After the government started rumoring to extend the quarantine to July or possibly August, I decided to invest in trash TV to soothe my brain. They help me switch off and drift my attention elsewhere.
Step 1 - I bought a VPN service and the choice fell on Express VPN. If you'd like to give it a try, you might as well do so using my referral link - we will both get 30 days free.
I am able to use Express VPN on my computer, through a software (available for Win, MacOs, Linux), on our tablets through an app (app available for iOS and Android), on our smartphones through an app, too, and even on our old AppleTV by custom setting the DNS!
There are several configuration options: you could set up your VPN on your router (if compatible), so that the whole network is under VPN. Or you could set up VPN on each device.
We couldn't go for the router route (no pun intended) because we use Telecentro Sagecom router and didn't want to spenda extra money for a new one. You can also set up a double-tunnel option, i.e. decide that some browsers run with VPN and some not: for example, you can use Chrome under VPN by default and Firefox without VPN, so that you can do your local search/shopping taking advantage of geolocalization.
The hardest part, for me, was setting up the DDNS service, which is free but not provided by Express VPN (they provide a thorough step-by-step guide, though!).
You can get it for free through Dynu.com. Basically, since our Internet provider uses dynamic DNS, our IP address continuously change and we should update our Express VPN IP-masking settings regularly. With Dynu, they keep track of your dynamic IP and you can forget about it. Express VPN is not affiliated with Dynu, but their step-by-step guide explained how to set DDNS using Dynu, so it was a no brainer!
We have the basic Telecentro plan for 50 Mbps in download and our Apple TV works flawlessly. There is no buffering when pausing, which was my main complain when I had used VPN with streaming services in the past (I was using the paid service Nord VPN).
Express VPN starts at 99.95 USD per year and there is a 30-day money back guarantee. I joined with a promo 12 months + 3 months free - that's 6.67 USD per month. It is not the cheapest paid VPN, but this had very good reviews for streaming services.
I considered also SurfShark - the cheapest of them all, with $1.67 per month (their promo is 2 years + 2 months free for about $47) and Tunnel Bear, which about $40/year (their promo is 3-year for $120)
SurfShack can be paid in cash at Pago Facil, but it wasn't clear to me how the money back guarantee would have worked if I paid cash. However, given the difference between the blue and the official exchange, it's probably the best deal out there. But I should test it to see if it really performs like Express VPN. My suggestion is to try the service using another payment method, like Paypal or a foreign credit card, and ask for a refund before the 30-day mark. If you are satisfied, pay with PagoFacil in cash.
I would be interested in hearing your experience if you feel like setting up SurfShark!
Step 2 - Subscribe to Hulu and get to see plenty of American trash TV shows. I really missed Hoarders, My 600 lbs. life, Flip or Flop, House Hunters in all its flairs (international, renovation, US). For under 6 USD a month with ads, and twice as much with no ads.
On Netflix, I am accessing the US catalogue and I can finally go back watching The Great British Baking show!
Amazon Prime seems to have the same the titles as before, but I haven't delved into it yet.