One of the great things about using a VPN service which supports multiple countries is that you can use it for all sorts of things. For example a week ago I was able to help a colleague from Rome who was working in the UK for a few weeks. His English is reasonable but finds watching TV and films in English quite hard work. Anyway it turned out he had been trying to access this site http://www.raiplay.it/ from his computer but it wouldn’t work.
So here it is, our old friend region locking or geo targeting whatever you want to call it. Although you can watch some of the shows on the Rai Play site, much of it is restricted to Italian based visitors. Just like every major media site from Hulu to the BBC, you have to be in a specific country in order to access the whole site.
Of course, usually a VPN based in Italy should be sufficient to access the site so let’s try it out.
As you can see from the demonstration, all it needs is a VPN server based somewhere in Italy. Fortunately Identity Cloaker and most of the bigger VPN companies have servers across Europe, so an Italian VPN is normally available. So switching to an Italian Ip address allows access to the Rai Player site wherever you happen to be.
IT’s a familiar yet slightly depressing story, why so many of these sites can’t ensure their content is available globally. In fairness from investigation it seems that the Rai channels are slightly better than most, because much of the content is not region locked. It compares favorably to something like the BBC iPlayer which doesn’t even allow access to things like the BBC News but blocks all access to content throughout the site.