21 May 2010

Watching 4oD without the Adverts - UPDATED DECEMBER 2014




I've started watching more shows online these days rather than sitting in front of the TV and flipping through the channels. I began with BBC iPlayer watching Spooks, Paradox, Merlin and a few others. I then started watching some shows over at 4oD last night. I quickly became annoyed at the amount of adverts! I remember back when 4oD used to be a program on your PC and you could download the show and watch them advert free. These days have changed I've soon found out.


Because I connect to the internet on my laptop by tethering my G1 phone to it, my internet sometimes gets lost and I have to reconnect. If this happens when I'm watching 4oD, the show will have to be restarted and I'll have to go through the 3 adverts at the start of the show. If I was far enough along, the 2nd set of 3 adverts would then also have to reload.

Being that this happened a few times I needed to find a fix to this problem. And I have...

The FAQ page on the 4oD site gives some advise to those people using Ad-blocking software and a way to check to see if they're having problems with it. What this also does, is provide some vital information that we need to easily block the ads from showing on the shows.

Some of you may be familiar with what a HOSTS file is. For those of you that aren't, it's your computers first point of call before it travels out to the internet to a DNS server to translate the URL you type into a  set of numbers computers can communicate with. Think of it as a complex form of turning a phone number like 1-800-COLLECT into 1 800 265 5328

Essentially, what this would allow you to do is to tell your computer that when you type www.google.com for it to go to www.bing.com instead all the time. In this case however, we want to tell our computer to look at our own computer for the answer, yielding no result at all.

****UPDATED JUNE 2011****

Thanks to an anonymous poster recently I've updated the following steps to the following
  1. Watch the first set adverts from the show of your choice
  2. Pause show
  3. Locate your hosts file (you will need to have administrator rights and change it from read-only)
    • Windows - C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\
    • Mac - /private/etc/hosts
  4. Add these 3 entries on new lines at the end of the file
    • 127.0.0.1       s0.2mdn.net
    • 127.0.0.1       realmedia.channel4.com
    • 127.0.0.1       webstat.channel4.com
  5. Ensure browser is set to not clear browsing history on exit
    1. Link to Chrome options where "Clear Cookies and other site data" should not be ticked - chrome://settings/content
    2. Firefox - Options -> Privacy -> History -> Firefox will Remember History
  6. Close Browser and restart
  7. Watch shows advert free!
      I've just finished watching all 6 episodes of The IT Crowd flawlessly with absolutely no adverts on it at all.

      Sorry 4oD

      69 comments:

      Peter Bailey said...

      You sir, are a genius

      Anonymous said...

      This is no longer working, thanks anyway nice while it lasted.

      Steven said...

      Seems like they changed some things. I've updated the sites you need to block and it's working once again. Enjoy!

      Chris said...

      Hey Steve, looking at your solution I think there are problems if you have no cache and no cookies for 4od. I tried on a machine that is fresh to 4od and the video seems to hang without playing anything at all. Can you replicate this?

      Rebecca said...

      Awesome, thank you!

      Lance said...

      I have the same problem as Chris, the vid just hangs on loading with a clean cache. I've used the hosts file for a few things now and was getting quite excited when I read this... Any fix/info? Cheers.

      Anonymous said...

      Sorry mate doesn't work at all, maybe not a great solution...

      Anonymous said...

      I was able to edit the HOSTS file but when I try to play a video the player just says 'loading' and never plays it. Any ideas?

      Fisaw Ribas said...

      to those people who have problems with 4oD Ads workaround:
      I've found that the video can hang as well. The way around was to remove the entries from the host file and then reopen the browser and play any 4oD program including the ads.
      Close the browser and edit the host file again and put the entries back. But DO NOT CLEAR the cache.
      Try the video again and it worked for me. This was on the MAC but I think the principle applies to Windows as well.

      Anonymous said...

      Same here. It just says 'Loading content' and then nothing more happens. Shame...

      Anonymous said...

      as of yesterday, this doesn't work

      Anonymous said...

      What a beauty! This also stops that stupid skipping during playback which you never get on BBCIplayer...

      Thanks!

      Nick said...

      You Win, at life. Thank's sir!

      Anonymous said...

      you BEAUTY

      Chris said...

      Thought I would look into this again.

      I found that if you point

      realmedia.channel4.com

      to

      216.120.238.16

      in you hosts file. Everything works fine. 216.120.238.16 is tania-lynne.com and they happen to have the file (crossdomain.xml) located on their server. This is needed by the 4od flash player if it is not in your cache already.

      do a nbtstat -R and ipconfig /flushdns after editing the file to take on the changes; or just reboot. Win 7 and Vista you need to launch notepad as Administrator to edit the host file located in c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc

      Anonymous said...

      The ads on 4OD would hang sometimes, I got so fed up of it and googled how to stop ads and found your site at top of results.

