Netflix – How to live the American Dream and get the US library in the UK (or Canada)

Netflix launched in the UK last month. For those not in the know, Netflix UK is a service that lets you pay £5.99 a month to access a wide variety of movies and TV shows and stream them to your PC, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, phone or tablet.

So far I’ve been very happy with it, but there’s one thing Netflix hasn’t sorted yet in the UK – the size of the library. There’s a perfectly good reason for this – while Netflix has been going for a long time in the US and has spent years building a bunch of license agreements with various film and TV studios, in the UK they’re basically starting from scratch again and so they have to sort out all these licenses all over again.

This is why Netflix UK has, for example, around 80 movies in its horror category, whereas Netflix US has 1680. Little do some people know, however, that there is actually a way to access the US Netflix library in the UK. 

If your settings look like this (Xbox 360 version) you've done it right

This little trick’s been doing the rounds online and I can confirm it’s been working for me, as well everyone else in the UK who’s tried it. It should also work for anyone living in Canada who also wants to view the US library. All you have to do is go to your console’s network settings and change the DNS settings to the following:
Primary DNS Setting – 208.122.23.22
Secondary DNS Setting – 208.122.23.23

Now, after you do this, when you next load up the Netflix app you’ll be presented with the much bigger US catalogue instead of the decent, but minimal UK one. Once you’re done you can then go back to your network settings and change the DNS settings to Automatic, which will make your router choose the default DNS settings again like before.

How does this work? Well, I’ve done a little research and the answer is something that may disappoint some people but actually isn’t too bad in the grand scheme of things.

Here's how Netflix looks when you log on with your normal UK settings. Note the Inbetweeners, proving it's the UK library

Basically, when you load up the Netflix app, it looks at your DNS address. This address tells Netflix which country you’re accessing it from, and so it then displays the library available to that country. If you were to go to America on holiday and log onto the Netflix site with your laptop, you’d also get the full US catalogue because it’d realise you’re logging on from America and give you the films it’s licensed to show there.

The particular DNS numbers I provided above belong to a site called UnblockUs. It’s a paid service that lets you connect your router through their American-based DNS server, so that when you load up Netflix the app looks at the DNS, sees that it’s American and shows you the US catalogue.

The reason anyone can use it for free is because UnblockUs offers a week’s free trial for anyone to see how it works. Every time you connect using those DNS settings UnblockUs checks your IP address (the address of your router) to see if the week’s trial is up. This means there’s a very good chance that a week after you first try this, the trick will no longer work and you’ll just get an error. I should stress here that there are no security issues here, every website checks your IP address when you go to it. This one just blocks access to its DNS server after a week, at no point does it ever have access to any of your information.

If, after a week, you start getting this error message, if you want to get it working again you’ll need to go to the UnblockUs site, register with them and pay them a small monthly fee of $4.99 (£3.16) a month to continue to use their DNS settings (paid via PayPal or credit card). If you don’t want to do that, then it’s no problem – simply change your DNS settings back to Automatic and go back to the UK catalogue. Again, bear in mind they’ve never had access to any of your personal details, and you can pay through PayPal to ensure they never do. It’s perfectly safe, whether you decide to start paying or you choose to switch back to your UK DNS settings.

Here's how it looks after you change the DNS settings. Note Tangled, Family Guy and Futurama, items only available in the US catalogue and not in the UK one

Some of you will be disappointed by the fact you may have to pay extra, but frankly I don’t mind. I’m already paying £5.99 a month to use Netflix’s UK catalogue, so personally I don’t mind in the slightest paying an extra £3 to get a catalogue roughly 25-30 times the size, especially when the vast majority of the films are in HD quality.

Now, that aside, you’ll also want to be able to browse the US Netflix catalogue in full. This presents another problem, because when you go to the Netflix site it automatically brings up the UK library. To counter this, UnblockUs also offers a little PC/Mac app you can download and run whenever you want. When you run the app, it changes the network settings of your computer (essentially doing the same thing as the Xbox/PS3/Wii trick) so that the Netflix site displays the US catalogue instead. You can then turn off the UnblockUs app to switch back to your UK DNS settings. Simple!

Check the trick out – if it works for you and you like the newer catalogue, keep trying it until it stops working, then consider paying the extra £3 a month at UnblockUS. I know I will be.

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22 thoughts on “Netflix – How to live the American Dream and get the US library in the UK (or Canada)”

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  4. This sounds like almost too good to be true! Thing is, it’s not working on my xbox either, so I dunno if mine’s a special case, or they blocked the loophole or whatever else may have happened. I changed the DNS settings no problem, saved them, and then it disconnected me from Live. I logged back into Live no problem, then navigated to the Netflix app. I loaded it, but it just shows the big red Netflix in the centre of the screen, with the spinning cursor icon below that, and it’s stayed that way for over 5 minutes now :( There’s no other text (percent loading, etc), just that ever-spinning icon and the Netflix banner. I wonder if my particular situation may be more complicated than usual though – I started the XBLive account in the US, but then moved back to the UK, where I’ve continued using my US account. Most apps and games seem to be using my ip/dns to place me in England though, cos I’ve run into instances before, like when I wasn’t allowed to buy an apparently uk-only map pack for CoD, even though I was using it on my uk machine and playing it in the uk. I believe the expression is: “Shut up and take my money!!”. But they wouldn’t. Anyway, if you know of any other options, or other possible DNS numbers to try (maybe UnblockUS is having some trouble at the moment?), please let me know! Potentially awesome post :D

  5. Ok, I actually did manage to get it working…kinda. I just had to go the UnblockUS website and actually start a trial, which just meant sending them an email address. Presumably, they’re identifying that the ip/dns address the email was coming from is the same one with the xbox attached, because within about 20 seconds of actually sending them the email, the Netflix app actually left the spinning logo splash screen and loaded the US catalog. Well… part of the US catalog!! It’s loading different choices than the UK one, but only as many options, which sucks cos the percentage of stinkers is just as high in the US version!! I may try deleting the app again and reloading it, in case that fixes it completely, though I have my doubts. Any suggestions or similarities to anyone else’s situation?

    1. Hi Tom! Glad to hear you got it working.

      Annoyingly, the Netflix 360 app only ever shows part of the catalogue regardless of which library you’re looking it – it’s just the way the app was designed.

      What you can do is use the UnblockUs PC app (it’s a tiny little program you can turn on and off whenever you like) to get the US library on Netflix.com, browse the full library there then head back to the Xbox app and search for that title.

      The Xbox app (be it US or UK library) does actually have every film in the catalogue, it only shows a limited selection so a search for a specific title makes it turns up. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks for the reply mate. Wow, I can’t believe they kneecapped the app in such a way. I used to have Netflix a couple years ago in the US and it’s interface was great. In fact, their website was way better than the current version too. I hate the scrolling titles with no information aside from that annoying pop-up when you hover on a title. The old version was so much better suited to browsing a film library, simply because it took advantage of the cataloging that an internet service enabled. This way fucking sucks! But anyway, sorry about the rant :P Cheers for the info! Peace :)

  6. HI,

    I’m wanting to try this but unsure where to change the DNS settings.
    It says here “All you have to do is go to your console’s network settings”….by “console” does it mean my apple TV box settings or my wi-fi router settings?

    Thanks!

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