your router – such as: DIR-615
    • The correct download for the DIR-615 should be labelled: Special image for initial flashing (or similar)
  • Disconnect your computer from your existing internet connection/router (turning off Wi-Fi if necessary)
  • Connect your computer any port on the Dlink DIR-615 (except for the WAN port)
  • Login to the router by navigating to the router’s webpage – you can do this by entering the following address in your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc): http://192.168.0.1
    • Username: admin
    • Password (leave this blank)

 

Step 2: VPN

  • Setup your VPN using the instructions from the VPN provider. Feel free to try any one you want.
  • As mentioned previously we have primarily used StrongVPN though there are a couple of other methods that seem to vary in their performance and reliability. Visit their website to sign up and for instructions for use in conjunction with a DD-WRT enabled router.
    • The method of configuration suggested is the ‘Modify Wan Connection Type’ and instructions are here.

Step 3: Device connection

  • In our experience for the best results use an Ethernet cable between your device (Xbox 360, Roku, PC, Mac, etc) rather than Wifi
  • If you prefer to use Wifi – then connect to your new Wifi connection using the details you setup in step 1

What steps do follow to get Netflix running (Option 2)?

It’s somewhat easier than Option 1 and works well in most cases for Netflix access -  follow the instructions here from Unblock-US.

 

Please let us know if we’ve left anything out and we’ll try and fill in the gaps promptly.

For more info on this topic be sure to tune into the NZ Tech Podcast each week via iTunes, Zune or you favourite podcasting tool. You can also follow us on Twitter or hit up our facebook page.

34 Responses to “How to setup Netflix in NZ”

  1. NZBuc says:

    I haven’t used a VPN on a router – is it possible to only have one connected device via a router using the VPN? Ideally I’d like to turn it on and off pretty easily/quickly as I expect it impacts pings pretty badly in h2h games.

    Sorry if this is pretty basic info I’m after :) (you probably put me off the revue – at least without trying it in person anyway!)

  2. nztechpodcast says:

    @NZBuc Yes, that’s quite possible. The method we suggest is two routers as per the diagram. If you want a ‘normal’ internet connection then use your primary router, if you want for instance a U.S. IP address then connect via the VPN router.

  3. Jandles says:

    What about a valid US mailing address required to sign up? Is there a work around?

    • nztechpodcast says:

      You should just be able to enter a valid US address. There is no need for them to actually post mail to you at this address.

  4. adam says:

    Just a follow on question from NZBuc. Sorry! I am also keen to run a ‘normal’ internet alongside a VPN connection. I dont quite understand your reply and instructions. The method you suggest with the diagram shows 1 router and 1 modem (not 2 routers). But in your instructions you quote you need ’2. Compatible router (in addition to your existing internet router)’ Do you mean you can plug in a DD-WRT router into your existing router via a LAN port, or does the DD-WRT router need to be plugged directly into the internet modem to work? That would be really annoying to have to plug unplug all the time everytime you wanted to shift over. Any help would be awesome. cheers

    • nztechpodcast says:

      So the ‘modem’ in the diagram would usually be a ADSL Router/Modem (or 2 seperate devices if you a modem and a router currently). That way you have both a normal NZ network and a US network.

  5. Rick says:

    I am having real problems installing the DD-WRT firmware on mu D-Link DIR-615 Router. It is ver c2. I have read all the forums from top to bottom, and to be honest I am in over my head here. Can you explain why I need to install DD-WRT?

    Your instructions state. . .

    “Login to the router by navigating to the router’s webpage – you can do this by entering the following address in your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc): http://192.168.0.1
    Username: admin
    Password (leave this blank)”

    But there are no details after that. I presume I should try and upgrade the firmware but it just keeps telling me that it can’t do it. I have tried adding the 00′s in a hex editor but to no avail.

    Can anyone help?

    Cheers
    Rick

  6. Mel says:

    So, I understand that you have a ‘normal router’ and a ‘dedicated vpn router’?

    What method are you guys using to switch between your 2 routers? Are you physically unplugging and re-plugging the cable each time?

  7. ddwagnz says:

    My concern with this method, infact any method to obtain netflix or any other u.s. only based services is the legality of it (say doing this or just downloading it), and secondly the cost just to get a ok say a $8USD subscription to netflix, and i wouldn’t be surprised if Netflix does validate postal address’s even on a streaming subscription…i could be wrong but the concerns are still there…It woulld be easier for the film/tv industries and netflix to allow access internationally (for streaming) then these methods wouldnt be needed, and saves us alot of money and they get their greedy hands on our well earned money…

  8. Rocky says:

    Is there a requirement for a US credit card for the NetFlix account? or can I just use my NZ one?

  9. Mark says:

    Do you know :

    1) What effect being permenently connected to a US VPN has on internet performance.

    2) If I will still be able to establish VPN connections to my workplace.

    I’d like to try before I dive in but the “free trial” to StrongVPN isn’t free in as much as it costs money.

  10. Red says:

    Great Post!

    I’m all set up & working BUT…

    I can get the movie streaming to my PC but how can I get the movie to my TV?? (LGLW6500)

    I have a HDMI Connection but looks like the streaming is copyright protected? …also have DLNA connection on TV.

    thanks

  11. I’ve had Netflix up and working via my Apple TV 2 for just over a month now.
    It’s great. Loads of TV shows available that never came here, and plenty of movies.

    Initial setup was a bit of a trial and error process, but all good now. Hardest part was getting the router setup with DD-WRT.

    I used, Entropay.com for US credit card, Overplay.net for VPN, and DD-WRT on my Linksys WRT-320 Router.

