Watch US TV in UK - Apple TV with US IP address - how?


We have a US guest who wants to be able to watch US TV shows from here in the UK. In particular, they mentioned having a “Showtime” account that they want to use in the UK. We are told this can be achieved by using an Apple TV and getting a US IP address and there are services geared around doing this.
Can anyone point me in the direction of how this is achieved?
Thanks in advance.
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Eoin OSullivanConnect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
Your assumptions are correct!!

With a few caveats ...

AirPlay is blocked on iOS on the Showtime app as far as I know.  On OSX they should be able to use AirParrot as shown above as AirPlay is only for pushing iTunes content to the AppleTV by default although latest OSX 10.9 has system-wide AirPlay.

While there are VPN apps for iOS they don't override the core networking settings and these would be dependent on your modem similar to the AppleTV so I think iOS isn't any better than AppleTV without a router fix.

If the VPN is setup on the OSX then your router is taken out of the equation and they can play Showtime on the Laptop and then mirror to AppleTV.  OSX supports a few VPN protocols out-of-the-box (PPTP, L2TP/IPSec) but you might want to TRIAL one of the services to check all is hunky-dory.
I've used hotspotshield before to get to USA tv sites, hulu etc, might be of use.

Though I must say the ads on the free version are a little annoying which is why I went for the Elite, see  for reviews, guides etc. Pretty much download, install, run and just browse to the "showtime" site.

The guest could try using a proxy service or VPN service. Here is an article with instructions..
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Eoin OSullivanConnect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
The hotspotshield covered above is for Windows PC users and not relevant to Mac or AppleTV use.

What you are trying to do is to make the AppleTV "appear" as if it is located in the USA and not in the UK.  This is done by using a VPN which routes all traffic from the AppleTV through a US based proxy VPN server.  There are LOTS of services out there (the better ones charge a few $$ per month but you can get free ones too).

It can be achieved with an AppleTV but it requires a bit of configuration.  You change the DNS servers in the networking settings on the AppleTV to whichever ones are provided by the VPN service provider.

Services such as HideMyAss - or OverPlay - are just two of the many options out there.
afflik1923Author Commented:
OK thanks
the services
 HideMyAss - or OverPlay - 

sound more like what we need.
If there is any reputable one, even if it costs more money, please let me know. We would rather have the best, most reliable service rather then save a few pounds / dollars per month.

Eoin OSullivanConnect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
When you're looking for VPN services to cloak your location you're going to be entering a slightly dubious realm!

If you know someone with a good internet connection in the USA you could setup a PRIVATE VPN otherwise these service providers are your best bet.

In spite of the name hide my ass is well established and rated by many users. My suggestion is not to pay too much in advance and use a 3rd party payment system such as paypal where you don't give them your credit card details.  The cheapest tend to come and go while the better ones survive.
afflik1923Author Commented:
OK thanks. I had some chat with overplay last night, and they  tell me to get Showtime working, there smartDNS services will not support this and that I would need Full VPN.

They further said to get an Apple TV to therefore show showtime, I would also need to have a router that supports DD-WRT firmware.

I assume I only need this because the Apple TV does not have a native VPN client, and if instead watching from a PC, I assume if I install VPN software, I would not need to change the router?

As changing the router in this case is not an option. I'm wondering is it possible to still get Apple TV in the UK to work with Showtime?
Can I add an additional router to the network (stay with me here) that has DHCP turned off and perhaps is on a different subnet, this can then establish a VPN connection, to whatever service, then the Apple TV  gets configured to get internet from that?

Would this work?
Eoin OSullivanConnect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
Before we get too far into this ... AppleTV does not have Showtime as a service it provides as far as I know.  You've first to jailbreak the AppleTV (which is not a simple process for a novice) and get some 3rd party apps going on the device.  You can see it described here .. check the AppleTV model required too as some of the Jailbreaks apply to specific versions.

ShowTime have an iOS app and can it can also be viewed on PC via the web so the first bottleneck is the VPN.  You could install VPN software on the PC or laptop you could use AirParrot to mirror the video to the AppleTV ( without Jailbreaking the AppleTV.

If the modem/router you are using does not support the kind of pass-thru protocols that OverPlay or others require then from my understanding putting another router behind it would NOT solve the problem as the traffic would break down as the modem/router.  You could disable all networking functions on the primary modem/router and use it as MODEM-ONLY and make the 2nd router the DHCP etc. if it supported the features.

There are several VPN protocols and it may be that your modem supports some but not the one that OverPlay offer ... here is a review of some other VPN providers and the protocols they support who offer US based servers
afflik1923Author Commented:
OK. Good posting and very useful. I did not know Showtime was not natively available in Apple TV.
With that in mind the only option in the limited time I have therefore is if the person can get the VPN working on their Mac directly.
I'm assuming that getting the vpn working on an ipad is not possible, but let me know if it is.

If they did get showtime working on their Apple, they could then use the Airplay feature of Apple TV to get it on the screen?
Also this setup means I don't have to worry about the router (as long as pass through is turned on.

Are my assumptions correct?
afflik1923Author Commented:
Thanks again for the help on this. I tried the overplay service. It gave me a DNS server which I put into the Apple TV and bingo, it was able to display HBO in the UK and access iTunes USA accounts.

However, what I don't get (and therefore makes me think I'm doing something wrong) is that I signed up for a 7 day trial, and then was provided the DNS settings.

This is all I had to enter into the Apple TV. Great.

I'm still going to pay them, but why do I need to? I had the DNS server now?
I asked their support (as I want to understand) and they tell me it will not work if I do not have an active subscription, but I don't think they really understood what I was asking.

I did not enter anything into the Apple TV to identify me? Just a DNS address. Unless overplay grant a unique DNS IP to each paying member and therefore mine was unique, but I doubt this, and that would still not prevent people sharing.

Just so I know can anyone explain?

Eoin OSullivanConnect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
If you've a fixed IP address from your broadband provider they will know who you are.  
Alternatively they may have a large database of ip addresses that they hand out and can switch them on and off.
afflik1923Author Commented:
Thanks for the excellent information on this topic.
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