FAQ: Streaming Media

Is ‘Mexican internet’ the same?

This is actually a fairly common question, born out of misunderstanding. The internet is by its very nature, a globally interconnected network, hence the name. So yes, you can get to any and all websites from Mexico. When it comes to streaming media, any differences are mostly evident when you try to use geo-blocked services, in other words, sites that block their content from being downloaded based on your geographic area. This is a common control tactic used by many streaming media services.

What is streaming?

Streaming simply refers to a continuous download via internet, of some type of media that you view simultaneously with the download. This can be music, television, movies, or other media. It has become a common means of accessing paid and free entertainment services and is widely used throughout Mexico.

Can I stream normal television programs?

Absolutely, but sometimes there are varying degrees of success. Typically you need a fairly fast (at least 2-5Mb/s) internet connection which can be difficult to find in some areas of Mexico. You can test your upload and download speeds here. Many broadcast networks limit their offerings to existing subscribers or geo-block their services (see above). But having said that, there are many options for set-top-boxes (STB’s) or stick type devices which offer apps that get around these limitations. Or another good option, especially if your connection speed is low, is to use a laptop to access streaming websites. Just connect the laptop to your TV using a HDMI cable and you can enjoy the experience on the big screen.

Does streaming have to be done in real time?

This is one of the great things about streaming – you can view things live or on demand. Live streams are not always that convenient but often they are recorded and placed online so that you can stream them on demand later. There are sites where you can go back in time and watch TV shows from when you were a kid if that’s what you want, or get the latest episode of the week. There is always something to watch.

Can I watch my US/Cdn Netflix or other services?

The answer is, it depends. Some services allow you normal access, some give you regional programming, and others just deny access completely. For the latter two, you can often bypass their controls by using a VPN service, which makes it appear that you are in a different location.

What is a VPN?

The term VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. As stated above, one purpose of a VPN is to make it appear you are in a different location. Most VPN providers also try to convince you that using their VPN is the only way to keep your activities ‘safe and private’ but that requires some further understanding. A virtual tunnel is set up between your endpoint and the provider’s endpoint (server). The simplest analogy is to think of the internet as a huge pipeline and within that pipeline is a very small garden hose (your VPN connection). Your data is effectively insulated from all the surrounding traffic, thereby giving you ‘privacy’. I put that in quotes though, because that privacy only extends to the provider’s endpoint server, and from there they relay your traffic back onto the public internet to its eventual destination. So it appears that your communication is coming from the provider’s endpoint. That allows you to fool some geo-blocked services but does little to ensure privacy. In fact, some VPN providers log activities and spy on data, so it ends up being less secure than without VPN.

What is the best VPN service?

There are literally hundreds of services to choose from and we won’t pretend to know which one is best for you. What we can do, is help you evaluate. Everyone’s needs are slightly different and you have to balance cost, availability, speed, number of servers, endpoint locations, provider integrity, and several other factors as they apply to you. For example, one VPN may allow you to watch Netflix while another can’t get past their controls. If that’s what is important to you, it becomes a factor. Speed and cost are also important to most people. An in-depth analysis is beyond the scope of this site, but such things are available online if you search. Just make sure the information is current, and if you decide on a particular provider, make sure they allow a free trial before you subscribe. That way you can see for yourself if it does the job for you.