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Hello, welcome to another entry on UnlockWorldTV.
As you know the Winter Olympics are due to begin with the opening ceremony on 7th February 2014 and the sport on through to 23 February 2014, a full 17 days of sport not to be missed. Whilst a lot of companies charge for access to coverage (here’s looking at you NBC!!) by restricting coverage to existing cable or satellite customers, the beauty of the UK is that we still have a favourite Aunty!! And that Aunty ladies and gentleman is the institution that is the BBC!!
Thats right the BBC will be broadcasting some 200 hours of coverage on TV and 650 hours across 6 digital channels in English and in HD on the famous (infamous?!) BBC iPlayer.
The service is normally restricted to the mainland UK, but almost all VPN providers offer UK servers suitable to access this wonderful service.
Hopefully you have read my most recent review of IPVanish which showed a UK server running at nearly 30mbps! More than enough to receive your free Winter Olympic coverage in HD. With already proven results IPVanish should be a a great choice for the Olympics if you are based outside of the UK.
I’ve spoken to IPVanish them and they also confirmed a Sochi Winter Olympics Special Offer!
Thats right, if you were sitting on the fence, now is the time to buy as you can get 25% of all IPVanish subscriptions starting tomorrow February 5th!!!
This makes the plan prices as follows
1 month $7.50
3 month $20.25 ($6.75pm)
12 month $ 58.50 ($4.88pm) (That is incredibly cheap!)
If that isn’t enough of an incentive they also have a money back guarantee, no data caps and plenty of UK servers so you can be sure you will be able to access the games!
To qualify for the offer, please go to IPVanish and enter the code “SOCHI”
but hurry, the offer is only for the duration of the games!
Thanks for reading.
Honesty Disclaimer: The links to IPVanish in this article are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you ultimately sign up to their great service. But you are under no obligation to click the links on the site and you can go direct to IPVanish if you wish.
The kind people at IPVanish allowed me access to their VPN servers to review their product. Thanks guys!
Honesty Disclaimer: All of my reviews are impartial. I do not get paid to promote any product, I would never give a product a product a positive review in exchange for money (some products I even pay for myself i’ll have you know!). That would be straight up advertising, this is an “Authority” / Review site hybrid. UnlockWorldTV is about offering appropriate options to Unlock World TV (funnily enough!) and similar music services etc. But only “options” are given. You are free to browse the net yourself for information, and if you really want to make a stand then you don’t have to click any of my links. I link to various VPN providers and related services to help pay for my time on the site and to be able to keep producing content. I will only get paid if 1) you like the articles, 2) you click a link AND purchase something 3) you tell your friends and they do the same
They are one of the “big guys” and have been around for a number of years now. They are known as a Tier 1 operator which just means they aren’t resellers, they own their infrastructure. Which is good to know as it means they are in charge of their own destiny so to speak!
They have also won a plethora of awards. I’m sure they won’t mind that I used this picture from their website
What did I test?
I tested the Mac application and The android application.
It should be said that IPVanish cater to all platforms and have apps for iOS, PC, Linux and they also offer DDwrt and Tomato firmware support. So all in all a full range of support for basically all the platforms. I should explain why this is all I tested, some of which will be made more clear later on.
1) I own an iPad, but I cannot update to iOS7 i NEED to keep it as is for some important app which has yet to accept iOS7.
2) I did not test the DDwrt section because it was not necessary, the purpose of the test is really to test server availability, speed and general ease of use. The readership here I have assumed is unlikely to have DDwrt as a general rule and in any event it is merely a different way of configuring the router to access the same servers offered by the main app.
3) I have taken the liberty of assuming that the Mac app will be broadly the same as the PC app and that the Android App will be broadly similar to the iOS app
Ease of Use
The application on Mac was extremely easy to use. It is very much plug and play once you pass the very brief setup screens shown below. You can see options are minimal and the app is designed for your Mac or PC to simply be “behind a VPN or Not behind a VPN” there is no filter. It is as impel as it gets. This probably explains why the app was faster than other apps I have used. Even the time to get the connection established was noticeably faster than my current provider by a few seconds at least.
As you can see from the images above, there are only very simple options consisting of
Do you want to remember the login, shall I start at start up and shall I connect to the last server used at start up?
All this is then followed by the list of servers and a protocol type.
I always use Open VPN I like the open source nature of it, and i have always used it. I believe Open VPN to be more secure than some other protocols and so that is my choice. For a simple case of unlocking geo locked sites though it doesn’t really matter. Its my protocol of choice when it comes to privacy though.
