EDIT: I ran into a lot of problems this go round, despite this method working previously -- while I still believe smartDNS is a viable option I just used my VPN, and if you have difficulty I would recommend doing the same. sorry guys/gals
Hello NN, ers
Maybe you're like me: I haven't lived in NorCal since the early 2000s, sometimes in some pretty crappy parts of the world. For the last three years I had NFL Sunday Ticket on DirectTV, and aside from the expense the reliability and rewatchability made it totally worth it. I am NOT a cord cutter, I'm a willing to pay for reliability and minimal effort on game day kinda person.
Now there are plenty of ways to watch NFL games for free, and I used some of those during the preseason, but there are any number of reasons why that's not ideal. It's not really legal for one. It's not as reliable for another. Sometimes you can but sometimes you can't pause, FF, REW, or rewatch in slow mo or frame by frame. And finally, the image quality is not always the best (though I didn't have any problems finding 720p.)
NFL Gamepass is a great solution - if you're outside the US. An authorized way to pay like 180 bucks US for every game the whole season and postseason, including the coaches film breakdown available after gameday.
BUT, in the US the NFL isn't allowed to show you footage while another NFL game is on the air. Which means if the 49ers play on Sunday morning/afternoon you can't see the game until Sunday night after Sunday Night Football is complete (and it usually takes a few minutes to a half hour after that before they let you). And oh yeah, if you don't want to watch football at 2200 EST and save the game for Monday, MNF will also blackout the game. No bueno mi amigos.
So how do you get the NFL to:
-take your money! no more filthy live streaming/stealing!
-show you live football in the good ol' USofA (rock, flag, and eagle!)
Simple. you have to appear to not be in the US. Now the time honored solution for internet pretendering is to use a VPN, which essentially is using a server in a different location through which you route your traffic. Unless that's incorrect, I'll defer to our millenial friends who went through teething chewing on an iPad. Gamepass with live action is available in every country except the US (woo hoo!), Canada (woo hoo, eh), and China.
But VPN is more expensive than my solution, and requires you to route your traffic through a server which can mean a decrease in throughput depending on the quality of your VPN service. The ideal solution is a smartDNS service. DNS stands for domain name server, and is basically how your computer translates a text URL like www.ninersnation.com into the location of the actual site. Unless it isn't, millenials sound off. Or don't, that's not the important part. Basically, by choosing a DNS server in an appropriate country you can appear to be operating from within that country..
BUT NOT REALLY. Anyone who really cares to can easily see through a smartDNS service. Unlike a VPN which routes all your traffic through some remote server, a DNS server barely makes you seem like you're operating out of a different country. When pay sites pretend to be fooled by smartDNS, they are purposefully turning a blind eye to your shenanigans. THIS IS IMPORTANT TO ME, and I'll explain later. A SmartDNS service, if it works on the paysite in question, has some advantages over VPN. It's typically cheaper, because you aren't routing all your traffic through someone elses server (which is just a fancy way of saying a computer connected to the internet), just the DNS function. That leads to the second benefit, that you're not in danger of losing throughput (speed) with all your 1's and 0's flowing through (or being throttled in) some remote server in Bazirgyzstan.
So why is it so important to me that smartDNS is not some impenetrable thing that renders paysites blind to your location? Because most of them would LOVE to take your $$$, but because of contractual obligations or whatnot have to maintain a facade of holding the line for other commercial entities they are in business with. The NFL doesn't black out games because they want to - they do it because their sponsors want it. They want your money, you want to give it to them, they have to give lip service to their sponsors that they are holding some line, their sponsors know full well they are not that motivated to police this effectively. Everyone knows what's up and they let you do it. That for me resolves any moral or ethical conflict/dilemma. Incidentally, you can use smartDNS to access Netflix as if you're in the US (woohoo). I also like the convenience of being in Germany for example and not getting directed to amazon.de or amazon.uk instead of amazon.com.
So.. how does it work? Well it depends on what service you select. The basics are simple - you will need to change your internet options (for a device) or do what I do and change the setting on my router. Follow your service's instructions, but basically you're going to go from allowing the device or router to automatically select a DNS server to specifying one from your service. Then you will log into your smartDNS account and select by site (or in general) where you would like to appear to be reaching them from. And that's it, we'll see you in the gamethreads meine Freunde!
I don't think we're allowed to recommend a particular commercial service, so find your own. In the interest of disclosure I will say I use overplay.com, it's not better than any other as far as I know. BUT I'm NOT recommending them, you can find your own. The price for any smartDNS service should be VERY REASONABLE and if it isn't choose a different one. Unlike VPN where you may get what you pay for DNS stuff should be super cheap.
What are your questions? What did I get wrong?? But hey, I know this works, and I just paid my $180 to the NFL from my home in apparently Deutschland. sign up by googling nfl gamepass international or whatever, and though the link will not appear to be overtly european or whatever when you click on it it will say "nfl gamepass international is not available from your location" Then turn on smartDNS and try again et voila! smartDNS uber alles!