If you’ve just arrived in Cyprus to live or holiday, you may be briefly under the impression that you can’t connect to all the UK TV sites on the internet. For example if you try and visit the BBC when in Cyprus, you’ll see something like this message –
What happens is when you try and visit the BBC or indeed any UK TV site, it will check to see where your IP address is registered. Now if you’re in Cyprus it will come from some internet service provider here like Cyta or PrimeTel or one of the other companies who provide internet access here. However they will assign your connection an IP address registered in Cyprus, which is all it takes for the BBC or ITV to determine your location.
Now it does seem kind of petty to stop people accessing the BBC from outside of the United Kingdom but you can see their point. It costs a lot of money to provide video streaming services globally and the BBC is of course entirely funded by the UK TV license. So perhaps it’s fair to ask why should the UK license payer fund access to Match of the Day to people sitting drinking a beer in Limassol or enjoying their retirement in Spain. Although it should be pointed out that many people in Cyprus do actually pay for a UK TV license and they’re still denied access.
It does seem odd that the BBC don’t provide a legitimate way for UK TV license fee holders access when abroad. Giving people the option to purchase a TV license from anywhere would also seem a logical way to give people access and pay for the costs involved too. However the BBC doesn’t seem to have ever really wanted to go down either of these routes. It was likely that Europe was going to force the BBC to allow access to UK license holders via their Digital Market initiatives, yet Brexit has probably stopped this happening.
How to Watch British TV in Cyprus
So if you want to watch British TV in Cyprus then the simplest option is to pretend that you’re actually in the UK. Just to clarify, you have to pretend your computer/phone/tablet is in the UK and you do this by hiding your IP address. Your IP address is the simplest way to determine your location and most websites check where you are when you first visit them. Many don’t make much distinction after that, but lots will tailor your visit based on this information. Most of the world’s media sites however will generally block access outside their domestic markets. Here’s how you can bypass all these blocks though – by using something called a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
It sounds terribly complicated, but in fact it’s quite the opposite. All you have to do is to install the software and then click onto whichever country you need. So for instance to watch the BBC from Cyprus you’d just click on a UK server before you connect. Then the BBC would see the IP address of the VPN server instead of your real one. This gives you total access to all of the BBC sites and programmes. It also does the same for ITV and the other UK TV channels which broadcast online too. Indeed if you’re thinking – Sky TV Cyprus – then the answer’s yes although you will need to pay for the ridiculously expensive Sky TV subscription as well.
Remember using a VPN isn’t illegal, or even vaguely dodgy it’s an important security tool that most people should use irrespective of being able to watch TV. All the world’s major companies install VPN software on any laptop which is used over the internet. It’s a sensible security program for protecting your data online, so it’s a sensible move whatever. The fact is that it’s also the easiest way to bypass the increasing amount of controls and filters that we are starting to see online. You will certainly not be alone using a VPN to watch the BBC – they themselves estimate that millions of people do just the same from all over the world.
One of the other advantages is that you can actually switch countries at will. It can give you much more than to watch UK TV in Paphos for example! Want to watch some Irish TV, choose an Irish server and you can stream from RTE. Choose a US server and enjoy Hulu, HBO or some American football! There are lots of great shows on Canadian and Australian TV too, again just select the right country and all will be unlocked.
So which VPN should you choose? Well there’s actually quite a lot of choice but only a few decent services. One of the problems is that the BBC (and to a lesser extent other companies) tries to block connections from these VPN services. Usually they do this in two ways either targeting the companies which openly advertise the service which leaves them open to lots of legal threats. The second is by identifying the connections themselves, where the companies who overload their servers to lower costs end up getting blocked.
There are a few good ones and fortunately they’re not that expensive. Remember the very cheapest will be able to charge less by loading more people onto slower servers. It’s not worth using these as firstly they’ll get blocked and secondly streaming video through a slow server is painful. You’ll find that the stream stutters and stops to buffer every few minutes and is hard to use.
We have a suggestion though, a super fast VPN service which is one of the oldest in the market. It’s a couple of Euros more than the cheapest ones but it’s a joy to use with no buffering at all.
Try out their trial for ten days and you’ll see what I mean –
Trial identity Cloaker