4oD Review: Geo-Blocking Problems

4oD Review: Geo-Blocking FailsChannel 4 are having problems delivering their 4OD, Geo-restricted content to their UK-based consumers.

Following the launch of 4oD on wednesday, we were really keen to try the service out. It became available a little after the expected mid-day launch, but frankly who’s counting.

We got the software down and were really impressed with the way it looked. Channel 4 really know how to design stuff that looks good and is easy to interact with. Bold use of large graphics and well executed example pieces of video viewable, just my mousing over. A really good job.

We thought we’d initially test out service by using the freely available porgrammes, two of which are given away each week. Plumbing for Trigger Happy, we clicked with some excitement.

Disappointment hit when we found that Channel 4, or at least their geo-sensing service thought we were outside the UK, and therefore refused to deliver the content to us (see image).

4oD Review: Geo-Blocking Fails

Geo-sensing is used by a growing number of Web-based service, as it gives them knowledge of where users are coming from. By looking up the originating IP address, the theory is that they can tell which country you’re in, or in even more detail than that sometimes.

It’s features are all the more important to distributers of content that has a restricted license, like video content. If the content is licensed for UK use, the rights holds want assurance that it can only get to people in the UK.

This is all fine and dandy – if the geo-sensing is correct. We’re with Metronet, now part of Plus.net. They’re a significant player in the ISP game, so much so that BT has made a cash bid for them.

We reported the problem to Channel 4 a couple of hours after launch, providing various pieces of helpful information over a number of emails. We understood that they’d be getting right on to it. While we know that these things take a little time, we pretty surprised that it hasn’t been fixed two days later

We’re sure that other people with different ISP’s are able to view the content, just surprised that companies who are selling geo-sensing service are not correct as to what is in the UK and what’s outside.

We hope that Channel-4 and their geo-sensing provider can get their wrinkles ironed out – they’re missing income here.

Channel 4oD

5 thoughts on “4oD Review: Geo-Blocking Problems”

  1. It’s crap isn’t it.

    I tried it again over the last few days and it failed.

    The press office assured me they were taking a look at it (and called back a number of times to reiterate this).

    I also called Plus-net to tell them about it too – putting them in contact with the right people at Channel 4.

    Pretty disappointing that they can’t sort it out amoung themselves. Negative marks for both of them.

    For goodness sake all it takes is for the geo blocking company to update their IP-resolving table and figure out we’re in the UK.

  2. A bit off topic but I feel very important as Ch4 dot tell you how there software works…


    A few points you may like to take into account before using 4OD or Skys on demand service as they both use the same software, There are also reports that the sky version leaves kservice running after uninstalling. For me 4OD did remove kservice after uninstalling but please check.

    This is a Peer to Peer application It WILL degrade your internet connection ALL THE TIME.
    It shares files weather you have downloaded anything or not AND even after you have shut it down in the task bar it continues.
    The only way to stop it is to manualy shut down the KSERVICE.EXE program.

    If you have limited bandwidth or have a fair usage policy with your ISP (EG Tiscali unlimited) you WILL fall foul of it or be charged for going over your limit.

    After installing this and shutting it down I noticed a significant slowing in my connection and alot of traffic going to and from the machine 4OD was installed on. After looking at the traffic on that machine (download tidmon and tcpview to take a look and use to shut it down) I found a program that I didnt recognise (kservice.exe) I then checked the amount of data transfered on my router, this showed in the last 24 hours over 1gb down and nearly 200mb up, FAR more than the hand full of ebay pages I had viewed that day, and the machine had been off for 8 hours.

    Ive met more friendly virus’s and malware

    So be awair


  3. Jay – thanks for the heads-up on this one. If this is the case, it’s defo something that should be pointed out _before_ someone downloads. A major break in trust.

  4. Thanks Jay, found your post while searching google.. you can also use “netstat -o” and match the PID with the process.

    I cant believe they dont specifically ask your permission for this kind of activity. Very disappointing from such a reputable corporation..

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