For anyone who loves movies and TV shows, Netflix is a must-have. The video streaming giant is available in 190 countries. Unfortunately, the Netflix library isn’t the same everywhere. But there are a few tricks to get access to other libraries, e.g. watch Netflix USA when you’re in the UK.
You might be surprised to find that Netflix has different movies and TV shows available for streaming in different countries. In this article, we explore why Netflix content differs from country to country, and how you can watch everything on Netflix regardless of where you live.
Why Does the Netflix Library Differ?
According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, the Netflix library or catalog differs in each country because of territorial licensing. Here’s how it works.
The producers of any movie or TV show want to maximize profits from their product. So they license their creation to different content distributors in different parts of the world. Naturally, the highest bidder wins the rights. For the sake of an example, let’s talk about Star Wars, one of the best geek movies of all time.
As a distributor (yes, streaming content counts as “distributing”), Netflix has to decide if enough people in the US, the UK, India, and other regions will watch Star Wars to recover the expense of buying the rights.
If Netflix’s research shows an interest for Star Wars in the US but not in India, then it will buy the Star Wars territorial license for the US but not for India. So US Netflix users will be able to watch Star Wars, but Indian Netflix users will not.
If Netflix’s research shows an interest for Star Wars in both the US and India, it will then bid for the territorial license for both regions. However, some other distributor might offer a higher price for the Indian territorial license, or perhaps already have the license. Then, once again, US Netflix users will be able to watch Star Wars, but Indian users will not.
In short, audience interest and territorial licensing determine why the Netflix library varies depending from region to region.
Netflix is trying hard to secure global availability of all the content on Netflix so that geographic restrictions go away. But that will take some time. So, at least for now, different countries will have access to different Netflix libraries.
How to Watch Netflix From a Different Country
The good news is that it’s actually pretty easy to watch the Netflix library from a different country. Our ultimate guide to Netflix notes that you can access any country’s library by using virtual private networks (VPNs). There’s also another technology called DNS tunneling or Smart DNS. Both routes serve the same end purpose: they make Netflix think your device is in a different region to the one you are actually in.
These methods have some limitations though. For instance, you won’t be able to use a Chromecast to relay Netflix from your phone to your TV. The speed of buffering and streaming might also be adversely affected by these methods. However, on the flip side, you’ll have a larger video library than ever before.
See our guide to unblocking live TV streaming while traveling for more options.
Using Netflix With a VPN
We have previously made the case for using VPNs instead of proxy DNS. But the biggest point in favor of VPNs is how easy it is to get started.
Netflix is available on all platforms, which gives you some freedom in choosing a reputable VPN that works for you. (Netflix is vigilant about VPN usage and blocks most free VPNs, but many paid VPN services still work.) The process is the same for all of them:
- Install and switch on your VPN.
- In the VPN, choose the country whose Netflix library you want to browse.
- Open the Netflix app or go to the Netflix website.
- Enjoy that country’s Netflix catalog.
Not all paid VPNs are equal. For the best chance of success, we recommend using ExpressVPN (use this link to get up to 49% off).
Using Netflix With Smart DNS
With things like YouTube, it’s better to use Smart DNS services to watch region-blocked videos. But Netflix has made it harder than ever to use Smart DNS to access another country’s catalog.
The advantage of using this technology is that unlike VPN, Smart DNS does not route data through an intermediary server between you and Netflix, so it’s faster. This is especially evident with high-quality streams like 4K videos.
But unlike VPNs, your options are severely limited if you want to use a Smart DNS for Netflix. The only one that still works is Smart DNS Proxy, and that too supports mainly the U.S. and Canadian Netflix catalogs.
Right now, unless you have some specific other reasons apart from Netflix to pay for Smart DNS Proxy, we recommend paying for a good VPN instead.
How to Find What’s Available in Netflix Regions
So, now you know how to watch Netflix from other countries, but that still leaves one problem. How do you search for a movie to know which country’s Netflix you can stream it on? That’s where uNoGS comes in.
This web app searches Netflix libraries across the world. One quick search and the service will tell you which country’s library you need to change your VPN or DNS to.
You can filter your search results by IMDb rating, the year the film was released in, the genre, and other categories. And of course, you can choose which of the 28 countries on offer you want to search in.
Which VPNs Work With Netflix?
Netflix is routinely cracking down on VPNs, making it difficult to bypass regional licensing. So while the methods listed above work right now, we cannot guarantee they will work forever. However, we do regularly check on what methods are still functioning, so it’s worth bookmarking this article.
Overall, Express VPN and Private VPN are among our favorite options. The first always works with Netflix US, which is one of the best catalogs among all countries. And Private VPN supports the most number of countries for Netflix libraries. You can try either of them with a free trial, or check our updated list to find which VPNs still work with Netflix.