If you were like me, you were pretty upset when ABC had to pull The Daily Show and the Colbert Report from air after Foxtel acquired exclusivity of the two. And in Australia, the only way to watch them was via Foxtel or acquire it via different means. But, their geoblock is not like the ones you see on Hulu. It has a weak spot, which we have found.
And it works. I’ve been enjoying it for most of the year – and was pondering whether or not to post this (because I wasn’t sure of its legality). But hey, you watch it with ads provided by Viacom, so it’s like a win-win situation (except for Foxtel).
Plus, it’s the US Election season. So, why not get a fix of some ‘alternative’ commentary about the frontrunners.
How to do it?
First, what you need is to get Firefox and install a plugin called Modify Headers – yes, and the name suggests what we are doing. We are going to slightly alter the headers whenever we connect to a page – like The Daily Show or the Colbert Report.
After installing it, you should see a new menu on the Navigation Toolbar with the logo similar to where you see above “Start” in the image on top. Click the button and find the option “Open Modify Headers”. If you don’t have the button, then you have to right click the toolbar, select “Customize” and drag and drop the “Modify Headers” button.
The idea is that we want to add something to our headers to tell the servers that we’re coming from America via a HTTP proxy (which many workplaces use). So, under “Select Action”, choose “Add”. Now, under “Header name”, type in X-Forwarded-For. Now, for a value, we want something that looks like an American IP address. I personally chose 22.214.171.124 – but feel free to be a bit creative (just make sure it works). You can also put in a comment – though it’s not necessary; and when finished, press Add. It should be added to the list.
Afterwards, we want to make sure it’s enabled – you’ll see in the last column that there should be a green or red indicator. Click the “Enable/Disable” button the right hand side of the dialog box, and the light should be green if it’s not enabled. If it’s already green, don’t worry.
And you are done. Now all you have to do is simply go back to the Modify Headers button and click on “Start”. The logo should now be red. To test it out, go to The Daily Show’s website and watch a clip from the show. It should now play.
As well from playing clips, you can now play full episodes of the show. Though, for both watching clips and full episodes, you’ll see ads in between. However, for some unknown reason, many of the ads I’ve encountered are for Australian companies. But hey, all we care about is you and I, watching The Daily Show and not buying Foxtel just to see it.
Are there any more sites that I could do this to?
Well, there is one more notable site that falls victim from this little trickery. And that’s VEVO. Remember that site? For those not in the know, VEVO is a music video site launched by YouTube and Universal Music. While many of us were stuck using YouTube as a way to watch videos, the US had access to VEVO and more artists because of rights restrictions. So using this technique, you can now see what VEVO is all about.
I can personally tell you, it’s not much you’re missing.
Also, for some unknown reason, I found ABC’s own iView having problems loading with this on. What does that say? Maybe nothing, or maybe a way for those in the United States and anyone else in the world to watch stuff from the ABC outside of Australia?