Use Tunlr To Enjoy Streaming Services Anywhere In the World

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tunlr streamingWhile American internet users can quite happily watch Hulu, the fact that I live in the UK means I can’t. Likewise, BBC iPlayer is free for UK citizens; but if your physical location says America then you’re out of luck buddy. It’s a frustrating state of affairs, and we won’t stand for it! Neither will Tunlr.net: a new free service that aims to remove region restrictions the world over by way of some magic DNS trickery.

We are the internet generation, and we hereby refuse to accept political boundaries. There are no borders for us; Justin made that quite clear when he showed us just how this amazing internet brings people from all over the world together to produce MakeUseOf. The idea that any country could censor the internet outrages us; yet we routinely accept that licensing constraints mean streaming services are region locked. The legal reasons for this may all be well and valid, but there are no real, physical boundaries on the internet and the location based rules shouldn’t apply.

I’ve shown you how to get around these location blocks before using a premium VPN service (such IPVanish, which you can grab for free on the fantastic MakeUseOf Rewards system, right now – if there’s any left that is, so be quick!). But VPNs cost money, and can be slow. Tunlr is hoping to solve that using a slightly different method.

tunlr streaming

How Do I Use It?

Simple. Head over to the Tunlr site, click Show Me How, and scroll down for the replacement IP addresses you should use. If you’re unsure how to adjust these settings, the site contains specific instructions for changing the DNS IPs on various devices including Xbox and mobile: pretty much any internet connected device can be used. Some of the services currently supported include:

  • US video streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, CBS, ABC, MTV, Crackle, Fox, TV.com, PBS, History channel
  • US audio streaming: Pandora, Last.fm, Turntable.fm, MOG, iHeartRadio
  • Non-US video streaming: BBC iPlayer  (UK), 4oD (UK), iTV (UK), Zattoo (Switzerland and Germany)
(Note, the IPs shown below may have changed in the meantime – visit the site for the latest updates)

tunlr streaming

What is this sorcery?!

Tunlr is not a VPN, but some of it’s internal functions are VPN-like. A small portion of your traffic, which contains certain headers relating to location – is extracted and manipulated through VPN-like tunnels in order to fool the streaming services into thinking your in a particular, valid location. The rest of your traffic is untouched. This is what makes the Tunlr method faster than a typical VPN, whereby everything is routed through a different country.

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Any downsides?

Yes. Tunlr is a free service, and as such no guarantees can be made about reliability of service, speed, or security. As their FAQ states:

We’re not aiming to provide a professional 24/7 service. Tunlr is up when it’s up, and is down when it’s down.

While changing your DNS isn’t exactly difficult, Tunlr asks that you not keep the Tunlr DNS active permanently or on your router; primarily because that many requests would kill the service very quickly. Restrict your usage to when necessary only. If the servers do get hammered then you may find your internet crashes to a halt as IP addresses can’t be resolved. A premium VPN service on the other hand – while perhaps being slower – is easy to activate when required, and offers a good level of security.

To be honest, I don’t expect this service to be around for long – the more users it has, the more unreliable it will be, and the more content providers will sit up and pay attention. Right now though it works well; so use it while you can! There’s also a question of legality of course: one Swiss TV provider has been taken off the supported matrix, though I’ve been unable to ascertain if this was due to legal or technical reasons.

Have you used Tunlr or had any problems getting it working? Are you a network wizard that plans to hook up a p2p based version of this, because that would be awesome if you could. Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to tell your friends: just click the share buttons below. If you’re logged into MakeUseOf, you’ll earn points for sharing too, which you can then exchange for awesome free software.

Image Credit: Internet map, 2007 from Opte Project

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Comments (23)
  • Brian21

    Too bad that tunlr dropped Netflix, it was a great service. I think that I’ll give a try to Unotelly now. I found a deal they have for tunlr customers here: http://forums.redflagdeals.com/hot-unotelly-50-off-dns-service-get-us-netflix-perfect-tunlr-refugee-1237153/#post15475949 . Also I’ve read the review you had about Uno and I think that it fits to my requirements.

    • Muo TechGuy

      Whoa, thanks for the heads up Brian, that’s a shame. Still, I think we all knew this would happen at some point; it simply couldn’t sustain itself.

  • Dave Gordon

    Unfortunately, although the BBC iPlayer works from here in Australia it does not work for my SkyTv account when trying to view online using SkyGo. Could anyone advise how I can get this to work?
    Regards
    Dave

    • muotechguy

      I’m afraid the only way to get a specific service to work is to ask Tunlr to add support for it; I believe there’s a specific sub forum for this. Given that the service is free though, I would expect much support. If you go for the paid UnoDNS service that I currently use and also reviewed (we had a giveaway last month, but you missed it), then SkyGo is included in gold level packages: http://www.unotelly.com/quickstart2/gold.php

  • April Alboc

    So, kinda like a quick fix solution? would you recommend going for IPVanish for a more lengthy run?

  • WhoBeI

    I’ve been wanting to watch videos on BBC’s site for a while and hopefully it’s a lot easier and more reliable than the other methods I’ve tried.

  • Dylan

    I’ve been using Tunlr for a month now, and even though you can access any restricted site (including iheartradio.com), the dns speeds of Tunlr are slow.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.