Though people are increasingly ingesting television shows in season-length, or even series-length, chunks (thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu that post whole new seasons at a time), there still remains a loyal contingent of TV watchers who prefer to watch their favorites in the classic, network-approved, weekly format.
It likely has little to do with the archaic preferences of grumpy Luddites and everything to do with the fact that, if you’re subscribed to a channel like AMC, you get your Breaking Bad and Mad Men as early as any other audience.
At a time when many of your friends lack the patience not to spoil major plot developments on Twitter and Facebook, catching a show when it first airs is more important than ever. And though people are cancelling their cable left and right, waiting around for months until the newest season of Justified or Louie to finally come out on DVD or appear on Netflix Instant Streaming can feel like an eternity.
Netflix knows this, and rather than sit complacently with the significant victories they’ve already achieved (their successful re-imagining of the movie rental industry, their streaming model’s increasing standardization), they’re looking to open a major in-road in the world of streaming television; original programming.
Now, you might remember that Netflix already took a tentative step in this direction with the little-loved and little-discussed, fish-out-of-water dramedy, Lillyhammer starring Steven Van Zandt. This much is true, but compared to the roll-out for the upcoming, David Fincher/Beau Willimon/Kevin Spacey series, House of Cards, Lillyhammer already seems like a footnote.
House of Cards
Netflix believes in House of Cards: They better, as they’ve already purchased two seasons worth of material, and they’ve thrown down a hundred million dollars for the right to stream the show exclusively to its subscribers.
While that may seem like an exorbitant amount to pay for exclusive rights to one show, it represents a lot more than that. The company is banking on the idea that word of mouth for House of Cards will be so strong, that Netflix will become a viable home to more and more quality television, sort of like a streaming internet version of HBO.
Soon after that, scores of people will be paying the minimum monthly charge for Netflix Instant (after all, it offers plenty of movies and television). Why pay for premium cable channels that patiently, methodically release one episode of your favorite shows at a time (all of which may very well eventually end up on Netflix anyway), when Netflix will give you a season’s worth of quality television at once?
On February 1st, the entire first season of House of Cards will be available to Netflix subscribers (just like they are doing with Arrested Development), and given the pedigree of the people involved, it’s entirely possible that this will be Netflix’s appointment television show to kill appointment television.
House of Cards is a politically-oriented drama starring Kevin Spacey as House Majority Whip Francis Underwood. After being passed over for the position of Secretary of State, Underwood’s ruthless, conniving character seeks to win the nomination anyway through less than honorable means, all the while creating trouble for the administration that rejected him. Other significant actors in this high drama are Robin Wright Penn as Underwood’s wife, a businesswoman with a few schemes of her own, and Michael Kelly as Underwood’s aide Doug Stamper.
The show is based on the BBC series of the same name, which followed Ian Richardson’s Conservative Chief Whip as he plotted his way to a leadership post in the governing party, hoping to eventually land in the seat of the Prime Minister. The UK version of House of Cards is still available on the BBC iPlayer.
Written by Beau Willimon (The Ides of March), the American version’s already intimidating roster of talent is further bolstered by the involvement of producer/director David Fincher, who’s already proven that he can make dialogue-heavy scenes move in thrilling ways with Zodiac and The Social Network.
And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that, with two seasons already paid for, you know you won’t be left hanging at the end of season one.
Can I Watch House of Cards From Anywhere?
Though Netflix is planning a wide release House of Cards (according to The Huffington Post, “All 13 episodes will be available in US, Canada, Latin America, UK, Sweden, Finland and Norway”), there will be large swaths of Europe, as well as all of Asia and Africa, that will not have access to the show.
So if you want to watch House of Cards, or any of Netflix’s other upcoming original programming such as the Eli Roth-helmed Hemlock Grove, or (glory be) the miraculous return of Arrested Development, but you live in or are visiting one of the countries (or continents) that will not have access to it, you might think you’re out of luck.
We here at FlashRouters are happy to tell you that’s not the case. In order to view House of Cards, or any other regionally restricted programming, you’ll want to look into a VPN Provider subscription.
How to Use a VPN to Watch House of Cards From Anywhere
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, has many valuable features to recommend it, such as the increased security it provides to your online presence. But, more relevantly, let’s say you want to watch House of Cards, and you’re on an extended business trip in Dubai or China, all you have to do is log in to your VPN account and switch your IP address to one located in a country where House of Cards is available such as the US or the UK.
Using a VPN allows you to effectively trick your computer into thinking it’s somewhere that it isn’t, which allows you access to the breadth of regionally restricted streaming programming. You can watch the American version of House of Cards from Egypt or the BBC version from America just by choosing the IP address that suits you.
A FlashRouter is set up with internal, VPN-client-connection (PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP) which simplifies the process of utilizing your VPN subscription and allows you to use your VPN services on more than one computer or device at a time. What’s more, our routers are upgraded with DD-WRT firmware, which allows you to boost your antenna strength, or even create your own Wi-Fi hotspot, among many other benefits.
Some of the most popular VPN service providers include HideMyAss, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, and PrivateInternetAccess. Every FlashRouter purchase includes a router upgrade, customized configuration & VPN setup guides along with free router/VPN configuration support from our expert networking technicians.
Before you know it, you’ll be a globe-trotting citizen of the internet, free from the strictures of blocked or censored websites, and comfortable in the security that FlashRouters and our affiliates provide.