Don’t miss your favourite TV shows!

Do you find yourself missing all your favourite shows from back home? You can’t bear to miss another episode of “Game of Thrones”?
Never fear my expat friends, there are solutions! I have scoured the internet and found four programmes which allow you to watch all your favourite shows anywhere in the world. Say goodbye to the dreaded message: “content not available in your country”.

1. Hola 

  • Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet ExplorerHola
  • Cost: Free
  • Pros: Hola has a simple, user-friendly menu where you can  select the country you wish to surf from. Your browser will then think you are sitting in that country. After you have made your choice, your browser will automatically switch to this country when you access this website in future. It can browse from a large selection of countries and is currently in the process of being translated into a number of different languages.
  • Cons: The main issue I found with Hola is the slow loading speed during peak times, which is especially annoying when the last episode of your favourite show ended on a cliffhanger. Some people also find Hola’s menu a bit intrusive at times, popping up to ask if everything loaded okay, a little like clippie for the old Microsoft office.

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Hola is easy to use and completely free which is all you can really ask for. Although there are some issues, most are only minor annoyances.


2. ZenMate

  • Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Opera
  • Cost: Basic free, Premium 8.99€ per month
  • Pros: Like Hola, ZenMate remembers which countries you use for which sites and switches automatically. ZenMate also provides Malware blocking making your web surfing easier, safer and hassle free.
  • Cons: Most of the features are included as part of the premium service. ZenMate only allows you to browse for free from the UK, USA, Hong Kong, Romania and Germany, if you choose another country to browse from you will have to pay. The premium version also includes the Malware blocking, so to get the most of this extension you have to pay.

Overall Rating: ★★★٭

While ZenMate is a good application, it shares many similarities with Hola while being a lot more limited. If you wanted the same level of content this would be a much more expensive option.


3. ProxMate

  • Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Opera
  • Cost: Basic free, extras require donation (3€ – 55€ per month)
  • Pros: With ProxMate you select “packages” i.e. websites that you want to watch while in a different country. The extension will only activate for the websites you want and, therefore, will not interrupt your day to day browsing.
  • Cons: Currently the website choice is relatively small, you can contact the administrator to add more sites but this is a bit of a pain. Again you will have to pay to access all the benefits, some packages, like BBC Iplayer, are only available to those who have donated. ProxMate is a very small company, developed and maintained, by only one person which means there are a number of bugs and issues waiting to be fixed.

Overall Rating: ★★★

ProxMate’s inventive operating system does help it to stand out from the crowd, plus being run by a single person, compared to other extensions with a lot more production, it is quite charming, I mean who doesn’t love an underdog? That being said, you are limited to the websites you can use to watch your programmes.


4. MediaHint

  • Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari after changing DNS setting
  • Cost: 3.52€ per month
  • Pros: MediaHint is without a doubt the most integrated of these extensions automatically switching countries for each website you visit. This extension is usable with almost anything; standard web browsers, as well as smartphones, games consoles and smart TVs. NB: this is the only extension out the four which is compatible on Safari (Apple). They also offer thorough installation guides for all platforms.
  • Cons: The main drawback, of course, is the price. MediaHint was initially a free extension but has recently changed to become a service you have to pay for, alienating some users in the process.

Overall Rating: ★★★★

MediaHint is a winner if you want to use anything other than a windows computer, however, the price is likely to put many people off.

And the winner is… Hola!

Hola is the clear winner by providing such a useful service completely free of charge. It may not have some of the bells and whistles that the other extensions have, but in my opinion, it doesn’t need them. When all you want is something that allows you to watch your favourite shows from back home, Hola is the best choice.

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