Location-based content restrictions are fairly common on the Internet . It is most often used for streaming services that provide you with access to video or audio contents.
Popular services that use these types of restrictions are Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, and more or less every TV network in the United States.
There are two solutions available to overcome this. The first uses browser extensions like Media Hint, the second virtual private networks (VPNs).
We have reviewed Media Hint before here on Ghacks and liked that it offered an install and go kind of experience. All you had to do was install the browser extension to use it.
If you load the Media Hint website right now you will notice that things have changed quite a bit. You get a login prompt on the site, and the try it now buttons on the frontpage seem to suggest that things have changed quite a bit.
As of today, all users of Media Hint are required to sign in to an account to use the service. According to the company, this is to provide a personalized service, support and make available paid plans.
Update: Shortly after we have published the review the company made another important change. It removed free accounts completely leaving users with a 7 days trial before requiring them to sign up for a monthly or yearly plan to continue using the service. A free alternative is Hola Unblocker. Check out this guide to prevent the application from injecting ads into websites you visit.
Update 2: The company seems to have removed the account sign in for users who downloaded and installed the browser extensions directly, at least for now.
There is no mentioning of paid plans on the homagepage though, but once you have signed in, you see them listed on the account page.
Two account types are listed here, a free account and a premium account that you can pay for monthly or annually.
The free account gives you access to location restricted contents and use Chrome or Firefox to do so. The premium account on top of that offers unlimited daily use, premium support and soon to come support for other apps, browsers and devices.
A premium account starts at $3.95 per month. The unlimited daily use feature of the premium account seems to suggest that free accounts are limited in terms of daily use.
The website does not offer information about that, but if you head over to Twitter, you will notice a statement by the site operators that free accounts are not limited in daily use either. It unclear why unlimited daily use is listed as a premium feature then.
The main change for free users is that you need an account now to use Media Hint. According to the company, you only need to sign in once a month if you do not delete cookies before.
Some users of the service may find this inconvenient, but considering that nothing else changes, it is likely something that the majority can live with.
Are you using Media Hint? If so, what is your take on this?