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How to Watch Hotstar in the USA (or Anywhere)

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Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio

Our Verdict

You can watch the India-exclusive streaming service Disney+ Hotstar in the USA if you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), but creating an Indian premium account is difficult. The best way to watch Hotstar in the USA or outside of India is by subscribing to the Disney Bundle package that includes Bollywood content and Indian sports on Hulu and ESPN+.

Disney+ Hotstar doesn’t just stream Bollywood movies. It combines content from Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, and HBO Max.

With just one subscription, you can stream the English Premier League, Formula 1, NFL, and more – all in one place. What’s more, it’s very cheap compared to most other streaming websites.

The catch is that Hotstar is exclusive to India. There is a free version you can stream by getting an Indian IP address, but the premium content is difficult to subscribe to unless you have an Indian cell phone number.

In this guide, we’ll explain exactly what Hotstar is, how you can sign up to Hotstar from anywhere in the world, and which VPNs are the best for Hotstar.

Summary: How to Access Hotstar in the USA

  • Method 1: If you have access to an Indian phone number and payment method, connect to an India VPN server and create a Hotstar account to watch Indian Hotstar in the US.
  • Method 2: If you’re in the US and cannot access an Indian phone number or payment method, subscribe to the Disney Bundle.
  • Method 3: If you’re in the US or elsewhere, use a VPN to get an Indian IP address and stream free Hotstar content.

EXPERT TIP:

If you’re outside of India and don’t have an Indian payment method, the best way to watch Hotstar in the US is to subscribe to the Disney Bundle package.

If you’re outside of the USA and you don’t have an Indian or US payment method, we recommend subscribing to Hulu, which includes most of the content from Hotstar. To watch Hotstar content on Hulu from outside the US, use ExpressVPN.

How to Watch Hotstar from Anywhere Using a VPN

July2022UPDATE:

With each passing day, more and more reputable VPN services are removing their servers from India. However, many are still offering access to the region via virtual server locations. We are testing these regularly, and can confirm that any we recommend on this page still work to unblock Hotstar.

There are different local versions of Hotstar depending on where you are in the world. The best way to watch Hotstar will depend on where you live and which Hotstar content you need access to.

Use the flowchart below to find the best way to watch Indian Hotstar in your specific circumstances:

How to Watch Disney+ Hotstar from Anywhere Flowchart

Follow the flowchart to find the best way to watch Hotstar content from anywhere.

If you’re in the US and want to watch premium Disney+ Hotstar, the best scenario is having access to an Indian payment method and creating a Hotstar account by using a VPN. With an Indian payment method and a VPN you can access the fullest, cheapest, and best version of Hotstar.

If you’re in the US but don’t have access to an Indian payment method, the second best scenario is to subscribe to the Disney Bundle, which contains most Hotstar content. You can also use a VPN to get an Indian IP address and stream free Hotstar content.

If you’re outside of India and the US and don’t have access to an Indian phone number or US payment method, the best scenario is to use a VPN to sign up to Hulu.

Once you’ve found the right method for you, keep reading to find detailed instructions for unblocking Hotstar content from anywhere in the world.

Do I Need a VPN to Watch Hotstar?

You don’t always need a VPN to watch Hotstar. This is for two reasons:

  • You can watch all Hotstar content, including the Indian language content, across various US streaming sites, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ (these three are combined in the Disney Bundle), and HBO Max.
  • There are local versions of Hotstar, such as in Canada, UK, and Singapore.

You can watch Hotstar without a VPN if there’s a local version of Hotstar in your country, but you’ll have access to very limited content.

You can also stream Hotstar content if you’re in the US and subscribed to the Disney Bundle package combined with HBO Max.

However, to access the geo-blocked Indian version of Hotstar, you’ll need a VPN to change your IP address. This includes both the free and paid version of Hotstar.

If you want the fullest, ad-free, premium version of Hotstar, you’ll also need an Indian phone number and payment method on top of your VPN.

If you’re outside the US and want to watch Hotstar, you’ll need a VPN and US payment method to subscribe to the US Disney Bundle. This is because you can only upgrade to the Disney Bundle through Disney+ or Hulu directly and not through gift cards.

Hotstar is not the only streaming service with geography-based payment requirements. If you want to stream LINE TV and watch all its content, you’ll need a Taiwanese card to pay for a VIP membership. But there is a hack that lets you upgrade outside of Taiwan: register your card with LINE Pay and pay using a QR code.

If you’re in the UK or Europe and don’t have access to an Indian or US payment method, you’ll need a VPN to subscribe to Hulu.

