If you’re a fan of film and culture, then you’ve likely been aware of the life and death of Filmstruck, and then, Criterion Channel’s pseudo-phoenix like rise from the ashes. An apparent holy ground for those who love and live arthouse cinema has been created, with the foundation being set with the entire catalogue of the extensive Criterion collection. Everything that has been available in the Criterion collection will be available on the Criterion Channel, even those precious long out of print discs.
For those who live anywhere other than America, seeing your US friends posting about watching Chungking Express or Hollywood Shuffle can certainly cause a wealth of frustration. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t partake in the spoils of the Criterion Channel (to get an idea of what they are, read about them here). With a few things up your sleeve, you should be able to access the Criterion Channel from anywhere around the world that isn’t America.
(I say should because while the following steps have certainly worked for me, they may not work for everyone.)
First of all, you’ll want to get yourself a VPN (virtual private network). Ideally, you should have one already, but if you don’t, I suggest going with Nord VPN. It’s worthwhile noting that not all VPN’s are equal, and while the basic concept is that you will be able to hide your IP address, it doesn’t always mean that you’ll be able to access international content so easily. I have previously used Unblock US and Express VPN, both of which had their own quirks with allowing me to access US Netflix/Amazon/Hulu. I’ve been using Nord VPN for a good year now and have had no issues with accessing US Netflix, and most importantly, have had no issue with using the Criterion Channel in the lead up to its launch.
Once you have established a Nord VPN account, set it up on your device of choice. I suggest using a laptop/home PC, as while it is possible to set Nord VPN up on your mobile, not all mobiles are able to access the Criterion Channel. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but I assume this is something that will be fixed down the line.
Access your region select screen with Nord VPN, and choose USA. Once this is done, head on over to the Criterion Channel website, and set up an account. Now, you’ll need an American address to access this, so if you don’t know someone in America who will allow you to use their address, may I suggest using the following address:
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
This has been my go to address for establishing accounts for US only streaming services, and as far as I know it, nobody in the White House has accessed my Hulu account.
While some US accounts block the use of international credit cards, I have had no issue with paying for the service using my Australian Visa or Mastercard.
Once you’ve got your account set up, you should have no issue accessing content. Ensure that whenever you want to stream something from a US streaming service that you have the Nord VPN set to the USA prior to accessing the website.
While using a laptop/PC isn’t the most ideal way of accessing content on your TV, especially given there are apps for Roku or Amazon Fire sticks, it is the easiest way and the most reliable way of accessing the Criterion Channel. I have been able to cast video from my laptop to my TV without the use of Chromecast, but if you’re unable to do that, you might need to directly connect your laptop to your TV with a HDMI cable.
For those who want to try accessing the Criterion Channel from their phones, there is an APK (android package) available for those with Android phones. There are some risks with using unverified APK’s that don’t come directly from the Google Play store, but if you’re willing to take that risk, then hit this link and download the APK to your Android device and access it that way. You will need to have Nord VPN installed on your phone and switched to region USA before accessing the app.
And that’s it! Simple as that. Follow those steps, and ideally you should be surfing the Criterion Channel before you know it.