While downloading TV series and movies is suprisingly legal in Spain for personal use and my kids used to be heavy downloaders, they have recently cut down a lot. They have not decreased their downloading activities because they had an ethical dilemma or because they were pestered by me. They almost stopped getting movies on the internet because they much prefer streaming to downloading. And they are not alone. Many people prefer an Internet connection streaming rather to downloading because of the instant gratification element in which there´s no need to spends a lot of money in storage. Examples of great sites are Hulu, Joost and Babelgum – disclosure: I’m an investor in Joost. Now my kids favorite is Hulu the online video joint venture from NBC and News Corp that offers streaming video of professional content like many popular TV shows.

But due to issues regarding the rights of distribution, Hulu’s service is still accessible only in the United States, and anybody who is in Europe needs to use workarounds to watch its contents. One of these workarounds is using Hotspotshield, a software that protects your data while accessing the Internet from a public place, driving all your traffic through a VPN. As a side effect, it allows people from outside the US to watch Hulu and access other services that are geolocked to the US, like video sites from TV networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX. So for many who don’t live in the States, watching streaming video on Hulu using software like Hotspotshield or a proxy server is already better then piracy. But to me the fact that kids are using Hotspotshield to watch Hulu outside the States proves that even when piracy is legal people prefer a great watching experience that includes ads than a laborious Pirate Bay type experience that does not.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

No Comments

jl on August 10, 2008  · 

Martin, it only works for a while… until you use the 10GBs of badwidth allowed by hotspotshield, which is not a lot 🙂

3.0 rating

TV Paradise on August 11, 2008  · 

I created TV Paradise for watching Hulu outside of the US. It has all of Hulu’s videos embedded with a bitrate that works better with Hotspot Shield.

3.0 rating

David Oliver on August 11, 2008  · 

http://www.witopia.com costs $40 per year but is very good, especially in places like China.

3.0 rating

Cristobal on August 11, 2008  · 

I know what you mean but still I dont think is appropiate to say “piracy is legal in Spain”.
However I totally agree with your kids, I prefer streaming since I dont have to wait to start seeing or big amounts of disk.

P2P technology is really going to be a big thing in the future and I think many companies doesnt understand it.
One good example of a company that makes good use of this technology is Blizzard. When I wanted to download a video-demo of a game instead of the video itself I had to download an exe that is a kind of micro-torrent where all the people that is downloading the video share its content. Big cut-down of bandwitdh comsuption for Blizzard!

3.0 rating

killy_de_Chine on August 11, 2008  · 

Hotspotshield is also quite useful if you live in country like China to have an uncensored web.

3.0 rating

killy_de_Chine on August 11, 2008  · 

http://www.witopia.com might be good… but from Shanghai I can not open their website… so hard for me to register…

3.0 rating

yani on August 11, 2008  · 


in Korea, where the infra is very good (I have a 100 Mbps line @ home – quite common – with usually real 80-90 Mpbs; 1.4 G avi DVD quality movies usually in less than 4 min) we see 2 distinct developments: streaming for all the things in your daily lives and downloads for all kinds of PMPs for on the move. I guess the latter will disappear and everything will be streamed when Wimax is widely deployed …

3.0 rating

Cem Kemal Mimaroglu on August 12, 2008  · 

A good tip, thanks – I humbly think that your children should author a blog as well and share their internet usage habits with the rest of the world (It seems like we, or at least I, can learn a lot).



3.0 rating

Martin Varsavsky on August 12, 2008  · 

Thanks TV Paradise,

Will try it out.

3.0 rating

Gustavo L on August 13, 2008  · 

These sites are fantastic so long as I don’t have to download any files/players.

If the large media companies continue to roll out offerings such as Hulu many start ups will go out of business. Hulu is user friendly, clean UI and streaming content!

3.0 rating

Boyd R. Jones on August 13, 2008  · 

In Saudi Arabia right now, Hotshotshield blocked here. 🙁

Martin – I am doing some consulting work for a telecom carrier here — is FON in Saudi Arabia yet?

3.0 rating

Martin Varsavsky on August 18, 2008  · 

No Boyd,

And we would love to be there!

3.0 rating

Martin Varsavsky on August 18, 2008  · 


My son Tom actually started a blog…

But he wrote a few posts and left it for now.

3.0 rating

Boyd Jones on August 18, 2008  · 

Martin – could I then trouble you to shoot me an e-mail or put me in touch with FON personnel to work towards bringing FON to Saudi Arabia? Assuming there are models for cooperation with telcos.

3.0 rating

bobby b on August 23, 2008  · 

It’s http://www.witopia.net

not witopia.com

works great. free iphone vpn too. no limits as far as i can see.

3.0 rating

Leave a Comment

Español / English

Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets