Using Firefox and Modify Headers Plugin to View Blocked Video Streams

The Internet has grown immensely as a source for favorite television shows. Much of this growth is due to the underground BitTorrent scene, where users can download and share entire seasons of both current and classic television shows. However, downloading copyrighted material often violates several copyright infringement bills – most notably the US-based Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). For the non tech-saavy and for those who do not wish to break the law, there are several network-based websites where viewers can legally watch the latest television shows, such as ABC’s Full Episodes website. Also, single TV shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report stream clips or full episodes on demand.

"The Daily Show" Website Blocks Video Streaming in Canada

Unfortunately, many of these shows are only available in the USA and only in some cases are the same programs available in other countries via alternative webistes. Similarly, the BBC does not allow its streaming video to be accessed outside the U.K. Even cyberspace can’t escape complicated licensing schemes, it seems.

Typically the response has been to resort to BitTorrent but there is a faster and slightly (though not necessarily entirely) more legal alternative.


Make sure Firefox Web Browser is installed (version 1.0 – 3.6 acceptable)

Installing Modify Headers Plug-in

Open a new FireFox window and surf to the following URL:


Download the Modify Headers plug-in for Firefox

Click on Add to Firefox


Click on Accept and Install

Installing Modify Headers Plugin for Firefox

If a software installation window pops up then click on the Install Now button

Installing Modify Headers Plugin for Firefox

Wait for the plugin installation to complete. Click on the Restart Firefox button

Using the Modified Headers Plugin to View Geographically-Blocked Video

Surf to the web page with the blocked video

Confirguing Modify Headers Plugin for Firefox

On the menu, select Tools –> Modify Headers

Confirguing Modify Headers Plugin for Firefox

If you are running the Modify Headers plug-in for the first time, enter the following text in the two text boxes at the top of the pop-up window:

First text box: X-Forwarded-For
Second text box:

Leave the third text box blank. Click on the Add button

Confirguing Modify Headers Plugin for Firefox

Ensure that there is a green dot next to the new header (signaling it is active)
(alternatively, you could click on the Configuration and make sure Always On is checked; this way, the plugin is always active)

Confirguing Modify Headers Plugin for Firefox

Refresh the Firefox window containing the blocked media. The video should (hopefully) start to play properly.

Regards to Andy Mason, who created the original YouTube tutorial.

How Well does it Work?

The Modify Headers plug in is one of many methods that can be used to view geographically-blocked video. Modifying headers does not mask a user’s actual geographical origin and defeating this hack is mostly up to the developers on the streaming media servers. No one workaround is perfect and readers are encouraged to post their experiences using this workaround on various streaming sites (don’t forget to include your country). The following tests were conducted in Canada –

  • The Daily Show – Works like a charm. This show was used to develop both the original YouTube tutorial (tested in the UK) and this blog post
  • Hulu – Sends a strange message advising to check internet stream. It is a different message than the typical geographic restriction, so it might be related to my firewall.
  • Pandora – Does not work. Redirects to the same restriction notice.
  • ABC Full Episodes – Works
  • CBS HD Videos – Does not work

14 Responses to “Using Firefox and Modify Headers Plugin to View Blocked Video Streams”

  1. 1 S: Jul 23rd, 2010 at 11:16 am

    well ,You must set the firewall to block local port 1935(both TCP & UDP)

  2. 2 business_kid Oct 14th, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Tried it on a few English sites under linu. It didn’t work. A bit of work with ahois & nslookup shopwed that in a US site, so the US stuff is ok with that one. I added which is demon.co.uk, and that torked on

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer is a bit more clever and it wasn’t fooled.
    Sky tvs player needs m$ silverlight and is not free. If they had thought hard to make it as unattractive to me as possible, they couldn’t have done better.

  3. 3 jamal Jan 10th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Works on MTV full episodes -Ireland.

  4. 4 Lawlsie Jan 13th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Works fine her in the UK for The Daily Show thanks very much. And I have a very old Mac!

  5. 5 joe Jan 14th, 2011 at 1:36 pm


    I use modify headers to watch the daily show and Colbert. the header value here is for the US, right? well, if you are in the US, you have to watch all the commercials in the episodes and before the videos. but when i am in China or in Italy, I can watch it (it’s unblocked) and without any commercial! is it possible to have the value for China or Italy, so I don’t need to see the adds?



  6. 6 loreii Jan 15th, 2011 at 10:22 pm
  7. 7 Anon Jan 22nd, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Works on ABC, NBC, Comedy Central and Fox, but not CBS. UK

  8. 8 No One Mar 14th, 2011 at 1:08 am

    The latest version now seems to work on ESPN3.
    You just have to use an IP address of any state university

  9. 9 moot Apr 8th, 2011 at 5:19 am

    hi, does this work on firefox 4? i’m having some problems with websites that worked fine with firefox 3.6. thanks!

  10. 10 Julie Apr 24th, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Thanks for the tip! I can now watch my favorite shows on NBC :)

  11. 11 Tom Feb 14th, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Still works for me in England, allowing me to watch Borgen from an American site.

  12. 12 margaux Feb 22nd, 2012 at 8:13 pm


    any idea why i can’t get it to work on ABC.com ? :(

    thank you

  13. 13 Jed Feb 28th, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Have modified headers some time ago and all worked fine until today (29.02).
    Get into the site, get the message about flash player (but it works fine everywhere else). Ideas ?

  14. 14 Hoeras Apr 2nd, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Have Firefox 11.0 and can’t get it work on Daily Show… I used as suggested. Has anything changed?

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