Sunday, 9 January 2011

How to watch videos restricted in your country using Tor and portable Firefox (explained for BBC iPlayer videos)

 If you try to open UK videos that are restricted for watching outside UK (the examples below) and you are not located in UK you will get a message that the videos are not available for watching in your country.


Fortunately there is a solution for this issue, I have done some research on the Internet and found several articles, tested some options and wrote all the steps that should be followed.

1. Download the Tor Browser Bundle (portable package) on your computer

Go to http://www.torproject.org/download/download.html.en and download the latest stable version of Tor Browser Bundle to your computer. Run the executable: tor-browser-1.3.15_en-US.exe and then you should see a folder with a name Tor Browser located in the same folder where you have saved the .exe file.

In order to run the Tor portable software you should open the Tor Browser folder and click on "Start Tor Browser.exe" 

2. Change Tor settings for watching flash videos

Open Tor, then portable Firefox browser will start.
Click on Tools - Add-ons - Extensions tab - Torbutton - Options - Security settings tab - uncheck the box "Disable plugins during Tor usage". Click on OK.

3. Install the Adobe Flash Player on Firefox Portable (Tor)

3.1. If you already have Firefox and Flash installed on the computer

If you are using Windows 7 64-bit go to C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash
(for Windows 7 32-bit: C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash)
Copy the files:

flashplayer.xpt
NPSWF32.dll

and paste them into your portable Tor Firefox browser plugins folder (for me it is: C:\Users\encounter\Desktop\Tor Browser\FirefoxPortable\App\Firefox\plugins)
Restart the portable Firefox

3.2. If you don't have Adobe Flash installed on your computer (or if you want to install the latest flash version on the portable Firefox)

If you are using Firefox, right click on the link: http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/xpi/current/flashplayer-win.xpi and click on "Save Link As" (for IE: "Save Target As")
Then save the .xpi file on your computer.
 

Change the file extension from .xpi to .zip, create a new folder and extract the .zip file there. Copy the 2 files: 

flashplayer.xpt
NPSWF32.dll

into the Tor Portable Firefox plugins folder  (for me it is: C:\Users\encounter\Desktop\Tor Browser\FirefoxPortable\App\Firefox\plugins)
Restart the portable Firefox.
Now you are able to watch Flash videos in the Tor Portable Firefox browser

4. Settings for watching BBC iPlayer videos restricted in your country (Configure Tor to use UK as an exit node)

4.1. Find the UK exit nodes with the highest bandwidth

Start Tor (click on "~\Tor Browser\Start Tor Browser.exe", for me it is C:\Users\encounter\Desktop\Tor Browser\Start Tor Browser.exe)
In the Vidalia Shortcuts section click on View the Network. Sort the nodes according to their Country by left clicking in the cell above the flags column. Then scroll down, find the UK flag and highlight the first node (the first node for every country should have the highest bandwidth).
At the bottom right corner window you should see nodes details starting with its name and status (Online). Copy the name.
Follow the same procedure and copy the 2nd and 3rd UK node names in the list.
Save those names into a text document because we are going to need them for 4.2

4.2. Modify the Tor configuration file (torrc)

Open the "~\Tor Browser\Data\Tor\torrc" file with Notepad
(for me it is C:\Users\encounter\Desktop\Tor Browser\Data\Tor)

* You can also check the exact torrc file location by starting Tor, click on "Settings - Advanced tab" and then click on the Browse button next to the Tor configration file path. Copy the full path to the torrc file from the address bar and paste it into a new Windows Explorer. 

Add the 2 lines below at the bottom of the document:

ExitNodes server1, server2, server3
StrictExitNodes 1

Replace the server1, server2, server3 with the highest bandwidth UK nodes (the ones we have copied in 4.1)
Save the changes you made to the torrc file by clicking on File - Save.
Restart Tor, the portable Firefox browser will launch. Now you can go to the BBC iPlayer TV (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/tv) and watch some restricted for your country videos.  

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*Note: If you want to download some region restricted videos to your computer, you can install the Video DownloadHelper Firefox add-on (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3006/)on the portable Tor Firefox browser. Unfortunately the DownloadHelper could not be used for BBC iPlayer videos, but it works for region restricted youtube videos. 
I tried to download one youtube restricted for my country video using the portable Firefox and RealPlayer plugin installed in a way similar to the Flash plugin installation in 3.1 , but received an error "Unable to download" even though the RealPlayer in my native Firefox (installed on the computer) was able to download videos from youtube.

Here are also the steps I have followed for the RealPlayer plugin installation on the portable Firefox browser:

For Windows 7 64-bit open the folder: 
C:\Program Files (x86)\Real\RealPlayer\Netscape6
Copy the file "nppl3260.xpt" and paste it into your portable Firefox components folder (for me it is: C:\Users\encounter\Desktop\Tor Browser\FirefoxPortable\App\Firefox\components)
Then copy the file "nppl3260.dll" and paste it into your portable Firefox plugins folder (for me it is: C:\Users\encounter\Desktop\Tor Browser\FirefoxPortable\App\Firefox\plugins)
Restart the portable Firefox browser and the realpayer plugin download window should appear when you play some videos (but probably you will not be able to download the videos with it)

3 comments:

  1. Thanks a lot for this tutorial. I was struggling with getting the portable Firefox to open flash for 2 days. Cheers mate! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, you have interesting post! i'm definitely going to bookmark you! Thankyou for your info.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, you have interesting post! i'm definitely going to bookmark you! Thankyou for your info.bbc iplayer in the US

    ReplyDelete