We Review UnoTelly – A DNS/VPN Service For Watching Geo-Locked TV Channels

A few days ago, we were contacted by a company called UnoTelly, who asked us if we’d test out their DNS/VPN service and run a review here on Tech Scorpion.

We’re always up for testing stuff people give us if it seems like something we’d use (so, games, usually), and in this case the service was actually useful for all three of our editors. For me, because I’m English but living in Italy and it would allow me to watch geo-locked UK channels like BBC iPlayer and 4OD, and for Laura and Jessica who live in the UK because it’d allow them to watch US Netflix, which as we all know, is much, much better than British Netflix (which is still better than Italian Netflix which doesn’t exist yet, but which I do not have especially high hopes for when it’s released later this month).  Add to that the ability to watch sport channels in other countries, as well as loads of other things like Crunchyroll (which is apparently locked in some countries – and you’ve got to have Crunchyroll), and UnoTelly looked like a convenient proposition that we thought was worth covering.

Crunchyroll is for watching anime. Like whatever this one is. Image by Saya Arachida

Crunchyroll is for watching anime. Like whatever this one is. Image by Saya Arachida

What Is It?

The UnoTelly product comprises a DNS service that works on all of the channels listed on their website, and also a VPN you can use to access anything else that is geo-locked. The DNS is the better solution because it is much faster than going through a VPN, and this is where UnoTelly differentiates itself from the various VPNs out there that you could technically use to watch these channels – if you don’t mind a massive drop in speed as you’re always going through a kind of technological middleman.

They are apparently adding new sites you can use the DNS on all the time, too, so this will mean you’ll have to use the VPN less and less for geo-locked media.

Our Tests

We actually got to test UnoTelly pretty thoroughly between the three of us, even having a chance to see what their customer service was like when Jessica had to raise a ticket because she was having trouble getting started. We can report that the responsiveness and helpfulness of the UnoTelly customer support was excellent, and as I was the one dealing with the marketing people, they would not have known that Jess’ account belonged to a press reviewer – so we weren’t getting special treatment. She said they got back to her very quickly and that there were plenty of helpful guides that allowed her to set it up and fix the issues she was having, and she was able to use the service perfectly after that.

Jessica tried accessing some of the free foreign channels using UnoTelly, and found the service as fast and reliable as promised, as well as being fairly impressed by the number of channels available using the DNS. Laura tried accessing US Netflix (she’s totally watched everything on the UK service), and this worked fine too – however she used an HDMI cable to connect her laptop to her TV to view the content. Because of concerns around XBox Live banning people who use VPNs to fake locations, she didn’t want to risk changing her XBox One settings, and this is something to bear in mind.

I went down the ‘expat’ route and used UnoTelly to access channels that are free in the UK, but locked anywhere else like 4OD and BBC iPlayer. This was actually great – I have been out of the UK for four and a half years at this point and I have no clue what is going on on Eastenders anymore, but should I ever want to rekindle that sordid addiction, now I can. This wouldn’t just be useful for expats, but also people who want to watch stuff like Sherlock, Doctor Who, and… Well, whatever else it is they have in England now, when they are first aired.

How many fights have I missed in the Queen Vic without UnoTelly? Image by Kejoxen

How many fights have I missed in the Queen Vic without UnoTelly? Image by Kejoxen

It is also worth noting that Jessica and Laura use various versions of Windows (Jess got it working on an old Windows 7 PC with relatively little hassle once customer service responded) whereas I’m on the Kubuntu distribution of Linux (none of us use Macs because we don’t suck, so we haven’t tested on a Mac but it is supported by UnoTelly). I’m not one of those good Linux users that isn’t scared of the terminal, either – they give you set up instructions either via the terminal or the GUI, and though they obviously can’t cater for every distro and customization of Linux, their guide for setting up via the vanilla Ubuntu interface was easy enough to apply to what I was using.

UnoTelly Vs Torrenting

Probably going to get myself on some kind of CIA watch list for even talking about torrenting – but the fact is for a lot of people it is the preferred way to watch stuff it is otherwise very hard to get to see – like foreign broadcasts. UnoTelly gives you the option to stream a lot of things you may otherwise have to torrent, but are there benefits to doing this if you’re already used to torrenting the stuff you want to watch?

With UnoTelly you do get a good selection of free channels from around the world, and this means you can not only watch TV shows made in foreign markets when they’re first shown, but you can also watch live sport that is televised on free channels in some countries, but not yours. This is where it really trumps torrenting – sure, you can download just about any foreign show you want to watch, but if it’s a television event you want to see at the first possible opportunity, or something live, then by using this approach you don’t have to wait for it to finish and get uploaded (by which time you’ve probably seen spoilers somewhere or know the final score).

Although this season, maybe it's better not to watch my team... Image by Mark Freeman

Although this season, maybe it’s better not to watch my team… Image by Mark Freeman

Streaming things from services like foreign Amazon or Netflix services is in some ways also more convenient than torrenting too – you don’t have to do anywhere near as much disk space juggling, for one thing, and everything is there on demand. You also won’t end up with disappointing versions of things, like when you accidentally torrent the show you want dubbed in Russian, or the movie you waited an hour for turns out to be a horrible cam version. You’ll be watching official sources so you know the quality will be what you expect.

Possible Downsides

UnoTelly is a good solution, both for expats who want to see the shows they used to watch back home and people who watch a lot of stuff from other countries (which face it is basically everyone who doesn’t live in America… And Americans who like foreign shows or ‘soccer’), however there are some problems it doesn’t solve.

If you want to watch things on subscription only foreign channels, for example live sports, while you can access the sites using UnoTelly, it will be down to the provider of the content whether or not you can subscribe without billing details in their country. This means that while from a technology point of view UnoTelly will let you access these things, there may still be some hurdles to jump to actually see the content. This is worth bearing in mind, though you can get a free trial with UnoTelly for eight days before you subscribe so you’ll have time to check out whether you can get subscriptions to the channels you want during that time if paid channels are your main reason for being interested in the service.

Price and Terms

If you just want the DNS which unlocks over 300 channels from 30 countries (and this list is being added to all the time – as a subscriber you can also ask UnoTelly to unlock a channel you are interested in for free), you can get this with the Premium Plan which is currently on offer for $4.95 a month. If you also want to use the VPN, which gives you access to VPN servers in the US, the UK, Canada and the Netherlands, this is the Gold Package which costs $7.95. You can get these prices down even lower with things like annual subscriptions.

The terms associated with subscribing to UnoTelly are very fair – you can cancel at any time for any reason online, so there is no commitment to keep paying for it if you only want it for a month (for example to use while you are on a trip abroad).

If you want a solution to geo-locked channels, UnoTelly is, in our minds, a much better solution than trying to use some of the incredibly slow free VPN type services out there, or even the premium, paid ones – technology wise, DNS will always be faster than going through a VPN and UnoTelly’s has been specially set up with TV watching in mind. We found their customer service excellent, their T&C’s fair, and if you love television, it is a very reasonable price to grant you unlimited access to hundreds of channels you couldn’t otherwise see unless you’re in their country of origin.

If you want to try it out, head over to https://www2.unotelly.com/signup to sign up for your 8 day free trial. Registration just requires your email address, so you don’t need to enter any payment details to begin the trial instantly, and you can also get extra days added to your free trial for things like recommending UnoTelly to your social media friends.

 

 

 

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