If you’re a sports fan who is constantly on the move, then you must wonder how possible it is to bypass blackouts on some of your favourite sports channels such as the NBA, MLB, NHL, ESPN, MLS, NFL or NBC Sports so that you can stream your games whenever you’re abroad. Despite how much we would all wish for these blackouts to be removed, they’re normally imposed because cable providers don’t want the game to be accessible through streaming channels. Working around these restrictions means either subscribing to a VPN service, or relying on Smart DNS proxies to catch up on your favourite games. In this help guide, we’re going to show you how to do both, so pay close attention.
Best VPN to Bypass Blackout Restrictions
Based on the many providers that we’ve been able to test out, we were able to come up with a list that should easily make up the who the best VPN services in the market are. Once you test them out, you’ll be able to use them to bypass NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL or MLS blackouts both in the US & Canada.
|Provider||Price (Annual Plan)||Free Trial||Refund Option (Days)||# of Countries||Immediate Support (chat, toll-free)||Own DNS Servers||Simultaneous Connections||Website|
Brief Explanation on Blackout Restrictions
Blackout restrictions have been around ever since sports streaming channels came about in the United States. They enforce limits on the viewership of live games through online sports channels. People who have subscribed to online channels like MLB.tv or NFL Game Pass are only allowed to watch the game later on, and not at the same time as it’s being broadcasted on cable TV. This ends up protecting major American cable providers like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon.
Despite the many trials to do away with these blackout policies over the years, none of them have been truly successful. The same case also applies in other regions such as Canada and Europe. It is in light of such cases that many people are turning to Virtual Private Networks and Smart DNS proxies; they’re doing it as a means to work around the blackout restrictions.
Avoiding Blackout Restrictions Through VPN
A VPN service is by far the best tool you can use to work around any blackouts that may keep from following up on your team’s performance through your preferred sports channel. It works around the restriction by hiding your IP address. You see, whenever you’re online, your ISP assigns you a specific IP address that you use to interact with other websites & services. Through that address, the sites are somewhat able to grid lock your location, and so channels such as NHL.tv and MLB.tv use this information to decide whether or not to grant you access. Using a VPN service allows you to hide your actual IP address and bypass blackout restrictions. Here’s how to set it all up:
- Go ahead and sign up with a VPN provider, but only after ensuring that the provider has several servers both in the US and abroad. A good example would be ExpressVPN.
- Having created your own account, move on to install their VPN application. You’ll find that all Mac, PC, iOS and Android devices are supported.
- Next, launch the app, then connect to an American VPN server that’s located in the state that you want to be streaming your game from.
- Lastly, go on to MLB.tv, NHL.tv or NFL Game Pass where you’ll be able to use their native apps to stream any game you want without having to worry about blackouts.
Bypassing Blackouts Using Smart DNS Proxies
If VPN doesn’t work as well for you, then Smart DNS is another viable option that you can also turn to. Smart DNS works slightly different from VPN in that instead of having your IP address hidden, it is only the URLs responsible for revealing your location that are re-reouted. If the streaming app that you’re using is based on iOS or Android, chances are high that it relies on GPS or location services to work. If so, then you’re out of luck since the channels that you want to stream will be able to pinpoint your location and therefore deny you access.
You’ll still be able to work around those blackouts on your Mac, PC, Xbox, Apple TV, Roku, PS4 or even Smart TV if you follow through with these instructions:
- Register with a Smart DNS proxy service that can allow you to bypass blackouts.
- Create your account, then change your streaming device’s primary & secondary DNS server address. As another option, you can also set up Smart DNS on your router.
- Head over to MLB.tv, NFL Game Pass or NHL.tv and start streaming your games without any blackouts to worry about.
If this is the route that you’d like to take, then we’d recommend you start out with Unlocator, a well known Smart DNS proxy service that’s been around lomg enough to know the level of quality to offer its customers. They have a free 7 day trial period in place so you’ll be able to sample them without spending any money.
Channels With Blackout Restrictions
For your own knowledge, here’s a list of sports channels that are known to be difficult to access due to blackout restrictions:
- Fox Sports Go
- NBC Sports
- NFL Game Pass
Closing Thoughts on How To Bypass Blackout Restrictions in the US
Now you have a good idea on what it will take to ensure that you get to watch your favourite sport channels regardless of wherever you may be. The two providers that we’ve mentioned above, ExpressVPN and Unlocator, will save you a lot of money compared to the expensive cable packages offered by most TV companies. Also, on top of all that sporting action, you’ll gain access to more forms of entertainment such as blockbuster movies and top rated TV shows, all for the same price. Let us know if you successfully subscribed to any of the services we mentioned & also how your experience has been. We’d love to hear from you.