Licensing Agreements Are a Pain In The Neck
If you stay in a hotel like a Sheraton/Hyatt/Hilton, then maybe you are getting around this. Otherwise, if you are from Europe or the U.S., then you know the painful truth. Live sporting events are streamed online for view from the comfort of your computer/laptop/ipad/Galaxy (as the case may be). If you are in the U.S., and are a tennis fan (one of a dying breed), then you can simply go to www.usopen.com. Voila! You have the choice of 4-6 different matches, picture-in-picture, etc. The same can be said about the exceptionally good UK BBC online streaming service (unavailable outside the UK). Next weekend, it will get worse, as the National Football League will begin. The problem? There is usually a lack of international licensing agreements for telecast into Korea, and the result is that the online streaming services are not available. The same can be said about Amazon’s Prime, and Netflix. Apparently, Netflix is rolling out to over 40 countries around the world today, and hopefully Korea will not be far behind. Don’t bet any money on that outcome, as Korea has a long history protecting its own companies (how long did it take for the iPhone to reach Korea).
There are quite a few, although they may be a bit cumbersome. First, there is something called Slingbox, and if your parents have cable TV service at home, then you can stream it anywhere in the world. It’s true, I’ve used it in Korea. Second, you can use one of many different live TV streaming sites, such as justin.tv which also works. The problem with justin.tv is that apparently, there are limits that the service puts on each country’s access points. Given the large number of US military personnel, it may be difficult to use justin.tv for very popular sporting events. Third, you can mask your ip address. Just go in Google and search for “free proxy server.” For the nerds out there, you can change your proxy server to simulate your location to be in the US or UK, and then can access some online streaming services. This is not foolproof, because the streaming is slow, and the services have learned how to identify/block proxy servers.
Still A Half-Step Slow
The irony is deep whenever barriers and technology and Korea are used in the same sentence. As one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, with the most competitive global technology companies in the world, and with one of the most well-educated populations in the world, every time that complete access to technology is not available in Korea, the Seoul Gyopo Guide is annoyed. And so should you be.
Then again, given the amount of domestic discord caused by the NFL, maybe that’s a good thing.