      Edited hosts file as you stated, rebooted, and no ads at all. Thanks very much for your fix.

      Brilliant.

      Anonymous said...

      anyone else having trouble listening to live bbc radio streams after trying this? only seems to affect live streams not listen again.

      Nick said...

      The fix works perfectly.

      If you HAVE already watched 4OD WITH adverts:
      1. Insert the lines into the hosts file.
      2. The 4OD program should work perfectly UNTIL clearing the cache*.

      If you have NOT already watched 4OD WITH adverts:
      1. Go to 4OD and play a program WITH adverts (Thus WITHOUT altering the hosts file).
      2. Close the browser.
      3. Locate and open the hosts file with a text editor (I.E. Notepad).
      4. Insert the lines (mentioned in the main article above) at the end of the file on their own separate lines.
      5. Save and close the hosts file, and enjoy playing 4OD without adverts!

      *Clearing the cache 4OD will not play the program until you've watched an advert.

      John Sherwin said...

      Fantastic, watching from Ireland and was just about to lose my mind if I had to hear one more time "thats right baby, ergonomic management keyboard."

      Thanks for the tip, genius!

      Steph said...

      "Essentially, what this would allow you to do is to tell your computer that when you type www.google.com for it to go to www.bing.com instead all the time."

      does this mean you could make it so that everytime you try to go to www.facebook.com it could redirect you to a revision site? I know a lot of students who find that their facebook addiction gets in the way of important revision and would find this really useful!

      Thanks for the ad-stopper! Brilliant!

      Steven said...

      Steph..you could do eactly that. For example, the IP address to s-cool.co.uk is as follows. Replace the IP address with the site you want facebook to go to instead.

      81.171.233.185 www.facebook.com
      81.171.233.185 facebook.com

      Anonymous said...

      Hi, Cheers for the great tip I can watch 4od with no ads, Only problem is this works on my desktop which has xp but on my laptop running windows 7 I can not get it to work. I know how yo edit the file but the ads keep showing up even with cache and after reboot. Has anyone any ideas PLEASE!!

      Also the hosts file is a little different on win7 should I still add lines as they are here to the end of the file?

      Thanks
      Adam

      Jake "Sid" Smith said...

      That is awesome! Thnx so much. Works for me. :)

      Anonymous said...

      Works for me.

      Thanks :)

      Aquila said...

      i'm having difficulty saving the file again, it may be due to the folder 'etc' being read-only (although the file 'hosts' says it is not read-only) help?

      Steven said...

      @Aquilla Be sure you're opening notepad as an administrator. Right click on notepad from the start menu and select run as admin, then open the hosts file and save

      Aquila said...

      Thank you very much XD that's worked perfectly, no problem :)

      Free Bets said...

      Brilliant, thanks Steve.

      Asher Gavzey said...

      Amazing!

      Anonymous said...

      Outstanding tip Steve. Cheers!

      Anonymous said...

      I installed the noscript addon on mozilla and made sure i only permitted the root website, ie five.tv or channel4.com and no more ads!

      im hoping its not a fluke!

      Lissie said...

      You RULE

      Chris said...

      if you wanna stop ITV player ads you need to ad -



      216.120.238.16 mercury.itv.com

      to the hosts file

      Anonymous said...

      Still works fine.

      #1 watch the 3 ads at the start of a show.
      #2 pause.
      #3 Edit hosts file.
      #4 Change browser options to 'not automatically delete browsing history'.
      #5 Save/apply changes.
      #6 Close browser.
      #7 Start browser again.
      #8 Go to 4od and watch away ads free.
      #9. Try to erase Secret Millionares "Oh my God/Whuuuu!" and Gordon Ramsy "Farming his own meat" from your mind.
      #10 Fail miserably, seek therapy.

      :)

      Anonymous said...

      Cheers dude, no more ads on inbetweeners

      Me said...

      Thanks mate, this is brilliant

      Anonymous said...

      Added the entries to the Hosts file, saved the file, turned off the 'Delete Browsing History on Exit'...Tried it on Win 7 32bit, IE8 but couldn't make it work on ITV.. :(
      Any ideas ??

      Steven said...

      Seeing as this is a post about 4oD, I would take a wild guess that you should try this with http://www.channel4.com and not http://www.itv.com

      Anonymous said...

      Thanks for your reply Steve

      The reason I asked was that Chris posted the following :
      if you wanna stop ITV player ads you need to add -
      216.120.238.16 mercury.itv.com
      to the hosts file

      Anonymous said...

      If you don't fancy the 4OD/itvplayer adverts you can just download the adblock plus add on for Firefox. It really is that simple!

      Oscar said...

      Love it! Those ads were driving me mad especially when the video froze and I had to watch them all again!

      Anonymous said...

      Any info on how to do the same for Demand 5?

      Anonymous said...

      Still working as of Aug 2, 2011.

