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Hulu halts VPN access to streaming content

Bad news for international viewers who have been enjoying the fruits of Hulu's streaming labours for some time now. If you've been using a VPN service to convince Hulu that you're in the United States in order to watch its TV and movies, your days of fooling might be soon drawing to an end.

According to a report from TorrentFreak, Hulu is starting to block VPN services from accessing its content. The service has allegedly concocted up a giant "block list" of IP addresses used by a number of common VPN services. If it detects that your alleged IP addresses is one of those, you get a lovely interstitial message when trying to access Hulu's content:

"Based on your IP-address, we noticed that you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool. Hulu is not currently available outside the U.S. If you're in the U.S. you'll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu," the message reads.

{MPU PlaceholderIn doing so, Hulu's move also blocks out legitimate VPN users who turn to the services for the increased privacy they offer: Like, for example, someone using a VPN service to otherwise encrypt what he or she does when accessing public Wi-Fi. In this case, said person would be unable to watch Hulu-streamed content unless he or she flipped off the VPN.

That said, all is not lost. First off, Hulu's IP-based ban only works for IP addresses it has in its database; the service isn't actually checking to see if one is connected to a VPN when accessing content. Though it'll likely cost a bit more, users can probably pony up for a dedicated IP address from their VPN service — one that isn't shared by any other user — that's likely remain free from Hulu's blacklist.

According to representatives from TorGuard, a number of users seem to have gone that route already. Ben Van Pelt, TorGuard CEO, told TorrentFreak that the service has already seen "an increase in purchases for this add-on" on the day that Hulu unveiled its IP-based blocking. Coincidence?

It's also possible that a user's VPN provider hasn't yet been identified by Hulu. If so, enjoy your streaming for the time being — it's unclear just how often Hulu will be updating its list to ferret out new VPN-using streamers.