It was a simple case of highlight a server, click connect. End of instructions.
Speed Test Results
I tried a number of servers and did some speed tests. The test results are below and from speedtest.net. Remember I am in the UK so you would expect the speed to drop the further away the server is, you can see the pings are reasonable, you wouldn’t want to play on a game server with some of them but look at the Manchester one. Thats not bad at all
Some of the speeds seemed a bit slower than I had expected so I thought I should test some actual streaming rather than rely on a snapshot in time of server speed. Read on.
NRK. A Norwegian station. Below are two screen shots, one from an in window stream and one full screen. It was taken on a Mac 21.5″ model.
I think you will agree that the quality is very good especially on such a high quality screen.
Next I switched to the US server, I think I used Atlanta to test the Netflix service. However I only achieved speeds of around 3.5mbps in the test. I was a little concerned as my benchmark is 5mbps before I am happy enough to start streaming a film etc without fear of buffering.
However, as you can see below it was absolutely fine for streaming in HD. Again, it should be remembered that a speed test is just a snapshot in time and it could be that during the streaming it goes up and down particularly around low and high action scenes allowing buffering to take place. My only gripe really is that I personally like to see the speed so I can monitor it. Which I could not. (I appreciate that is just me being fussy).
The results really speak for themselves and the streaming was perfect from Netflix USA in my front room in the UK. And that is really what its all about.
Whilst on the Egytian server based in Cairo, i thought I would check out BeIN Sports and
Again, a fairly respectable speed of 4mbps and as you can see above the streaming was perfectly clear both in the windows and full screen views. I watched for probably ten minutes with no pixellation or buffering. Result.
Onto the android app
I run the latest Android on the original phablet, my humble Galaxy Note. Installed the software right off the play store and installed just like every other android application. Once booted up you simply log in, choose a server and thats it! A few screens below for you.
I did notice a couple of issues with having to log in repeatedly. In all likelihood this was a temporary issue, but once connected to a server, which is again very quick I had no issues and was never kicked out. The app also shows you the download speeds and data. I would like to see this incorporated into the desktop application.
I used BeIN Sports again for the purposes of this exercise and as you can see below, a very very crisp picture!
All things considered then, both the Mac and Android apps did sterlingly in their respective tests.
That covers the testing I did but I would like to make a few notes here on the DDwrt function.
IPVanish do not offer an applet for the routers but instead hand hold you through the configuration. I’m not going to give an example her DDwrt interfaces are pretty much all identical and its simply a case of ticking box X and Y and following the instructions. The instructions on IPVanish’s website can be found and are very easy to follow. If you don’t have a DDwrt router it may look overwhelming but it really is simple. I would love to see an app though to make server select a bit more automated.
The good thing about installing it via DDwrt is that your whole network will be behind the VPN connection rather than just the one device. So whilst I have not directly tested this part, it is a standard DDwrt config. If it all looks too much but you really want a DDwrt router, I would suggest you purchase a pre flashed router from Flash Routers you can even get the IPVanish service direct from them included. Check them out, and they are very reasonable.
So to finish lets look at a few bits of IPVanish facts and my Decision, Pros and Cons. As you know, I do not rate out of 5, or 10 or anything. I use a simple :Should you buy” with Pro’s and cons. Its subjective, you may think my pro is a con and vice versa. I would say to you. Get a free trial and see for yourself!!
Some Facts about the service to summarise
Support for iOS, Android, DDwrt, Tomato, PC and MAc
Tier 1 provider
They do not apply data caps
They allow p2p, VOIP and Usenet traffic as well as all the media streaming sites
You are allowed two device connections simultaneously
Their awards confirm that they are in fact the fastest provider.
They have 110 servers in 47 countries and allow unlimited server changes every month
1 month $10
3 months $27 (9.99 per month)
12 months $77.99 ($6.49 per month)
so the result
Should You Buy: Yes
1) very simple software
2) all major platforms supported,
3) Perfect media streaming in HD
4) great choice of server locations
5) Money back guarantee
6) IPVanish do not keep logs of your activity
1) DDwrt set up could be done better via an applet
2) Android app may (or may not) make you sign in more than once
3) the desktop app doesn’t show you the speed of the connection
4) BitCoin is not accepted (only an issue if you are super into hiding and being anonymous!)
If you have tried and failed to get the Superbowl in English both fox sports (USA) and channel 4 (uk) are showing it free.
Any VPN provider here will suffice. This may even b a good time to use a free trial