Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, but many people do not know that Amazon has also begun to establish dominance when it comes to streaming media through its Amazon Prime service. Amazon Prime allows users to stream thousands of movies and television shows at no cost, making the service a valid competitor to other sites like Netflix.
Having an Amazon prime membership is great, but at the present time there are many limitations placed on the service outside of the United States. It is possible to unblock Amazon Prime outside of the US with a VPN and a few simple clicks.
What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is a membership-based service which provides many benefits to Amazon users. For an affordable yearly fee, Prime members can enjoy free two-day shipping on most items purchased from Amazon. The big benefit, however, is free access to Amazon’s massive library of digital content.
Amazon Prime members can stream many movies and television shows for free. If you enjoy watching television and films, a Prime membership can easily pay for itself in a very short period of time. Digital content from Amazon Prime can be streamed to a variety of devices including computers, tablets, Smart TV’s and even smartphones that run on the iOS or Android Platform. Users can also purchase new releases for a nominal cost and even create customized viewing schedules. All of this flexibility is driving more people to use the Amazon Prime service.
Unfortunately, there is one small glitch with the Prime service. Most of the digital media which can be streamed is not available to Amazon members outside of the United States.
Why is Amazon Prime blocked outside of the US?
The main reason streaming media with Amazon Prime is not allowed outside of the US is copyright issues. Some countries are not allowed to access digital content due to copyright restrictions put in place by major studios. In the past, copyright infringement has been a serious problem in other countries. File sharing in many countries is very hard to monitor, and studios want to ensure they are receiving the proper royalties for their digital content. In addition, some countries block media services as a part of their effort to monitor and control what is accessed on the Internet.
This is especially bad news for expats and travelers from the US who depend upon their Amazon Prime account to provide them with access to digital media. There seems to be little point in paying for the benefits of Prime if you don’t use the streaming service.
How is Amazon Prime blocked?
To guarantee that restricted media cannot be viewed outside of the United States, Amazon Prime utilizes geo-restriction which uses an IP address as an identifier. A user’s IP address can reveal the location where digital media is being accessed. If that location is revealed to be outside of the US, access to Prime streaming is restricted.
It is interesting to note here that Amazon is a service which requires registration. A user has to sign up for an account, a process which requires providing an email address and also a mailing address for shipments received from Amazon. Why then, if Amazon knows that you live in the US, do they block Prime videos when you try to access them from other countries?
The answer is that the restriction on Amazon’s digital media is based on your present location, not the location you used to register the account. Amazon realizes that its members travel. Therefore, in addition to having your registration information on hand, your IP address is also checked when you login. Just because you registered an account in the United States does not mean you will be able to access streaming media with Amazon Prime if you happen to be in Germany. In that country, and many others, you cannot stream media with Amazon Prime.
Taking the chains off of Amazon Prime to watch it outside the US
Unblocking Amazon Prime is a fairly simple process. You need to have a VPN account with a provider who offers a US-based server. We include a US-based VPN server among our many server options. Once your account is configured, you simply sign on to the US-based server when you are out of the country before accessing your Prime membership. This will restore your streaming media privileges no matter where you happen to be.
In many cases, individuals don’t realize they are going to need a VPN to unblock Amazon Prime until they reach their travel destination. That can be too late because some countries, like China, block access to VPN provider websites. We strongly recommend that you set up your own personal VPN account before leaving the United States to avoid difficulty with obtaining a VPN.
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