5 min read
Bollywood is all about cupid dust, musical rainbows, and mustache-spinning villains. He certainly didn’t enter the international arena being boring, so of course he won international awards for his glittering madness.
Bollywood crossover Slumdog Millionaire won the Oscar for Best Picture. Lagaan was nominated in 2001. Bride and Prejudice is his latest worldwide achievement. He hasn’t won anything (yet), but he has gathered over a million international viewers.
Bollywood is where actors have wham style hairstyles! And the actresses blush enough to put a Cupie doll to shame. This is where arranged marriages die and true love still prevails. In between, everyone dances a lot because if there is one word that describes Bollywood, it’s ‘wild’.
And a streaming platform (or rather two, but getting there) brings all this glittery beauty to Western viewers: Hotstar.
What’s hot with Hotstar streaming platforms (yes, plural)
If you haven’t caught the Bollywood virus yet, you’re late to the party. [waggles finger]
But do not worry. Hotstar has all the programming you need to catch up. The streaming platform has all the B romances you can handle, but it also offers a lot of A-quality Bollywood fun.
There’s Anupamaa, a feminist series about a woman who comes out of the mold of Bollywood romance (#irony). There is the comedy of errors of India, Housefull, and the fantastic jinn-plagued mystery, Yehh Jadu Hai Jinn Ka. (If you can tell five times faster, we’ll buy the M & Ms.)
The US version of Hotstar includes seven programming categories, six Star channels and 11 sports channels, with programming in Hindi, English, Bengali and five other Indian languages. The platform has enough sport and novelties to make its sparkling stitching pop.
But the US streaming platform is not the only Hotstar. There’s also the original Hotstar recipe from India.
The original version of the platform contains a collection of respectable Hollywood films dating back to the days of Edward Scissorhands in addition to its massive collection of Bollywood goodness. It broadcasts a small list of HBO, ABC and Showtime series. Oh, and did we forget to mention that it also has the entire Disney + library?
He has no qualms about going back to the days when people gathered around their televisions at 8:00 p.m. to see a meager episode of Band of Brothers or The Wire. Its only concern is to provide its viewers with the greatest viewing material of all time. With showrunners like Chernobyl, His Dark Materials, True Detective, and The Mandalorian, you have to wonder why Hotstar’s reputation isn’t as bold as its Bollywood charm.
We’ll get to that, but first we’ll need to unravel the knot of confusion around its geoblocking.
Geoblocking is complicated
So, as we have established, Hotstar has two separate platforms for Western and Indian viewers. It also has a messy history of Disney takeovers and Star broadcast rights updates, but who has time for those with 35,000 (!) Hours of content to spare?
With HBO, ABC, Showtime, and all of the Disney + originals behind its shiny belt, the Indian streaming platform often packs more of a punch than its Western counterpart.
Hotstar Canada and USA both aim to bring Indian shows and movies to Western audiences, so no Premium treatment. And you won’t be able to take the platform with you either, as it is very limited to those countries. [clears throat] Unless you have a VPN.
The UK version of Hotstar was just as limited, without Disney. But rumor has it that UK access has been curbed.
If you live in India, access will cost you a measly $ 19 per year. One year, Carl!
All from Bollywood, HBO, ABC, Showtime, Disney Plus and an insane collection of sports, ranging from Indian Premier League, to always chic cricket, to kabbadi. Don’t let this break your coffee budget, that’s all we’re saying.
If you live in the United States, you’ll pay $ 99.99 per year for a nerf streaming platform.
How to keep your coffee budget intact
Hotstar is known for its terrible buffering and mobile-like picture quality. The platform thinks that HD stands for “hot dahl.“Even its 1080p setting is packed with interlacing.
Its video bitrate isn’t going to win any awards either, and to make matters worse, its built-in player is far from transparent. Hotstar is built for mobile viewing, and it shows.
Streaming at a lower resolution may improve your picture somewhat, but it won’t deliver much more than 720p. This is where the reason for the obscurity of its brand lies. Its image quality just can’t live up to its price tag
unless you access Indian tariffs. An Indian waiter will reduce your stamp and your price simultaneously. And it’s super easy with a VPN, but the issue of service providers is a bit more complicated than just location spoofing. Not all VPNs have Indian servers, and not all are undetectable.
Some VPNs have Hotstar compatible IP addresses: ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark. And luckily, all three offer:
- Anonymous DNS servers to route traffic through the correct ISP.
- A no-logging policy.
- A wide selection of strong encryption protocols for enhanced security.
Great speeds so you don’t have to wait for the last Sacred Games episode to dab.
Be smart with VPNs
Hotstar is pretty good at spotting VPNs, so you might need a few tricks to get around its blocks.
If you’re having trouble accessing Hotstar through the Google Play Store, using a VPN is easy:
1. Connect your VPN to an Indian server.
2. Click on the three bars at the top of your screen.
3. Press “account”.
4. Change location.
5. Play Store will now allow you to change your position in India
6. Put a pipe in your mouth and say, “Elementary, dear Watson.”
7. Enjoy hours of viewing pleasure.
If Hotstar gets your VPN through your browser, it can help minimize the site after loading its content. Then open your VPN, click “connect” and go to your app. This three-step order should get you in. If your VPN has a no-logging policy, you shouldn’t have a problem signing in, but if you’re stuck with a lesser product, you’ll need to clear your cookies and captchas before broadcasting. You probably shouldn’t be trying to view Hotstar’s pixelated offerings on your big screen TV, but if you must, you’ll need to connect your laptop to your TV.
Synchronized dance number time!
At an extremely hot price of $ 19 per year, it’s easy to forgive Hotstar for their questionable visuals. You’ll get it for its ABC, HBO, and Disney content, but you’ll likely stick around for its Bollywood shows.
Everyone gets the virus eventually, so put on a bindi and dancing shoes. It’s time to add some shimmering romance to your viewing life.
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