Method 1: Use an Indian Phone Number & Payment Method

The only way to access the full premium version of Hotstar outside of India is to use an Indian phone number and payment method in combination with an Indian VPN server. There are no other reliable workarounds.

disney-plus-hotstar-cell-phone-number

You need an Indian phone number to sign up for Disney+ Hotstar.

Relatives or friends in India can be extremely useful here. Someone in the country can create an account for you and share the login details, while you can use a VPN to bypass georestrictions.

Here’s how to unblock Hotstar using an Indian phone number and payment method:

  1. Subscribe to a VPN that consistently unblocks India Disney+ Hotstar. We recommend ExpressVPN, using its Chennai server.
  2. Connect to an India VPN server and head to the website hotstar.com/in.
  3. Select Login in the top right corner and enter your Indian phone number.
  4. Choose your subscription plan and enter your payment details.
  5. With the VPN still connected, you can now stream premium Hotstar content.

This solution isn’t applicable to everyone, but it is the only reliable way to access Hotstar premium outside India if you don’t already have an account.

Some websites suggest purchasing a virtual phone number or using Fiverr to pay a third-party, but we don’t recommend these methods due to the potential security risks involved. There are other ways to watch Hotstar, though.

Method 2: Subscribe to the Disney Bundle Package

You can access the majority of Hotstar content from the USA if you subscribe to the Disney Bundle package. This is a special deal for anyone in the US that grants access to Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ – three platforms that contain most of Hotstar’s content.

If you don’t have an Indian phone number or another way to set up an Indian Hotstar account, this is the best and easiest way to watch Hotstar if you’re outside of India.

Disney Bundle Signup

The Disney bundle contains Hotstar content across its various channels.

If you’re based in the US you can sign up as normal. If you’re outside the US, you’ll need to use a VPN that works with Disney Plus and a US payment method.

To sign up for the Disney Bundle outside the US:

  1. Subscribe to Surfshark or another VPN that works with Disney+.
  2. Connect to a US VPN server.
  3. Subscribe to the Disney Bundle package through a US payment method. If you don’t have a US payment method, sign up to Hulu instead.
  4. Log in to Disney+ or Hulu and stream Hotstar content.

The bundle package costs more than the regular Disney+ subscription. It’ll cost $14.00 per month with ads or $20.00 per month without ads, while the regular subscription costs $8.00 per month.

How to to Access Hotstar on Hulu

Star hub on Disney+ is the European and UK version of Hulu, but it does not include all Hulu content, including the Hotstar content that is available on Hulu in the US.

To access Hotstar content from Europe and the UK, you can sign up for the Disney Bundle package using the instructions above or access Hulu from outside the US using a VPN.

In the video below, you can see how easy it is to stream Hotstar content directly from Hulu. We used ExpressVPN from the UK:

Hotstar in India also includes content that is available on HBO Max. Therefore, if you want the full Hotstar experience, it’s worth subscribing to HBO Max too. This is exclusive to the US, so you’ll need a VPN to access HBO Max in different countries.

Method 3: Use a VPN to Watch Free Hotstar Content

Indian Hotstar has a lot of free content that you can stream from anywhere in the world if you connect to an Indian VPN server. You don’t even need to create an account.

The content you can watch for free is limited to sports highlights and select movies and shows. There are ads and HD and Full HD quality is reserved for subscribers

But you’ll be able to stream popular shows like Koffee with Karan, Bollywood blockbusters, and lots of sports, including full F1 races, NFL games, cricket matches, and more. You can’t watch sports live, though.

Here’s how to watch free Hotstar content from anywhere using a VPN:

  1. Sign up for a VPN that includes India servers. We recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Download and open the VPN app and connect to an India server.
  3. Head to Hotstar.com/in.
  4. You can now stream free Hotstar content, including sports matches. You don’t even need to generate an account.

In the video below, we used ExpressVPN’s Chennai server to access Hotstar India from the US and stream a replay of a Formula One race:

What Is Hotstar & Is it Available in the US?

Hotstar is a streaming service that is exclusive to India. There are international versions of Hotstar in Canada, Singapore, and the UK, but these are very limited compared to the Indian version.

Hotstar US is no longer available in the US. It was discontinued on November 30, 2021 after The Walt Disney Company bought Star India, the company behind Hotstar, and migrated all of its content across the Disney Bundle package that includes Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu.

While Hotstar is no longer available as a subscription service in the US, Hotstar’s content can still be viewed on various US streaming services. For example, Bollywood movies and Indian TV shows have moved to Hulu and are marked as Hotstar Specials. Indian sports fans can find cricket, football, and other favorites on ESPN.

