I was to travel to Asia in the third week of June. By the time I booked my tickets, the season 6 of Game of Thrones had already entered its last phase. Since I have been following it for a long time now, I made sure my departure date did not collide with its season finale. I was all set to go, when I realized “True Detective” – another favorite show of mine, was to return for the second season the following week.
I had some meetings lined up in Beijing, China therefore I decided to go ahead with my schedule. As soon as I landed at the Beijing Capital International Airport and got out of the airport, a chauffeur sent by hosts to pick me up and drop me off at the hotel, welcomed me. After a brief introduction we opened up with each other and I asked him if they had direct access to HBO.
I was not willing to take a no for an answer, but much to my dismay, that is exactly what he responded with. He did not only stop there, he went on further to tell me that the Chinese people have their own version of Twitter and Foursquare. Stunned by his revelations, I decided to look for the alternatives on Google when he told me that Google was also banned in China.
By now we had reached the hotel, I checked in and decided to lie-down on the bed for a few minutes. Half an hour later, I got out of the bed and turned on the TV to see what was happening in the other side of the world. I was surprised to see there was no special access to the international channels. At first I thought, this had more to do with the hotel I was staying in, but later I found out that China is very strict in its censorship policies.
Gutted at the appalling state of online censorship in China, I pinged to a tech-geek friend of mine who was in the United States. I asked him if I could access my favorite TV channels from China and if I could watch True Detective season 2 from here to which he replied positively. He told me I could get a functioning VPN service in China to watch the movies and TV shows instantly.
Days went by and my meetings with my Chinese counterparts went smooth. I decided to extend my stay to visit the ancient monuments of China. My visits to monuments were good and I’d cherish them forever, but by now the first episode of True Detective season 2 had already premiered.
I decided it was time for me to break the barrier of geo-restrictions and found a VPN service which promised to give me instantaneous access to HBO and HBO Go. Since I am already an avid fan of Game of Thrones, I still had activated subscriptions to both these channels. I only needed a US induced IP address to access my favorite channels from China.
I signed up for a VPN service and connected to their US server. I browsed through HBO’s website and there I was! Found the link to watch the first episode of True Detective with ease, all I had to do was to sign up with my HBO account while remaining connected to the VPN’s US server.
I lost myself before the laptop for an hour until the season premier ended. Having finally gained the consciousness, I decided to dig deeper to find out how the VPN services work. I found out that the VPN services actually cloak your IP address with any of theirs and also protect you by placing your online identity behind a secret wall (read: tunnel) to keep the threats away.
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A closer look at the VPN service revealed that all the VPN providers provide you with extensive servers to increase the content accessibility and to climb past the geo-restrictions barrier. I also found out that you can watch even Netflix US using a VPN, WWE Network, Hulu and much more outside US all with VPN. I had actually signed up for a month with my VPN service provider, but changed my subscription package to yearly after reading how it also protects us from snoopers.
My visit to China did not only bring me fruitful results for my business, but they also brought with them the fruit (read: VPN) I’ll enjoy eating when I travel again!