What Is 'TurboFlix' For Netflix And Do You Need It?

Imagine boosting your Netflix library by 5000 additional titles. Sounds pretty cool, right? This is exactly what the monthly subscription service TurboFlix purports to do. You've probably seen it advertised on Facebook and wondered what the deal is. Is it legal? Is it a scam? Is it worth the money? Here's what you need to know.

What is TurboFlix and how does it work?

In short, TurboFlix (website here) is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) — no more, no less. Like other VPNs, it allows the user to access geo-blocked content on the internet by running the traffic through a different server which has the effect of anonymising your IP's geographic location.

In other words, it essentially "tricks" foreign web services into thinking you live inside their country or another permitted region. This is particularly handy for streaming platforms like Netflix, which offers a wildly divergent catalogue of titles in each country it operates in. For example, it's estimated that Netflix US has six times as much content as Netflix Australia.

If you're a binge watcher who can never get enough movies, the advantage of a VPN becomes obvious. (For more on Virtual Private Networks and how they work, check out our in-depth VPN guide.)

So how does TurboFlix differ from other VPNs? Hardly at all. It's main point of differentiation is that it markets itself specifically to Netflix users. The UI and setup process are heavily geared towards this singular purpose. It also includes step-by-step guides for Netflix-compatible devices such as smart TVs and video game consoles — handy if you don't want to be tied to your laptop.

If Netflix is the only reason you want a VPN, it makes sense to go with TurboFlix. Otherwise, pretty much any VPN provider will do the same trick. We've collected some of our personal favourites here. You might also want to take a gander at Getflix and UnoTelly which provide similar Netflix-friendly front ends.

How much does it cost?

TurboFlix's standard pricing is $US3.99 per month, which works out to $AU5.42 at the time of writing. This compares favourably to other VPN providers — most of TurboFlix's competitors cost between $US7 and $US10 per month. On the other hand, many of these services provide more features than TurboFlix and aren't aimed at one video streaming service.

You can also get a free trial of TurboFlix without handing over your credit card; a business model it cheekily cribbed from Netflix.

What's the quality like?

As with any Virtual Private Network provider, TurboFlix requires the user to stream content from the country of origin. This can result in degraded image quality as the data has further to travel. Opinion is mixed on TurboFlix's performance in Australia and may depend on the strength of your home internet connection. Needless to say, you can expect things to be a bit ropier compared to the local service — it will still be watchable but the quality of streamed images will generally be lower.

So is any of this remotely legal?

Geo-blocking is one of those emerging technology trends that remains legally ambiguous. Netflix has different licencing deals in place for each country it operates in, which is why the titles it offers aren't universal. Circumventing these blocks can hurt Netflix's relationship with its partners.

While you won't be breaking an existing laws by using TurboFlix, you are absolutely breaking Netflix's terms of service. You explicitly agreed to adhere to these rules when you originally signed up. If you get caught, Netflix is perfectly within its rights to ban you from its service. At present, Netflix doesn't seem to be actively hunting Australian geo-blockers but that's not to say it won't do so in the future.

Anything else to be mindful of?

If you have unmetered Netflix access with your ISP, bear in mind that accessing the US version will count towards your quota. This is definitely something to consider if you're connecting via mobile or have a modest data allowance.

Another problem with overseas VPN providers is that it can be difficult to tell if they're trustworthy. You should never assume that a foreign VPN provider is as committed to privacy or subject to the same laws as the ones that operate locally. Some VPNs happily log your data and will turn it over to anyone who asks.

On its privacy policy page, TurboFlix admits that it "may collect personal identification information from users." However, it goes on to state that this information will not be sold, traded or rented to third parties.

This doesn't necessarily mean that your data is secure though — as we've noted in the past, many of the most popular VPN services have critical security flaws. Mind you, the same can be said of any online service — just look at the recent Sony PlayStation Network and eBay hacks, for example. As with anything in life, use at your own risk.


Comments

    You don't need a full VPN to view US Netflix, you just need a DNS spoofing service. They're cheaper (the one I use is just under AU$2/month) and the actual video stream is direct from Netflix to your PC, it doesn't have to go through a VPN entry/exit point in another country.

      This is true. But for people who want a fuss-free, non-browser solution for their TV or console, a VPN is still a good way to go.

