I'm not sure how these things work but I find it utterly ludicrous. Don't you?
I mean, isn't the internet open to all--at least in the modern world? And isn't streaming TV free? Sweeping regional restrictions are usually due to government involvement--such as in China...but the US?!?
So bottom line is that is has to do with monetization and scale. If you cannot be a potential buyer, TV is not free for you. Sorry. It just costs too much to stream and it's complicated enough working with product companies and ad agencies in the US, not to mention across geographies.
But there are also missed opportunities, First, US residents who travel and want access to US TV: small niche but most likely with big spending power--completely shut out. Second, brand awareness and establishment in growing demographics can have great returns--just take Asia's fast-growing urban areas and the rich middle class: People pay significant premiums to enjoy Western brands. In Europe, people use their smartphones and internet for much more than we do in the US.
Moreover, when extending outside the US, the networks can exercise their leverage and grow their revenue model in creative ways--just think how much more Americans spend on a Starbucks coffee in Vienna or how coveted Japan's Burberry Blue Lable has become around the world.
I'm wondering if by the next trip I take the networks and Hulu will figure out a way. I wouldn't mind paying a few bucks for access when abroad (since I don't drink Starbucks anywhere). Or maybe I'll just spend my money on a Sling box. Better yet--perhaps by next year a couple of girls just out of high-school will figure out a way to provide an automated way for ad publishers to take advantage of the streaming TV audience wherever they are.