Although they do not mention the word VPN anywhere on their site it works pretty close to what a VPN service does, Cocoon sits in between your ISP and the website you would like to visit and and handles the data requests back and forward hiding your real computer IP, the benefits are that nobody can see your real location, except by Cocoon, and websites believe you are in the same country that Cocoon servers are, the USA, bypassing geolocation blocking used by online TV and music sites.
In addition Cocoon will also block all advertisements and relay your data through an encrypted tunnel, an ideal tool to secure yourself at public Wifi hotspots where anyone with a packet sniffer could see what websites you visit and grab your passwords. The downside is that it only works with Firefox and Internet Explorer, installing a toolbar. And although Cocoon blocks websites advertisements they serve you their own ads, that is how they finance themselves. Cocoon adverts come in the form of small video clips right in the middle of a new tab, they appear at random times, not very frequently and bearable in my experience but impossible to skip.
I was impressed with their download speed, tested from Europe I achieved 8Mbps downstream and 0.5Mbps upstream, you should be able to watch high definition video with that. I tested for Geoblocking at Hulu, Pandora, CWTV and Slacker radio, they all worked and I was able to watch USA TV from abroad for free.
It appears to be a service targeted at computer beginners, easy to configure, you just need to install a toolbar, they avoid technical language and the account interface is really neat. You can upgrade to their premium service and get rid of their publicity while you surf, Cocoon isn’t expensive but they are not a real VPN either, only your web browser is protected whereas a VPN will protect all of your outgoing connections, including mail clients and filesharing. If you are willing to pay I would go for a real VPN I would try VPN4All instead of Cocoon VPN pseudoservice, you could combine both services, get a cheap VPN with bandwidth limits and use Cocoon free service for online video streaming, saving your VPN account bandwidth. Privacy wise, Cocoon will store a list of visited sites on their central server, visible from within your account, they claim that everything is encrypted and only you have access to the data but if someone where to get hold of your password they would have access too, in order to change these settings you will need a paid for account, few settings can be changed in the free version.
As a content creator I also think that this has to be one of the most hypocrite companies I have come across, on the one hand they block websites adverts, like the ones found here, and deny sites from revenue they deserve while they show users their own intrusive adverts, it sounds like do as I say not like I do, other than that, a nice alternative to HotSpotShield, and it is available for the iPhone and iPad too.