Olympic proxy – how to watch location restricted content



It sounds like I’m not the only one bummed out about the NBC/Microsoft/Silverlight version of the olympics. Hackszine reader No Dust writes:

How do you view the Olympics on the Internet? NBCOLYMPICS.COM only shows popular games in the U.S., and missed many good games. I went to other international web-sites in China and England (bbc). All their video-streaming have been blocked for the U.S. region.

I heard about Proxy server stuffs… if there anything we can do to by pass their “region” check on our IP address and browser info?

There are a number of sites that are distributing recorded or live olympics content online, but due to their licensing agreements, they only show content to a restricted location. The provider looks at your incoming IP address which can determine your country of origin and your permission to view the video they provide. To get around this restriction, you need to find a proxy server in an allowed location. Here’s how to do it.

Choose A Site To Watch

China Central Television (CCTV) has a big list of rights holders, by country, that are officially licensed to broadcast olympic games content online. Go to the CCTV Olympic Games internet rights holders list, and select a URL that you want to view. Then, see which countries are associated with that URL. You’ll have to find a proxy in one of these countries to view the content.

Try and find a licensed country that is likely to have a decent internet backbone and infrastructure. When you look for a proxy server, you’ll have better luck finding one with a speedy connection. For instance, YouTube has an Olympics channel at http://www.youtube.com/beijing2008. To view anything at that URL, however, you need to be in one of the approved countries. There’s a big list to choose from, but you might want to go with South Korea instead of Afghanistan.

Find A Proxy

There are a bunch of proxy servers around the world that allow anyone to use them, typically called open proxies. You’ll need to search a bit to find one that is currently online, but there’s a decent, regularly updated database of open proxies at xroxy.com that does a decent job.

If you’re searching for South Korea, just select it from the country list, and you’ll find a number of open proxy servers, along with their latency and uptime information. Try to find one with really low latency, but keep in mind that if it has a low reliability measure, it’s less likely that it’ll be online.

Scribble down the IP address and port number for a couple proxies in the list. You’ll need that information to configure Firefox.

Configure Firefox To Use A Proxy

In Firefox, go to preferences->advanced->network->settings. There’s a radio button that specifies whether to use a proxy or not. Choose “Manual proxy configuration”.

Most of the proxies in the list would have said “Transparent” in the proxy type column and use port 8080. Assuming that’s the case, you want to type the IP address you saved in the “HTTP Proxy” input field, and “8080” in it’s associated “Port” field. If it was a SOCKS proxy, do similar, but in the “SOCKS Host” field, and make sure to select v4 or v5, as appropriate.

See If It Worked

Once you’ve saved you settings, you should be able to go to the view content that wasn’t previously available to you. You’ll notice that your connection is a bit slower, since everything is being funneled through a server in another country, but in most cases, this will work out. If you can’t connect through the proxy, or if your connection is really slow, just try another proxy from the list.

When you’re done watching, make sure to go back to your settings and turn off the proxy by choosing the “Direct connection to the internet” option. If you leave the proxy settings in place, your connection will be slow and everything you browse will be funneled through the proxy server – probably not what you want.

That’s really all there is to it. Good luck!

4 thoughts on “Olympic proxy – how to watch location restricted content

  1. slaney says:

    Why do I need to give Mr. Fook my email address to download Open Source software. I would have given it if he asked, but not as a condition.

  2. Paul says:

    FriendFeed, which aggregates pretty much anything you do online if it has a supported API or RSS feed, is a great service. I wrote some really simple code that uses the FriendFeed API to put your “stream” on your site either via an iframe embed of PHP include. It’s extremely customizable via CSS (or if you know a little PHP, it’s disgustingly customizable). No hosted databases or difficult installation required: http://frindo.googlecode.com

    Sweetcron is cool. But some people just want most of their online activity on their homepage and don’t care about hosting it in their own database.

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