TVNZ Ondemand App behind UnblockUS Service

, posted: 27-Feb-2013 19:39

Recently TVNZ brought out an Ondemand App for IOS.  Whoohoo!!

Happily I downloaded it and gave it a spin but to my dismay nothing would show up.  

I had a thought though, I use the  service for accessing overseas media services.  A quick change to my iPhone to set the DNS to my ISPs DNS servers confirmed that this was the problem.

The router I use is a TP-Link WR1043ND - but using the firmware (v1.4.7) - in this I have the unblockUS DNS servers which means all traffic is generally sent through them.  They confirmed that TVNZ was not a service they deal wtih and so it was best to not use their DNS servers if trying to access them.

That meant I was up for changing my phones DNS settings everytime I wanted to try using the TVNZ Ondemand app.  

Screw that I thought.

So a bit of googling revealed I should be able to use different DNS servers depending on the client doing the accessing - ok I thought, before stumbling upon being able to use different DNS servers based on the domain trying to be accessed - perfect!!

I'm not entirely sure of the full mechanics of it, but essentially on the router I was able to say, if accessing any domain that contains (the video provider used by TVNZ) then use my Telecom domain servers.

This is done by editing the dnsmasq.conf file in the /etc/ directory of my router.

I went for a pretty broad bruch stroke approach and inserted at the bottom:

# add entries to use telecom DNS servers for domain.

After restarting the router I tried the app and off it went.  

There's a couple of refinements possible, that is defining the servers down to a lower level.  I turned on dnsmap logging:
and this showed the domains being accessed and the name servers being used. 

So your homework dear reader is to try and limit the domains further.  That said, I had a look through BrightCove's customers and the only one I saw was ITV (accessible via UnblockUS) -and it didn't seem to be affected, so I've left mine as it.

Update, based on a commend @bagheera made, I reversed the process, put telecoms DNS servers under my router and used DNSMasq.conf to put all the overseas services to - see the post at

Other related posts:
The New Age of Online Television
TVNZ Ondemand App behind UnblockUS Service - part II

Comment by NotReally, on 28-Feb-2013 09:32

I have the same problem and will try the solution you outline tonight (but am not holding my breath as I use a Orcon Genius modem/router). My solution was to enable the secondary SSID and not use the DNS settings on the iPad for that network . This allows me to use Netflix on the primary SSID and OnDemand on the secondary SSID. Not as good as your solution but may be the best I can do without buying more gear.

Comment by daveom, on 28-Feb-2013 12:19

I was wondering why this wasn't working last night, so thanks much appreciated, I'll change some settings tonight!

I presume that the streaming from the ondemand full website doesn't come from brightcove then as it works just on a normal PC going through unblock-us?

Author's note by davidcole, on 28-Feb-2013 12:24

@daveom - certainly seems to be the case.  I didn't go trolling through the DNSMasq log I made too much to see where the PC went, but doesn't seem to be brightcove.

I'm assuming that because Unblock knows about brightcove for places like the Uks ITV - this is why they end up processing it. 

@NotReally  Yeah I thought of this solution as well, that and manually changing the DNS on my iphone, but that's just annoying.

You could run a linux machine/vm with dnsmasq on it and use that as an internal DNS server if you didn't want to buy new hardware - but then it would be easier to add your real DNS to your gateway and set the linux machine to the unblockus dns.

Comment by CYaBro, on 28-Feb-2013 13:08

Looks like you can't use the TVNZ Ondemand app if your Apple iDevice has been jailbroken! Frown

I can't get it to work on my iPhone, it loads up OK and I can browse to a program but the video won't start playing.
TVNZ support say it won't work as my iPhone is Jailbroken.

Comment by bagheera, on 28-Feb-2013 14:53

personal i would have the dns the other way around, normal dns for every thing other then the sites you want to go to, and add the entry for netflex etc, that way you get local CDN for youtube etc and not proxy your bank detail thought

Author's note by davidcole, on 28-Feb-2013 15:07

@bagheera  Not a bad idea actually, and now that I've figured out the how, I'll probably look at it.

Comment by Joker, on 3-Mar-2013 16:53

If you're jailbroken use "xcon" from Cydia
(capitalist scum)

Comment by richarda, on 5-Mar-2013 17:20

Anyone know if and how you can set up different DNS's on a Cisco WAG30N?

Comment by saif, on 8-Mar-2013 16:42

If you are jailbroken then install xcon from cydia.. It should work. And also look displayout from cydia will let you watch on tv using hdmi

Comment by zicomeg, on 10-Apr-2013 23:27

Probably sounds like a dumb question but how do you access the /etc/ directory and the dnsmasq.conf file?
My router is a tp-link td-w8960n, is it something I can do with that router? I am in the same situation and would like to be able to access netflix and tvnz without having to change the DNS every time.
Thanks, Nick

Author's note by davidcole, on 11-Apr-2013 07:23

@zicomeg you need to be able to SSH to your router and either edit it there, or using something like winscp to edit on windows and save the file on the router.

davidcole's profile

davidcole Cole
Lower Hutt
New Zealand

Been thinking it would be nice to have a blog but not sure if I have enough to say.

I'm an I.T worker from Wellington New Zealand.

I like my toys so this will probably have posts about my dealings with those.

My Cellphone is an iPhone 5s

I run a NextPVR based PVR at home to replace my video recorder, DVD player and to host all my music. I'm also really big on Plex, for centralising all my music, videos and I've written a plugin or two for it for accessing live TV and for storing recordings with metadata.

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