4 Easy steps to Freedom from MioTV and Starhub Cable
For those in Singapore, we live on a little island with very few TV content providers. And with the slow death of DVD rentals, it seems we have no choice but to live with whatever this island has to offer for TV and media entertainment, namely our two biggest providers – Singtel and Starhub.
I personally hate Singtel MioTV. Their basic package provides the shittiest channels possible. Not only that, their channels keep freezing up as well. Watching frozen shit is bad. Watching bad frozen shit is worse. And Singtel just loves to squeeze their existing customers till eyes pop out of our bone marrows. Their basic package comes at $30 per month. Or one can opt for their bundle at $80 which has broadband and MioTV. There are 50 over channels in the package but only a handful that are worth watching like National Geographic. There’s no Discovery Channel, no A&E, no BBC, no Syfy, no History….etc. IMO, it’s
shit expensive shit. Starhub is a little better but it’s still expensive and you don’t get to watch what you want when you want, plus you get ads in it.
So is there a way out? YES! I’ve found after quite a bit of research that freedom can be as simple as 3 easy steps!!!! (A wee bit of tech skills are required here)
Step 1 – Get SmartDNS
Basically you need a way to access regionally locked content. Namely – Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC…etc. If you were to try getting into their websites now, you’d find that you can’t do it. There are a few ways to do this. You can change internet provider to MyRepublic or ViewQuest. But if you have an existing contract already like me, this may not be a viable option.
You can subscribe to a VPN service. This will basically mask you and regionally locked content think that you’re from US. The problem is – it’s very slow. So watching streaming through VPN is extremely frustrating and painful.
Lastly, you can get SmartDNS. This is basically like a portal that allows access to the restricted content. It does not compromise your speed and it’s also less complicated to configure.
In my trials and research, I have found CactusVPN to be the best.(I don’t get any $$ for this) They give a good 7 day trial period and don’t even require any credit card to sign up. Their customer service was quick and friendly to answer my queries. And they are also one of the most affordable services out there. I signed up for the SmartDNS for 1 year at about $SGD 37. It comes up to about $3 per month.
Next, just follow the instructions to configure your router to input the DNS address given and BOOM! – you’re given access!!! Give it a try risk free. If your router can’t be configured, then you’re out of luck or just get another router lor.(I bought an Asus RT-AC66U coz Singtel’s router kept dropping connection on me)
Step 2 – Test and Subscribe to Netflix
Go to Netflix. If you can access their page, that mean you have no problems. Sign up with Netflix for a free trial of 7 days. You will likely have to use Paypal and will need a US postal code or address for this process. There’s a bunch of websites out there that cover getting a Netflix account outside of US. Just google it. Once subscribed you can watch Netflix on your computer or via any web browser within your router’s range.
Step 3 – Get a streaming device and hook it to TV
Lastly, get a streaming device like Roku or Apple TV. There’s a bunch of them at IT fairs now that sell android devices that enable netflix. I got the Roku3 through Amazon. Love it. It has the ability to listen to the stream via headphones through the remote.
Hook the device up to your TV, configure it to link up with your Netflix account and BOOM!! You’re in!
Step 4 – Add other channels
If you got the Roku, you can add other channels like Hulu, Crackle….etc. Just Enjoy.
In total I calculated that I would be $SGD 15 to get Netflix on my TV. Compared to $30 from Singtel. No brainer. Even if I subscribed to Hulu Plus at $US8 per month, it would still be worth it.
On the side note: Since you’ll be streaming content, it’s perfectly legal. But this also means that the quality of your content is highly dependant on your internet speed. I’m currently on Singtel’s 300mbps Fibre plan. Netflix stream a low resolution for about 1 minute and then it switches to HD 1080p.