At the time, Disney encouraged Hotstar subscribers to move to the bundle package. However, Hotstar content is not free or included as part of the standard Disney+ subscription. Therefore, Hotstar isn’t the same thing as Disney+.

In India, Hotstar still exists and is available, but it has been rebranded as Disney+ Hotstar and now includes Disney+ content.

Put simply, the India-exclusive Disney+ Hotstar combines all of the content that you find on Disney+, Hulu, ESPN, and HBO Max. If you’re in the UK or Europe, it includes some content from Disney+ Star, too, but not all of it.

You can use the chart below to work out how US streaming sites split up Hotstar content and how they relate to each other:

Hotstar On US Streaming Sites Chart

Hotstar content is available across different US streaming services.

EXPERT TIP: The Indian company behind Hotstar was once called Star. It was renamed Disney Star after the Walt Disney Company acquisition. Do not confuse this with Disney+ Star, which is the name of a content hub for European and UK Disney+ users – an international version of the US-exclusive Hulu. Hotstar content is not available via the Disney+ Star hub.

What Can I Watch on Hotstar?

With over 30 individual channels, India’s Disney+ Hotstar has one of the biggest media libraries of any streaming service. Alongside Bollywood movies, TV shows, sports, and news from India, there are thousands of English-language titles, including access to Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic.

hotstar-channels

Disney+ Hotstar premium library contains major English language movies from Disney, Warner Bros. & more.

Some of the most popular content hubs include:

  • Asianet
  • Disney+
  • FOXlife
  • HBO Original Programming
  • Hotstar Specials
  • Showtime
  • StarPlus
  • Star Sports

There’s an extensive selection of sports available, too, including access to NFL, English Premier League soccer, Bundesliga, the ICC Cricket World Cup, F1, tennis, martial arts, kabaddi, hockey, and golf.

However, this large library and live sport is reserved only for those with premium Disney+ Hotstar accounts in India. If you are unable to create an Indian account for Hotstar, you’ll be restricted to certain content. But you can watch Koffee with Karan, sports replays, and select movies like Baaghi 2 and Junglee.

On Disney+ Hotstar, you can stream content that is usually split between Disney+, Hulu, ESPN, and HBO Max in the US. Below is a venn diagram that compares what you can watch on Hotstar India compared to the US Disney Bundle:

Hotstar in India and the Disney Bundle in the US share a lot of video content.

It’s worth noting that even though you can access some content from certain channels like the BBC on the Disney Bundle, that does not mean you can access all of that channel’s content.

Furthermore, while Hotstar and the Disney Bundle share lots of content, it is not always under the same names. For example, what you can stream on ESPN is also available on Hotstar, but ESPN is not a channel listed on Hotstar.

How Much Does Hotstar Cost?

India’s Disney+ Hotstar has two pricing plans: Super and Premium. Premium is an ad-free version with a four-device allowance and 4K streaming capability. Super is limited to two devices and 1080p quality (Full HD).

Super costs ₹899 per year (approximately $12.00) while Premium costs ₹1499 per year (approximately $20.00). You can also subscribe to Premium on a monthly basis of ₹299 (approximately $4.00).

You can see all the differences between the two plans in the table below:

Disney+ Hotstar Pricing Plans

Disney+ Hotstar has a two-tier subscription model.

To put it in perspective, ₹1499 converts to just under $20.00 per year. That’s an incredible price for such an extensive streaming service. On a monthly basis, ₹299 is just under $4.00 per month.

If you’re able to get an Indian Hotstar account from the US you can make immense savings. The difficulty of getting one, however, forces many to pay the price of a full Disney bundle.

The Best VPNs for Disney+ Hotstar

The best VPNs for Hotstar offer Indian servers, fast international speeds, and reliably unblock Disney+ Hotstar outside of India.

They can also access all other international streaming sites where Hotstar content is available, including Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max.

You can compare the best VPNs for Hotstar in thetable below:

1. ExpressVPN: The Best for Streaming Hotstar

ExpressVPN comes with two Indian city servers and unblocks Hotstar, HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+.

PROS CONS
  • Two India servers
  • Reliable access to Hotstar outside India
  • Access to Hulu, Disney+ & HBO Max
  • Top-tier security & privacy protection
  • Risk-free money-back guarantee
  • Expensive subscription
  • India connection speeds could be better
  • Virtual servers in India only
ExpressVPN Hotstar Streaming

ExpressVPN’s virtual servers work for connecting to India.

