How To Watch Hotstar In The USA (Access The Complete Library)
How To Watch Hotstar In The USA (Access The Complete Library)
If you’re an Indian national, have Indian heritage, or just appreciate Bollywood films, soaps, and enjoy watching Indian sports, then you no doubt have heard of (or used) Hotstar. It’s kind of like India’s equivalent to Netflix in the United States. From movies, tv shows, documentaries, and more, Hotstar has it all.
However, historically, Hotstar hasn’t been available in the US. This means that Indians residing in the US have had to resort to using a VPN service to mask their IP address and make it appear as if they’re actually located in India in order to keep up with their favorite shows, sports, and movies.
Although this method works, it does mean that viewers have to put in some extra effort…
However, with Hotstar’s merger with Disney+, Hotstar fans will now be able to watch many of their favorite titles without having to resort to a VPN.
In today’s post, we’ll be discussing how Hotstar’s US merger affects the titles that US-based viewers will be able to watch, and how to get around upcoming geo-restrictions to ensure that you and your family will still be able to access all Hotstar titles!
Hotstar’s History In The United States
Hotstar was launched in 2015 and has remained India’s premier streaming service ever since. Today, India is one of the world’s largest growing economies and Indians are immigrating around the world. Today, around 2.7 million Indian immigrants reside in the USA, not including their second-generation children.
This means that there’s been a huge demand increase for Indian shows, movies, and sports over the past few years. Up until this past month, Indian nationals who wanted to keep up with all of their favorite Indian tv shows and movies needed a pre-existing Hotstar membership along with a VPN to mask their location.
Hotstar’s Merger With Disney+ (and What It Means For You)
Just recently, though, Disney+ came up with a solution to the problem! Hotstar has partnered with Disney+ and will now be included in a bundle package that includes Disney+, Hotstar, and ESPN+. The package comes at an affordable price of around $15/month and allows the whole family to watch their favorite Disney movies and shows, keep up with some of Hotstar’s most popular titles, and even stream sports with ESPN!
As of November 30th, 2021, Hotstar will be available as a bundled package in the US to all Disney+ subscribers.
No more sketchy subscriptions, VPNs, and other hassles are necessary to watch Hotstar in the USA. Sounds pretty great, right?
There’s only one small problem…
With its US merger, US subscribers won’t have access to Hotstar’s full library. While many of Hotstar’s most popular titles will be available for US subscribers, many other series, movies, and documentaries will be unavailable to those watching Hotstar in the US.
Why Aren’t All Hotstar Titles Available In The USA?
It all has to do with the complex licensing agreements made by Indian film studios, and which titles Disney+ was willing to invest in. You see, Hotstar is just a streaming company. It doesn’t own exclusive rights to most titles on its platforms.
These are individually owned by separate Bollywood studios and other Indian media distribution companies. They merely lease the rights to stream their content to Hotstar, so they can show it to their subscribers.
When Hotstar completed its merger with Disney+, it also meant that they needed to update their media streaming rights with all of the production and distribution companies in India (who own the intellectual rights to the titles). While many were excited about the chance to expand into the United States, others weren’t willing to do so or were charging Hotstar/Disney+ too much money for rights to stream in the US.
If you’ve never worked in the film industry, it can be complicated to understand all of these complex licensing and copyright issues, so we won’t bore you with all of the details. But this is a simple description of why all Hotstar titles aren’t available in the US.
How To Access The Full Indian Hotstar Library In The USA
So, if your favorite tv show or movie isn’t included in the US version of Hotstar, what are you supposed to do?
Well, it looks like you’ll have to go back to using a VPN service!
If you’ve never used a VPN before (or if it’s just been a while), then here’s a simple guide on how to use a VPN to stream titles only available to other countries.
- Download A Virtual Private Network (VPN) Service: First, you’ll need to download a reliable VPN service. The list we just referenced has some great VPNs for streaming if you want to compare products. If you’re on a budget, then you might try checking out this list of VPNs that offer free trials as well.
- Subscribe For A VPN Membership: Even if you’re using a VPN that offers a free trial period, you’ll still be required to sign up for an account and input some payment information. Unless you cancel your free trial, your service will automatically renew after the trial period ends.
- Turn Off Your Device’s GPS Location: Although VPNs usually do an excellent job of masking your location, your device’s GPS location feature may allow the Hotstar platform to bypass your VPN and see your true location. To prevent this, disable the GPS on your phone, laptop, tablet, or smart tv.
- Activate Your VPN and Connect To An Indian Server: Now, turn your VPN service on and scroll through the list of VPN servers until you find one that’s located in India. It doesn’t matter which region, as long as it’s in the country of India.
- Log Into Your Disney+/Hotstar Account To Stream: Now, it should appear as if you’re accessing the internet from India. When you log into your Hotstar account through Disney+, you’ll be able to access all of the original Hotstar titles that you may not have been able to access with a US-based IP address.
Keep in mind that whenever you’re connected to an Indian VPN server, your Disney+ titles will also be affected. Many of the Disney titles available in the United States won’t be available in India. So, just keep in mind that you’ll often have to switch between a US and Indian-based IP address/VPN server if you want to continue to access all of your titles without any geographic restrictions.