      Anonymous said...

      Love your work mate. The whole having to watch the ads again every time 4oD's server "paused was driving me mental! Greatly appreciate you bringing some sanity back to my life :)

      Anonymous said...

      This all used to work great, but sadly they have fixed it in the past week :( If anyone finds a NEW solution, please let us know :)

      Anonymous said...

      This still works great! Thank you. I watch a lot of UK TV from Australia via VPN and it drives me nuts on the 4oD site when the ads come on, flash player becomes unresponsive. Now it just plays flawlessly. Thank you very much :)

      Anonymous said...

      works fine for me, although i'm still looking for a solution for itv..

      Anonymous said...

      the adblock plus add on for Firefox is genius! Thank you ;-)

      Anonymous said...

      Nice post about Blogger: Steve Larsen - Post a Comment. I am very impressed with the time and effort you have put into writing this story. I will give you a link on my social media blog. All the best!

      Anonymous said...

      Just use the Ad Block plugin for firefox, problem solved!

      BD said...

      Jolly good show old chap. Works a treat, thank you!!

      Tom said...

      Thanks very much - I was going mad having to watch the same ads over and over again. Works fine on my Mac with Firefox.

      Tom said...

      Thanks very much - this works fine on my Mac with Firefox. I was going mad watching the same ads every time I tried to begin a programme again.

      This was my procedure:

      - Save my hosts file in another location in order to edit it in TextEdit adding your two lines

      - Go to Get Info

      - Add myself (+ at the bottom of the Info window) with read and write privileges

      - Remove the .txt suffix

      - Drag it back into the 'etc' folder and authenticate with my administrator password.

      Anonymous said...

      Epicness.

      Eddy Wilde said...

      You sir, are a legend.

      Anonymous said...

      Well aren't you lot lazy...

      DanDan said...

      For the last couple of months it has stopped working for me :(. My firefox is definitely remembering history. But sometimes after a few restarts of firefox or maybe my PC. I have to start from scratch. By deleting the two lines in hosts and then waiting for the first 3 ads and pausing and reinserting them. Quite irritating. Adblock plus has never worked for block ads for me. Any ideas anyone? cheers

      DanDan said...

      Mine stopped working a couple of months ago :( firefox is definitely remembering history (and doesn't work in chrome either). Same scenario in both. It works for a short while. Maybe until I've restarted or a few restarts of firefox, not sure. But after a day at most the shows won't play at all unless I delete the 2 lines from hosts. Then I have to pause after the first 3 ads and paste the 2 lines back in and restarting firefox to get it to work again. Quite annoying to do this often.

      And on a side note adblock plus has never worked for me in terms of blocking these ads, unless there's a specific rule for them I don't know of.

      Any ideas?

      Anonymous said...

      I've had no problem with this prior to tonight, however just got an error message on chrome (from the player itself) telling you to make sure any ad blocking was disabled. :(..

      Anonymous said...

      ad block worked fine for me on both PC and Mac until the 26th of January. Seems to me channel 4 changed something. I hope somebody will find a Solution, its so annoying having to watch 3 ads ...

      Anonymous said...

      :) Nice one!

      Mike said...

      AdBlocker doesn't work with 4od now. Use this instead:

      http://youtu.be/qdZk1D3siRM

      ;)

      Mike said...

      AdBlocker doesn't work with 4od now. Use this instead:

      http://youtu.be/qdZk1D3siRM

      ;)

      Anonymous said...

      Idea from mike..

      windows users just set an IP which can be hit (IE google) into hosts file instead of 127.0.0.1 ..

      Holly said...

      Since the 2nd May 2012 this trick has stopped working, and by that I mean editing the hosts does not work as 4od seem to have caught on.

      Paul Cutcliffe said...

      Bugger - mind you, it took them along enough! :-)

      Anyway, it's not quite such a cool 'fix', but if you watch the ads at the start of the show, then skip to the end of the show, it will realise you haven't watch the later ads so it will play you the last lot. But then you can skip back to the beginning, & watch the whole show with no more ads! The viewer must remember that you've now watched the last lot, & therefore not play any more ads!

      Paul Cutcliffe

      Paul Cutcliffe said...

      Ironically, my previous tip seemed to just stop working, but I think it was the entries I'd left in my Hosts file from following the previous suggestions.

      I've removed them all, cleared my browser cache and the skipping to the end and back seems to be working again.

      Phew, thought I'd have to watch the ads again!

      Anonymous said...

      4od is the biggest load of crap iv ever seen adverts every f***ing where and then it just freezes when it feels like, sort it out you useless c***s!!!

      Mary Patric said...

      Thanks for the article Steve. I don’t see 4oD coming to my country anytime soon. However, there are plenty of workarounds available to access it here in my country. Personally, I use UnoTelly for more than a year and I can access 4oD like I am in UK.