Tunnel to Norway

The VPN service TunnelBear lets you stream Norwegian shows as if you were there

Image courtesy of TunnelBear

Image courtesy of TunnelBear

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

Have you ever logged on to a Norwegian website to watch a video, only to be told that it is not available out of the country? Maybe you wanted to stream NRK’s Øyevitne after you heard about Anneke von der Lippe’s Emmy, but you soon discovered that you couldn’t.

That’s where TunnelBear comes in. It’s a VPN (virtual private network) service, which allows you to “tunnel” your connection to a different location in another country, making your location and browsing information private.

“TunnelBear can be used to protect your privacy, to bypass internet censorship and to experience the internet as people in other countries experience it,” claims the company. In other words, you can use TunnelBear just for private browsing or you can use it for avoiding access restrictions—not being able to watch Norwegian TV outside of Norway, for example.

There are several different options for using the VPN: apps for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Linux, and a Google Chrome browser extension. While the browser extension is the quickest to install, the company recommends using the apps because they are more resistant to censorship. I tried both and also found the video quality to be better while using the app than with the Chrome extension.

Using TunnelBear is incredibly simple and user-friendly. Once you’ve made an account and installed the app, you just set your country and turn it on and off as you like. They currently have servers in 20 countries, meaning that you can set your TunnelBear to connect to any of these locations. And you don’t even have to choose—you can change it as often as you like. Norway one day, India the next!

There are three pricing options: the Little TunnelBear is free and provides you with 500MBs of data. This goes quite quickly, of course, especially because the service automatically turns on when your computer connects to the internet. But if you just have one or two things you want to watch and you change the settings to only turn on upon request, Little would work—and you can’t beat the price!

The Giant is $6.99 per month and includes unlimited tunneling on any five devices. So you can take your Norwegian TV with you anywhere, from your laptop to your iPad to your phone! For $49.99 a year, the Grizzly plan provides the same unlimited tunneling as the Giant, but paying for the whole year at once saves you $33.89.

It’s ideal for people who want to watch specific shows on their laptop or mobile devices and have a decent enough internet connection for video streaming. Unlike the Ex-Pat TV system (reviewed in the June 26, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly), which has a listing of channels with shows currently playing, you have to find the shows yourself with TunnelBear.

You’ll discover that not all websites have free streaming, though. While you can stream for free on NRK and TV3, others like TV Norge’s DPlay and TV2’s Sumo require subscriptions. So if you’re getting TunnelBear to watch TV Norge’s Alt for Norge, keep in mind the additional cost of the subscription.

Another simple way to get more access to Scandinavian content is to log in to your Netflix account with the TunnelBear turned on. While a lot of the shows are the same, I found that the Scandinavian options almost doubled. English subtitles aren’t an option here either though, so language learners will need to have at least a moderate ability to read Norwegian to follow along.

Overall, I would definitely recommend TunnelBear for people who want to keep up on Norwegian shows without the hassle of buying equipment or paying a significant amount. The cost is reasonable, in my opinion, and there is the added benefit of a private connection. To learn more, visit www.tunnelbear.com.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 25, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.