        DNS spoofing isn't a browser solution though, it's done either by changing DNS servers in your network or router settings, or editing your hosts table. Doing it on the router makes it work for everything on your network, whether it's a TV, console or PC (but not Chromecast if they still have hardcoded DNS in them).

        Ease of setup seems like a fair point since these types of VPN services these days tend to come with setup programs that do it all for you, but it's not like changing DNS settings is especially difficult either.

        Last edited 16/07/15 5:09 pm

          Yeah, I use Netflix on PC browser, PS4, and iPad, and all of these have ways to quickly and easily update DNS settings. I'd probably recommend DNS over VPN for Netflix. Especially since there are some very decent free ones out there.

          Also if you dont want to change the DNS for everything on your network almost every single device (including game consoles) will let you change the DNS on a device level anyway takes about 30 seconds to change the DNS on the Xbox one and with a quick reset you can be viewing content from overseas.

      I am just using a free amazon cloud server. Currently free for the first 12 months.

    I dont have enough time in my life to get through my list on netflix AUS so I def dont need this.

      I see it this way. Say you could magically rate everything on how much you would like it. Your list if probably made up of ratings from 7 to 10. With this, the same length of list would probably be more like 9 - 10.

    most decent vpn services offer both DNS and VPN in one package.. i've been using www.vpnsecure.me and have the VPN on my desktop for security and DNS on my Apple TV for USA netflix since the AU library blows.

    Currently using Getflix - uses DNS for your main connection at home - which lets you customise many of the options for connections like where you want to get your Netflix from. They also now offer a VPN access for when you're on the road.

    Question - will the above services work with an AU Netflix subscription? Or, if I was to travel to the US, and logged in to Netflix on my laptop, would I get access to local content (US) or where I originally subscribed (AU)?

      Once you pay for Netflix anywhere you get global netflix. The library you see depends on where you connect from. If you went to Cuba and booted up your laptop, you would see different stuff, even though you pay for an 'Australian' account.

      So making your device think it's in another country will let you see their library. USA has the biggest one.

      Before Netflix launched in Australia, people used to buy the US one and use this same trick. That might be where you are getting mixed up.

    what DNS spoofing service do you use?

    I dont know why you would pay this much for what is effectivly just a ip spoffing extension. As many other commenters noted there are many other highly rated services that provide the same service for cheaper (Getflix Im looking at you!) Also the price is pretty much comparable to some VPNs. Most VPNs come in at about $40 a year and provide a whole host of additional security benifits just look at www.reviewmyvpn.com I used to use Hola just to watch always sunny but I stopped after the botnet scare. I went with a VPN because the price differential was'nt to great and I also DL heaps but both are good options

    Getflix provides smart DNS and VPN in the same package for the same price. Many devices can't use VPN services unless you set them up at the router, which means every device is using the VPN, rather than just your PS4 or smart TV.
    Getflix lets you setup the DNS on your router, and lets you use VPN on a device by device basis for other things.

    The terms of service aren't as clear on jumping the geoblock as you maintain. It talks about primarily using the service in the country of subscription.

    On top of that, I have not read of one person being bumped from their service for jumping the geoblock. It isn't a good business move to bump users - a lot of negative news time for no benefit.

    I just wish that Australian law would clarify the geoblock situation by calling it out for what it is unethical geographic discrimination. Money for services should be money for services.

    I tried Tunnel Bear as my VPN and, while testing its free monthly download, found Netflix happy to offer its entire US catalogue.

    Enticed, I upgraded (about a week later) to Tunnel Bear's A$64.99 annual 5-device plan. However, Netflix no longer worked, every movie I selected it said was not available for view. Neither did Stan, it more specifically said it would not play if I had my VPN switched on. It didn't matter what country Tunnel Bear told these media-streamers I was from, preventing my viewing even if I selected Australia as my VPN source.

    Thankfully, Apple refunded my money and I do appreciate the simple complaint resolution it offers, simply report a legitimate complaint from the email receipt and the refund is instant.

    So do VPNs really still work on iOS? Android + Private Internet Access Anonymous VPN Service was still working for a friend of mine when I compared devices yesterday.

    I'm a Netflix evangelist. I don't watch TV at all anymore. I don't torrent either. Netflix + Express VPN= all I need.
    Read review here:
    http://www.expressvpnreviewz.com/

    Last edited 27/07/15 8:03 pm

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