NBC has made it possible for any US residents (even non-cable subscribers) to stream live TV directly from their website.  But if you travel outside the US, all you’ll get is a “content not available in your area” message.

Read on to find out how to override NBC’s geo-restrictions so that you can watch SNL, 30 Rock, America’s Got Talent and other popular shows on NBC from outside of the US.

NBC's dreaded "sorry this clip is not available" message
NBC’s dreaded “sorry this clip is not available” message

How does NBC’s geo-restriction policy work?

Unless you have a VPN service provider, NBC’s geo-blocked content is only available to people that have US based IP addresses.  If your IP address is associated with a country outside of the country, you’ll hit NBC’s filter when you try to watch its live video feeds.

What is an IP address?

An IP address is a unique number that identifies your computer on the internet.

A computer without an IP address is like a blank envelope.  Without an IP address, you’d be unable to communicate with anyone or browse the web.

The first few numbers of your IP address are like your postal code.  They help narrow down your location to a particular geographical region.  The last set of numbers identifies your particular machine.

Unlike a postal code, an IP address is easy to change. All you have to do is use VPN technology to create a virtual private network between your computer and a server. This will let you use the server’s IP address to surf the web instead of your own.

Is there any way to hide my IP address from NBC?

If you want to prevent the NBC server and other machines on the web from accessing your location information, you need to sign up with a Virtual Private Network service provider (VPN).  VPNs make it virtually impossible to trace your connection back to your individual computer. Having reviewed many VPNs ourselves, AddonHQ’s personal recommendation is to use IPVanish. Read on to see it in action, and why we think it’s the best VPN on the market.

How does a VPN work?

The best way to understand Virtual Private Networking is to think of it as *69 for your computer.  With *69, you can prevent your number from showing up on caller ID.  In the same way, VPN services block computers on the web from tracing back your internet connection.

All the data that passes through a VPN “tunnel” gets encrypted.  If anyone tries to see what your doing while you’re logged into a VPN, all they’ll see is pure gibberish.

If you connect to a United States VPN server from anywhere in the world, it’ll look like you’re accessing the web from a computer located in the USA.  Once you’re in, you’ll be able to get full access to all the sites and video streams that are normally only available to US residents.

How to use a VPN to watch NBC

Without a VPN, I can’t normally access NBC streaming content because I live overseas. If I log into whatsmyipaddress.com, the map correctly indicates that I’m located in Budapest, Hungary.


So when I go to nbc.com/live with my VPN off, I encounter the geo-block.  The black circle on the right side of the screen indicates that I’m disconnected from IPVanish.


But when I turn on IPVanish, the button turns green and my whatsmyipaddress.com map indicates that I’m in Florida.


Now if I reload nbc.com/live, I’m able to get to the login screen.


How to choose a VPN service

Here are a few questions to ask before you sign up for a VPN service.

  • How fast are the servers?  Quality data encryption requires powerful CPUs.  If you go with a cut-rate VPN provider you’ll lose speed.  But if you get a quality VPN provider, you won’t notice any slowdowns.
  • How trustworthy is the company?  It pays to do a little Google searching first before you sign up with a VPN service.  In May of 2015, VPN provider Hola was caught selling its customers’ bandwidth to hackers.
  • Does it have mobile apps?  If you want to access NBC or other streams on your phone, be sure to go with a VPN provider that has an app that’s compatible with your device.
  • Does it discriminate against certain types of downloads?  Some VPN services favor some types of internet over others.  If you like to play online games, stream videos or download torrents, be sure that your VPN service is friendly to these types of activities first before you sign up.

How fast is IPVanish?

IPVanish is the biggest, quickest VPN network out there right now.  It also happens to be one of the least expensive ones, too.

As everyone knows, high def streams can be very bandwidth intensive.  So unless you enjoy waiting for videos to buffer, you need a VPN provider that’s willing to invest in fast servers.  IPVanish has more than enough raw server power to handle any type of internet activity.

Why Flixed recommends IPVanish

IPVanish isn’t only streamer friendly, it actively tries to market to people who like to view and share content on the web.  To find out more about IPVanish’s positive view of the streaming community, check out this page on their official site.

What do other tech blogs say about IPVanish?

Around the web, IPVanish has been racking up positive reviews from big name tech blogs like Gizmodo, Business Insider, CNET, Fast Company and Slashdot.  When Lifehacker asked its readers which VPN service they use, IPVanish was one of the most popular choices.

IPVanish’s unique approach to Virtual Private Networking

IPVanish is one of the only VPN services out there that uses IP sharing.  When you log on to IPVanish, you’ll hitch a ride on one of its different 14,000 IP addresses.  Anyone can use any of the addresses anytime they log in.  Add that to the fact that IPVanish doesn’t collect any type of usage logs, and what you end up with is a truly anonymous way to surf the web.

Alex Munkachy is a freelance writer, game developer and hobby robotics enthusiast. You can find his blog about robotics news and reviews at robotfanatics.com.