When my brother told me about a browser plug-in he uses to watch BBC iPlayer, I decided to give it a try. Up until now I've been using a paid VPN service (HMA), where I must connect to a suitable server (e.g. London, UK for iPlayer) before using the service.
The plug-in Media Hint is a browser add-on for Firefox and Chrome and does not have a user interface. There is no toolbar, pop-up ads or embedded ads like most free VPN/proxy services I've tried in the past. It doesn't change the browser search or homepage either. It's actually completely hidden from view apart from when I view the extensions list.
Once installed, it effectively acts like a DVD player region-free hack. I've tried it with BBC iPlayer, Hulu ad NBC and it's as if there is no region-restriction in place. Unlike the free VPN/proxy services I've tried, there doesn't seem to be any bandwidth issue either. For example, HD streams work fine on the BBC, just like using the paid VPN. Very nice.
So far I haven't actually come across any catch with the service, other than it only works with Firefox and Chrome and doesn't work outside the browser (e.g. iPlayer Desktop)
The following are the extensions:
- Media Hint for Firefox
- Media Hint for Chrome
As this add-on is relatively new and I'm not fully sure if there any privacy issues with it, I would suggest not using it with your main browser. For example, if you use Firefox, then use the plug-in with Chrome. If you regularly use both browsers, install Firefox portable and use the plug-in with it.