What is Amazon Instant Video?
Having been referred to in the past as Amazon Video On Demand, the American Amazon Instant Video service is a Netflix clone that is available only to US residents with an American Amazon account (and to a very limited extent to UK and Germany residents as well). It has more than 140 thousand titles to be enjoyed, which makes it a must have for entertainment lovers around the world.
What is Amazon Prime?
To cater to a global audience, Amazon has also recently started its Amazon Prime service that can be subscribed to globally. However, the highest quality content is still available only to the US region, while other regions have to make do with what limited content Amazon’s licensing agreements can muster.
Why are they unavailable / only limitedly available in the UK?
All digital content has to be licensed by the broadcaster (in this case Amazon) for the specific region before their viewers can access it. Since Amazon started out with its global service this late, other broadcasters have already acquired licenses for most top rated shows and blockbuster movies in the UK, which leaves the UK subscribers of Amazon Prime / Amazon Instant Video with only a paltry library to choose from.
Also, Amazon is legally bound to allow the content which is licensed to it for US viewers to be viewed exclusively in the US, and they enforce this by checking the location (based on the IP) of the device attempting to access the library. If it isn’t from the US, it isn’t allowed access to the US library.
How to unblock US Amazon Instant Video in UK?
Since Amazon achieves its geo-block by analyzing your internet location via your IP address, you can change your IP address (as far as Amazon is concerned) using either a VPN or a Smart DNS service.
A VPN will tunnel all of your device’s web traffic through a private tunnel that ends at a server in a different location (in our case, the United States). To Amazon, you will appear to have the IP address of this server, and since it is in the US, you’ll be able to access Amazon Instant Video (or the US version of Amazon Prime) without a hitch.
With a VPN there’s also the added bonus that it encrypts your internet communication so no third party is able to unravel it and compromise your activities. If you want to use a VPN to access Amazon’s digital content services from the UK, I’d recommend ExpressVPN for its strong core performance, industry standard encryption and detailed support pages.
If you want a VPN that focus more on encryption (even if it lessens the connection speed somewhat), you could go with NordVPN too.
However, not every device supports a VPN (major desktop and mobile platforms do though) e.g. gaming consoles, smart TVs, streaming devices – to access Amazon Instant Video / Amazon prime on non-VPN supported devices, you can use a decent smart DNS service such as Unlocator, which uses customized DNS server values to route your traffic through a US location instead.
Keep in mind, though, that a Smart DNS will not encrypt your traffic, and will thus leave you open to third party eavesdropping, as well as the man in the middle attacks.