ExpressVPN comes with two India servers via the UK and Singapore. The best server for accessing Hotstar is via Singapore, which works reliably to spoof your real location and get around Hotstar geo-restrictions.

On June 2nd, ExpressVPN removed its servers from India in response to the Indian government’s demands to log user data. This means that it will no longer have physical servers in the country, but you’ll still be able to get an Indian IP address through virtual servers.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming, meaning that it reliably accesses all other streaming sites where Hotstar content can be viewed, including Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max. This is ideal if you’re outside the US and want to access Hotstar Specials on Hulu.

ExpressVPN lags behind some rivals when it comes to India connection speeds. We recorded an average download speed of 34Mbps when connecting from London, UK to Chennai, India.

ExpressVPN is the best overall VPN – it’s secure, private, and comes with excellent customer support.

2. Private Internet Access: Best Budget VPN for Hotstar

PIA accesses all US streaming sites and its servers in Mumbai get around Hotstar blocks.

PROS CONS
  • Accesses Disney+ Hotstar from anywhere
  • US servers for Disney Bundle streaming
  • Cheap subscription plan
  • No logs privacy policy
  • Mumbai server only
  • Slower than ExpressVPN
  • Smart DNS feature not working
  • India connections speeds could be improved

Private Internet Access is another secure and easy-to-use VPN service for unblocking and streaming Hotstar outside of India. It also works to unblock major US streaming sites, including HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+.

We’ve found ExpressVPN to be more reliable for unblocking streaming sites and they’re both faster on longer-distance connections (PIA picked up an average download speed of 42Mbps connecting to India), but PIA is good value for money.

PIA has a huge network of 17,193 servers, with the highest average number of servers per country of any VPN. For India, PIA allows you to connect to servers in Mumbai. We’d like to see more city options, but we’ve never experienced network congestion and speeds have remained fast.

If you want to watch Hotstar via the US Disney bundle, you can take advantage of PIA’s 18 US city locations for optimal streaming speeds.

We were also impressed by PIA’s customer support, with 24/7 live chat available and quality online guides.

What’s the Best Free VPN for Hotstar?

If you’re looking for a good free VPN for Hotstar, we recommend that you take advantage of the VPN free trials on offer from top services, or use their money-back guarantees.

There are currently no 100% free VPNs that work to unblock Hotstar in India. The free VPNs on offer are either unsafe to use or they do not come with VPN servers in India.

For example, TunnelBear Free comes with a free India server but it is limited by 500MB of data per month. This means you won’t be able to stream Hotstar content for long before your data disappears.

Psiphon also has a server option in India, but it’s a terrible choice for unblocking streaming services.

Windscribe Free and PrivadoVPN Free both work to unblock Disney+, HBO Max, and Hulu, but neither comes with free India servers. You can use these two free VPNs to watch Hotstar content via US streaming services, but you won’t be able to watch Disney+ Hotstar in India.

What to Do if Hotstar Detects Your VPN

Disney+ Hotstar monitors its users’ IP addresses to prevent anyone outside of India accessing It. A VPN gets around this by changing your IP address to an Indian one, fooling the detection methods.

Our tests show that Hotstar’s geo-detection methods aren’t as effective as Netflix’s, so most VPNs that have servers in India can access it. However, not all of them work.

If you’re unable to access Disney+ Hotstar while connected to an Indian VPN server, it’s likely your VPN is being detected. You’ll know its not working if you get the message:

“An error occurred while processing your request.”

If you see this, change your server to another VPN server based in India. If none of them work, you’ll need a better VPN for Hotstar.

Hotstar FAQs

Is Hotstar the same as Disney Plus?

Although Hotstar is now owned by The Walt Disney Company, it is not the same as the Disney+ streaming service. For example, you cannot access most Hotstar content if you subscribe to the regular Disney+ package.

However, the Disney Bundle package is much closer to the full India Hotstar offering, because it includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. This is where Hotstar content was moved to after Disney bought it. Even then, it’s still not as comprehensive as Hotstar in India.

The closest thing to Hotstar in the USA is a combination of Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, and HBO Max.

Is Hotstar Free with Disney Plus?

If you’re in India, Disney+ and Hotstar are the same and are combined in one package. In this sense, Hotstar is free with Disney+ in India.

If you’re in the US or anywhere else, Hotstar is not free with Disney+. Hotstar has different content and is not included as part of a standard Disney+ subscription.

You can only access additional Hotstar content via Hulu and ESPN+ as part of the more expensive Disney bundle package.

About the Author


  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio