Hooray for Netflix Watch Instantly abroad

Updated 8/11/11: The loophole detailed in this post has been closed off by Netflix, but there’s a simple way to bypass their new rules, provided you have a US credit card and mailing address. I’ve written a new how-to article that details how I’ve been watching Netflix from outside the US for the past year. ➡ Click here to read it

My wife and I are avid Netflix users, and we had a problem. We knew we’d be going abroad for an extended stay in Romania, and we didn’t know how we could get Netflix service there. Of course we realized DVD shipments wouldn’t work, but we thought the Watch Instantly feature would at least be available to us. I love streaming movies to our laptops, and was excited by the availability of Watch Instantly on our Macs when it became available in November of 2008.

The official word from Netflix is that Watch Instantly is not available outside of the US, due to licensing agreements.

Netflix Watch Instantly not available outside of the US

Fortunately, there’s a loophole. If you go to your queue, you can select movies from the queue and stream them to your computer by clicking on the Play button there. It’ll take a while to buffer them — I think it’s because a connection from Romania to Netflix isn’t as reliable for streaming movies as a connection from inside the US. The Netflix player insists on buffering the stream all the way to 100%, but in a few minutes or a little more time, depending on the speed of your connection, you could be watching a Netflix movie on your computer, as if you were back in the US.

Netflix Watch Instantly buffering outside the US

Netflix Watch Instantly playing outside the US

I hope Netflix doesn’t close this loophole. Their restriction doesn’t make sense to me in the first place. After all, non-US residents can’t get Netflix accounts. You have to have a US address and live in the US in order to get a Netflix account. And if you, a US citizen or resident, happen to be traveling abroad and you have an active Netflix account, you should be able to log on and watch movies. You’re paying for the service, so it’s your right.


31 thoughts on “Hooray for Netflix Watch Instantly abroad

  1. Adrian says:

    Hello Raoul,

    Netflix is posible in Romania and rather easy. I am Romanian and my wife watched a netflix trial and then I was the one responsible making it work :). UnoTelly is one method but there are others, they all have techy names as DNS redirect, VPN, proxy etc, but at the end, it all comes in hidding your current IP address (internet address) from the accounting servers of netflix located in Amazon cloud. If you managed to have this worked out, then congrats, otherwise I can tell you what is the best and cheapest way to do it but I need to know more of your devices that connect to the internet to do that.

    best wishes, a netflix user abroad.


    • Derek says:

      I have a backdoor access guys. Just change your dns settings with the below mentioned one n refresh :
      Primary DNS to
      Secondry DNS to
      Watch unlimited US entertainment channels like hulu, netflix etc. etc.
      Do let me know if you need any help.


  2. Hello Raoul,
    Hope you are still in Romania ! (you said extended stay !) If yes, I have a pretty simple netflix solution for you. Just visit the website and subscribe to their plan. They will provide a change in your settings (I don’t have much idea of the technicals) and voila ! netflix will be working in no time. Also you can access others channels as well such as CBS, WB, spotify etc.
    Bored sitting infront of your laptop. also supports a wide range of hardwares such as Xbox 360, Roku, Apple TV etc. Enjoy your stay !! Hope I was of help….


    • Mark, I looked at their website and they just don’t explain how their tech works. I’m uncomfortable signing up for something I don’t understand. Wish they explained it, I looked at their “How It Works” page and they say nothing of substance there.


      • Hi Raoul,

        This is Nick from UnoTelly. The way UnoTelly works is by using DNS technology. Basically, you change the default dns server to one of our clusters and then you will be able to access any blocked sites. All the proxying is being done at our end. You won’t need to download anything if you are uncomfortable. We have manual setup method available. If you have any question, just drop-me a line here


  3. Bryan Nelson says:

    Hey did you ever find a nice way of dealing with netflix abroad?… my wife and I are in a similar situation. I’ve been transferred to the Philippians and we use netflix ALL the time for our kids. It’s hard not having it available.


  4. Pingback: How to watch Netflix from abroad | Raoul Pop

    • You’ll need a VPN service that can provide you with a US IP address. There are several available. I use and have been watching Netflix for months — it works just fine.


      • DD says:

        I got that (VPN part).
        I am talking about the postal address for Netflix account
        and Credit Card address for paying netflix
        (i plan to leave US for a very long time + family does not stay here)


        • Yup, you’ll need a US mailing address. Not sure if the credit card address also needs to be a US one, although it’s likely that Netflix will want your mailing address and CC billing address to be the same.

          Don’t you have some friends who’d be willing to let you change your CC billing address to theirs? As long as you’ll have a US bank account with internet banking, you’ll be able to log on and pay off the CC that way. You could even offer to draft a notarized agreement between you and them, that states clearly you’re the one responsible for the CC payments and all they’re doing is letting you get your correspondence at their address. Or perhaps you could use a PO Box?


    • Right… and the fact that you’re a Strong VPN affiliate and you get a kickback from every person who signs up with them doesn’t factor into this at all, does it?


      • Thomas says:

        I don’t see a problem in solving a common problem and getting a kickback at the same time. Alternatively go to Strong VPN forum and read for yourself.


  5. David says:

    there are many ways to bypass the uber netflixs i recently found my best one so far i took my old router a linksys 54g and reflashed the firmware with dd wrt ram and installed a open vpn service which is 5.00 a month and bam every computer in the house plays netflix and the best of all my ruku player works again!!


  6. TexMo says:

    I am having trouble with Hot Spot Shield Now. It is being finicky with Hulu, Pandora, and Netflix. Sometimes I can access these sites from outside the U.S. and sometimes I can not. I have been using Hot Spot Shield for a couple of months now without a problem. The site mentioned in Jeraf’s comment is no longer up. I guess I will keep searching.


  7. flo says:

    That’s fast. The response I mean:). Your name sounds Romanian indeed. Anyway, if you’re on the net, let me ask you a few questions. I’m due to receive a Samsung blu-ray player unit which has Netflix streaming capabilities. Is there a way for me, from Romania, to watch instant content from Netflix? Is there a way I can make an “American Netflix account” so I can enjoy Netflix? Are Romanian credit-cards working in the US?


    • Yes, you can. You’ll need to use a proxy server in order to “appear” to be from the US to the Netflix servers. But I don’t know if Romanian credit cards work in the US. Presumably, if it’s a Visa or Mastercard, it should, but who knows… They might also look at the billing address, and will want to know it’s from the US.


        • It is what it is. Netflix would probably love to let people from other countries subscribe to their service and stream all the movies they want, legally, but I think the licensing prices they’d have to pay to the movie studios would be prohibitive. So they have to limit their service to the US (for now).

          (Btw, loved the animation you linked to.)


  8. flo says:

    Off-topic: what are you doing in Romania? I am a Romanian and I’m just curious what can some American people do here…


  9. D says:

    You can watch netflix outside the U.S. by downloading the free program- Hotspot Shield. It’s that easy.


    • D, you must not have read through Hotspot Shield’s terms of service. Right in there, about halfway down the page, it says they will inject ads into the web content you view, and will also keep tabs on where you go. So if you want to keep seeing all sorts of ads, then use them. Otherwise a more DIY method like the one described in Jeraf’s comment above.


  10. Bujie123 says:

    you can use a us proxy (one that works well so you won’t have to wait 10 hours for the buffering) and it works…


  11. tonenotvolume says:

    “Stinker” is too nice a label. If overseas subscribers can receive DVD’s via mail, why shouldn’t they be able to receive streaming? Anyone else annoyed by this policy? Torrents, here I come…


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