Due to pesky licensing restrictions, the Academy Award-winning Spotlight might not be available in your area. Good news, though: you can easily get around those limitations by changing your virtual location with a VPN.
Don’t know which Netflix regions have the movie? Just click here to see where to stream it. StreamCatcher will show you up-to-date info on the topic, so you don’t have to sift through dozens of news articles or Reddit threads. And if you’re new to the whole VPN thing, you’ll also find step-by-step instructions on how to use one to stream geo-blocked content.
Here’s a quick rundown on how it all works, in case you’re curious what goes on “behind the scenes.”
Why Do You Need a VPN to Watch Netflix?
Any online service can detect your real-life location by reading the IP address on your device. From this single identifier, they can extract your country, city, and even ZIP code, and limit what content you can watch that way.
So if Netflix detects that you’re in the United States, you’ll only be able to watch shows licensed for the US market. It’s definitely not a great system, but Netflix isn’t to blame here. Instead, media companies use these outdated, cable TV era tactics to extract the most possible money from their productions.
Enter Virtual Private Networks – or VPNs, for short. These apps allow you to mask your real IP and switch to a new one, based on the country / VPN server you connect to. As a result, a user in the US can easily trick the Netflix servers into believing that they’re located in, say, the United Kingdom.
Not only that, but VPNs encrypt (or garble) your network traffic so it can’t be read by outsiders. Cybercriminals, greedy ISP’s looking to sell your data, government surveillance, that sort of thing. Even if you don’t care about the privacy benefits of a VPN, there’s still a way encryption can be useful for streaming.
Since your Internet provider can’t tell whether you’re streaming Spotlight on Netflix or watching cat videos on YouTube, they can’t throttle your bandwidth and slow down your entertainment.
Can I Use Any VPN to Watch Spotlight?
Sadly, no. Netflix has been banning VPNs left and right since at least 2015, and their filtering has only gotten more aggressive over the years. Even providers that focus primarily on unblocking streaming sites may get caught in the cross-fire from time to time. If you’re not sure which VPNs currently work on Netflix, you can find several amazing ones by following the link at the start of the article.
Will I Get in Trouble for Streaming Spotlight with a VPN?
We know what you’re thinking. Netflix is hard at work filtering VPN IP addresses, even if it means blocking out some of their viewer base – some of which had never even used one, to begin with. Won’t using a VPN on the platform get you in trouble? Like, say, getting your account banned?
You’re in luck, however. While it’s technically against the Netflix terms of service to bypass their geo-restrictions, no individual users have ever gotten in trouble for it. And there’s a good reason for that as well. Simply put, there are too many VPN users on Netflix. If the streaming giant were to ban everyone for it, they would put a serious dent in their bottom line.
As such, all they can do is work with companies like MaxMind to gather up VPN IP addresses for blacklisting purposes. Of course, that means even top-notch VPNs may have trouble connecting to Netflix every now and then. Fortunately, they tend to stay one step ahead of Netflix’s filtering efforts and fix the issue fairly quickly.
What about the legality of it, though? Is there a risk of getting fined for streaming geo-blocked content? Luckily, that isn’t the case. People often mistake this as a form of piracy, but think of it this way. You’re actually paying for the content and not torrenting it off some sketchy website.
TL;DR: Go ahead and stream Spotlight and all your other favorites – you won’t get in trouble for it.