Annoying Things About Korea #14: No Netflix, US Open, NFL

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 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 which also works. The problem with 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 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.


Re: Annoying Things About Korea #14: No Netflix, US Open, NFL

While there is much truth to what is said in this post, it is misleading. The NFL is streamed to Korea and most of the rest of the world through the NFL Gamepass service (for a price, of course). Major League Baseball, and the NHL also have international streaming services available in Korea for a price. (I believe this is true of the NBA as well, but I have not used that service). All three services provide both live streams and archived access to every game in the relevant league. NFL Gamepass also offers access to the NFL Network and NFL Redzone. In addition, NHL Gamecenter Live and are available through Playstation 3, eliminating the need to hook a computer up to a TV to access the services. The start of blackout free services in Korea by all three of these providers were banner days for this American.

As far as the NFL goes, NFL Gamepass is also available on a week by week basis. For about $25 (US), it is possible to buy a single week's worth of games which may seem pricey, but would certainly be welcomed by a rabid NFL fan who on gameday finds him or herself far from a TV carrying coverage of the NFL.