    The setup process I went through is on my blog,
    http://kellie-grant.blogspot.com/2011/09/netflix-in-nz.html

    • Rick says:

      Has anyone managed to get Entropay to work with Amazon? They keep saying that it is not a valid US Bank credit card. Or for that matter, any tips and tricks for accessing Amazon’s catalogue of movies and TV?

      Cheers
      Rick

  12. There is a much much simpler way that is also free to try.
    Simply goto http://www.unblock-us.com which will provide you a new DNS setting. First week is free to try. You can buy 1 year for 50usd (4.16/month). all you do is simply update you DNS setting. This works on my iMac, iPhone and PS3.

    Now you can access all USA sites.
    Netflix simply use you NZ credit card. No issues.
    http://Www.rdio.com like spotify, use NZ CC but you will have to make up a US postal address.
    Netflix is awesome and I have set this up without to many issues on my PS3.

    Good luck. John

    • Ian says:

      How did you get the Netflix app on your PS3, I’ve created a US PSN account but can’t find the app in the PlayStation Store.

      Any ideas?

      Cheers…Ian :)

  13. Andrew says:

    Great article, I have been using Netflix for a couple of months without any router adjustments, I just make a setting change on my computer/iPhone/iPad and it works great.

    The advantage of a software solution that I use is that it works a any location without any extra setup, I’ve even watched Breaking Bad on my phone at an airport (watch the data cap)! The other plus is that you can enable and disable it with a click, so if you don’t need it on you can easily flick back to your faster raw connection. The downside of my technique is that it isn’t compatible with Apple TV so won work on the big screen in the lounge (unless you have an iPad2 which can steam HD to your aTV).

    I use HideMyAss instead of StrongVPN (very similar service) and their site has software for Win and Mac which takes care of all the above, they also give you instructions for setting up your iOS device. Could be worth a shot before committing to buying an additional router :)

  14. CrackedByCracku says:

    Hi,

    In your set up post, which is awesome by the way, you make reference to:

    We mostly use either an Xbox 360 (all modesl are suitable) – setup with a US Xbox Live Gold account

    I’ve go the Xbox 360 and I don’t mind signing up to an Xbox Live Gold account. My questions are: Is a US account special? Does it require me to have a US credit card? Or does this just mean I give a US address and set my country as US? Anything I need to be careful of doing this?

  15. Mark says:

    Helpful post – is it right to say that the only reason for having two routers/modems is to enable you to keep a normal internet connection as well as a VPN?

  16. nztechpodcast says:

    Mark – the reason is three-fold:
    - Most people have an existing VPN router anyway
    - The DD-WRT VPN option seems to function best when the WAN IP address on the DD-WRT router is coming via DHCP from another router
    - From a security perspective it’s better to keep traffic that doesn’t need to use the VPN on your existing network

  17. nztechpodcast says:

    CrackedByCracku – I’ve found you don’t need a US credit card in most cases. An NZ MasterCard should work fine, but you’ll need to enter a valid US postal address. An alternative is to use a service such as Entropay to get a virtual US credit card online.

  18. James says:

    By using a VPN you can unblock not only Netflix but also a lot of other websites

  19. mike.j says:

    Used my NZ CC for Netflix, (first month free) they just require a US postal code……I used 90210… Two a/c with Strong VPN for US$27 for 3 months. With Netflix you can also stream to 2 devices from one account. So long Sky Movies.

    • Rizi says:

      Mike
      How do you overcome the problem of getting the Netflix app on your ipad as your NZ credit card does not allow you to use it ! They want a US based source of funds…any workaround for that?
      Cheers

  20. Tony says:

    I have a setup with just one router that routes Netflix and hulu traffic through the VPN and the rest of my internet thought my normal ISP. The router that I used was a Linksys E200 from DSE loaded DD-WRT on it, set up strong VPN and then routed certain traffic to the VPN.

  21. Tony says:

    Hi I have setup with just one router that routes Netflix and hulu traffic through the VPN and the rest of my internet thought my normal ISP. The router that I used was a Linksys E200 from DSE loaded DD-WRT on it, set up strong VPN and then routed certain traffic to the VPN.
    Tony

  22. Mark says:

    couple of questions:
    - do you know if people have successfully played Netflix content on a Samsung Smart TV using the built-in browser?
    - if I use the second Netflex-dedicated VPN router as my default LAN connection to the TV, will that be slower than my current LAN connection via the first ADSL modem?
    cheers

  23. Mark says:

    Do you know if anyone has successfully watched Netflix on the SmartHub browser on a Samsung TV?

  24. El jefe says:

    Has anyone tried this (VPN) technique with trying to get access to the Google store to buy movies etc ? Any reason why it wouldnt work?

  25. AceVPD says:

    I can recommend strongvpn and unblock-us VPN services. I used strongvpn for 18 months while we were living in China (fb, YouTube etc are blocked, plus for Netflix ) and now use unblock-us now we are back in NZ for Netflix on my ps3. I changed to unblock-us as it was easy to setup so only my ps3 goes through the VPN.

  26. AceVPD says:

    I used strongvpn for 18 months while we were living in China (fb, YouTube etc are blocked, plus for Netflix ) and now use unblock-us now we are back in NZ for Netflix on my ps3. I changed to unblock-us as it was easy to setup so only my ps3 goes through the VPN.

  27. Suzi says:

    Hi,
    I have just had ultra fast broadband (fibre) connected so do I still need another router? Also I would like to view the films on my TV and I have Apple TV – does this help at all? If not then how do I view the films on my TV?

  28. Higgs says:

    Well the Orcon Genius modem work

    • nztechpodcast says:

      @Higgs – the Orcon Genius should work with the UnblockUS proxy service mentioned above. Alternatively you could buy the D-Link router and setup the VPN solution.

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