With Chromecast launching today in Australia, it’s hard to believe that these devices have been available in the US for almost a year. Fortunately, some of us at Ausdroid have had Chromecasts for just about as long, and we’ve watched them grow from a niche device to something quite cool.
One of the first things we wanted to get working, which was a huge selling point for the Chomecast overseas, as access to Netflix. As many of you would know, getting access to Netflix in Australia isn’t too difficult, but getting it onto a Chromecast is a little bit more tricky.
To get Netflix working on Chromecast in Australia, you really only need three things, and we’ll tell you how to get them working:
- A way to access Netflix account from Australia, using different DNS servers,
- A Netflix account, and
- To trick your Chromecast into accessing those DNS servers, and thus being able to access Netflix.
Bear in mind, Netflix isn’t accessible in Australia by default, and circumventing geo-restrictions might be a bit unwise. So, as with all our guides like this, your mileage may vary.
The good news is the Chromecasts on sale in Australia do work with Netflix if you follow this workaround.
The easy bit
A way to access Netflix in Australia is easy. There’s two great options, Getflix (which is an Australian service) and Unblock-US (which we initially used):
- Getflix costs $2.95 per month, after a 14 day trial.
- Unblock-US costs about $5 per month, after a 7 day trial.
Follow the instructions to set up your router with the DNS settings from Getflix or Unblock-US (whichever one you choose). This bit is key. Make sure it’s your router you configure, and not your PC, otherwise you won’t be watching Netflix via Chromecast.
Once you’ve set this up, and confirmed your DNS is working with Getflix / Unblock-US’ servers (you do this via the service’s homepage), you can then visit Netflix and sign up for an account. Use whatever email address and credit card info you like, and just use a made up US address to get past the address validation. If you get stuck, try the instructions here.
So far, you’ve spent nothing.
The harder bit
To get your Chromecast to access Netflix is a bit trickier. The problem with the Chromecast is that it has 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 (Google’s own DNS servers) hardwired in as its DNS servers. You need to get the Chromecast to skip these, and use your router as its DNS server, which — if you’ve set it up as described above — will allow it to access Netflix.
Not all home routers can achieve this trick, however. Whether, and how, you do this will depend entirely on the brand of router you have, and how capable you are in modifying a few settings. They’re not difficult, but it might not be something for your mum or dad to try without your help.
What you need to do is log into your router’s admin interface, usually at http://192.168.0.1 (or something similar). Your routers instructions will tell you how to get in here.
The easiest way to stop the Chromecast from accessing Google’s DNS servers is to add a static route to an invalid destination, basically meaning that any queries sent to Google’s DNS servers from your network will be dropped, and so the Chromecast will have to try something else.
For example, on a D-Link router, after signing in, go to the Advanced Tab (on the top), then Routing Setup (on the side menu). Add static routes as follows:
- Destination: 188.8.131.52
- Subnet mask: 255.255.255.255
- Gateway: 192.168.0.1 (or whatever your router IP address is)
Repeat as above for the destination 184.108.40.206.
This will cause the Chromecast to give up trying Google’s DNS servers, and to fall-back to your router’s own built-in DNS which, having followed the earlier instructions, will redirect to Unlblock-US.
If you’ve successfully followed these instructions, and your router is being compliant, you’ll be able to visit Unblock-US from your computer, and see three green status bars, meaning that your router is working properly. Then, fire up the Netflix app on your Android device (which you can download here), plug in the account details you created above, and you should be able to cast your Netflix stream over to your TV.
Of course, Ausdroid doesn’t recommend doing any of this. Geo-blocking exists for a reason (probably to line the pockets of the company behind the service), and circumventing it might not be wise. You’ve been warned.
We’ve received a number of requests from owners of routers who support DD-WRT on their routers. If you have such a router, you should find this helpful :
- Open a browser and go to the address of the router (Usually: http://192.168.1.1) and login.
- Go to Setup > Basic Setup > Network Setup > Network Address Server Settings (DHCP).
- Set Primary and Secondary DNS to 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 and click Apply.
- Go to Services > Services > Services Management > DNSMasq > Additional DNSMasq Options and enter the following : strict-order
- Click ‘Apply Settings’.
- Go to Administration > Commands enter :
- Click ‘Save Firewall’
- Click ‘Save Startup’