“Watch US TV online"

I'm no technician, but I have found an easy way and a harder way to watch American network streaming video online from Canada. What you need to do is convince the American site that you are not in Canada, but rather, in the States. The reason these feeds are blocked from outside-the-U.S. computers is not, contrary to popular belief, because the CRTC in this country is preventing us from watching American shows online. In fact what happens is that the site looks at your IP address - that's what tells the website where the seeking inquiry comes from. If it's from outside the U.S. - doesn't matter if it's Canada, Australia, or Bosnia - it well send out a message that says, "You are not authorized to view this content," or some variation of that. The reason is because of the programming rights that have been sold by the various show's producers and distributors. In Canada, such shows as CSI and its kin are purchased by a Canadian network for a certain number of showings. In order to stream that same show to Canada without an additional distribution agreement in place, and all the appropriate fees being paid, the originating network would be violating its contract with the distributors and producers. As a result, we get the "sorry, you can't see this," message.

To solve this problem, you need to convince the American website that your computer is not in Canada. There are many varieties of IP address-hiding software available at various prices. The least expensive is found at www.HTTP-Tunnel.com. It's free, but in order to get high-speed internet service, you have to buy a subscription for about $5.00 a month, otherwise it is slow, slow, slow and you have to jump through a lot of technical hoops in terms of changing your computer's settings to make it work.

A second option, and the one that I use now, is found at www.hidemyip.com. This one has several advantages. It's easy to download, and very simple to use. The price is about $60, and that's one-time only. As well as making the visited site think you are in the US, it also has settings for the UK and other countries.

Patrick Soon is a former UBC student, now living, working, and studying in the States, and he is far more technically adept than I. If you visit his site at www.patricksoon.com, you will find many other ways to access U.S television online, most of which are fairly complicated and require a higher degree of computer literacy.