Friday, December 13, 2013

A Guaranteed Way to Get Around Local NHL (& Other Sports) Blackouts
I live in Los Angeles, work nights, and am an avid Anaheim Ducks fan. Due to the extreme hours that I keep at work, I am generally saddled behind a desk during damn near every NHL game. In addition to my normal job, when I'm not behind said desk I'm traveling around on shoots. This makes my ability of catching a Ducks game on a local broadcast nearly impossible. This also makes NHL Gamecenter an amazing alternative. For $20 a month, all games the NHL has to offer will be sent to the screen of my choice? I'm happy to pay to see my team, I'm not trying to cheat anyone... hell, sounds amazing! Well, amazing unless you happen to live next to the team you root for.

Being about 30 miles from Anaheim and living deep in Kings territory means that anything actually broadcast can't make it to me. However, I live so close that I still fall into the "local blackout zone" for the Anaheim Ducks. This makes it impossible for me to legally view a game without visiting a local bar that will allow a Ducks fan to watch a non-Kings game, a heavy task to say the least. This has forced my hand to view games at any cost... even if it is... well it's NOT illegal, but it's against certain BS "Terms and Conditions".

Enter Port-Forwarding. Port-Forwarding allows you to take your computers IP address (the service that tells the provider where your computer is physically connected) and push your signal to anywhere in the world. To put this in layman's terms, you could be sitting outside of the local sports arena and they would think you are coming from Hawaii, Canada, New Zealand, etc. This tells your internet-sports provider that you are outside of the blackout zone and allows you to watch to your hearts desire. there ARE port forwarding programs that are free. In my experience they work like shit. The interface is horrible, you get kicked off connections every few minutes, and the list of available connections is miniscule. I've dabbled with a few of the paid ones as well and they greatly vary in quality as well. The best of these, thus far, is a program called "Hide My Ass" or known by its kinder, gentler title, "HMA". For a $60 flat rate you can get 6 months of their kick-ass service, just enough to get you through your season. (This service can also be used to download things untraceably for those of you who are unscrupulous enough to do such things ;-) ) Additional uses for port-forwarding also allow you to browse different store-fronts to purchase material from places like I-Tunes or watch things on Netflix that haven't yet came out in your country. If you do INSIST on free port-forwarding, I have heard DECENT things about the Google Chrome Add-On "Hola Better Internet". Simply download it from and install it into Chrome. I have had little time to mess with this program, but to me it appears slow and clunky. Connections don't last, speed is sluggish, and it is based on ad-generated revenue which I find fucking annoying. Take my advice, spend the money and purchase an actual service.

So there you go, just connect to HMA, open up your normal web-browser, and the program will forward your signal to anywhere you desire. As of now, I have not had any trouble with GameCenter "Locking me out". I assume that not only do they monitor where your signal is coming from, but they probably keep a log of it. If they so desired, they COULD lock you out if your connections are "suspicious". So perhaps its better to always log on to one location. Just food for thought....

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