Just about every major UK TV channel including BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub is broadcast over the internet, which sounds good news for travellers, expats, holidaymakers and lovers of British TV. Unfortunately it’s not that straight forward as many people have found when they tried to watch online from outside the UK.
All the UK TV channels operate a geo-blocking system which prevents access from any location outside the United Kingdom. However don’t worry, at this present time there are thousands of people streaming the BBC iPlayer or watching Coronation Street on the ITV Hub from all over the world.
So don’t worry, keep reading and you’ll be able to start watching BBC iPlayer in a few minutes wherever you are.
Demonstration – How to Watch UK TV Abroad
Here’s a video demonstrating this issue and a solution that’s been letting people watch their favorite TV shows for years :
The method employed is fairly standard, in order to access all these UK TV websites you just need to hide your physical location. These websites determine your location by checking where your IP address is registered to, this is the unique network number which is assigned wherever you are connecting from. Although this address cannot be changed you can hide it by connecting through an intermediate server based in the United Kingdom.
These are generally called a VPN service or proxy and they can relay your request through any server in any country. This hides your real location and will enable you to start to watch live TV from any UK only based site like the BBC iPlayer. In fact you will be able to access all UK streaming services if you stay connected to a UK server.
As you can see although it sounds complicated it’s in fact relatively straight forward to enjoy any streaming services you like. Indeed you can install one of these in minutes and be watching British Television like the BBC News straight away.
It’s becoming an essential service as the practice of restricting access based on location is spreading across the world and a huge industry of these VPN services has been created.
Enjoy Watching UK TV Abroad
So which are the main UK TV sites which VPNs are used for? Well the choice is pretty large and to be honest they can supply pretty much all your entertainment need through streaming content.
Many find that if they have access to watch British TV that’s all they need, the amount of TV streaming services available is huge. The first four of these are all free with a UK IP address. Remember to watch UK TV abroad you must connect to a VPN with a UK streaming server!
- BBC iPlayer – the biggest and best online TV channel probably in the world, it currently has ten online streaming channels live and thousands of hours content archived. Personally BBC iPlayer it’s pretty much all I watch abroad and of course no adverts.
- ITV Hub – UK’s biggest commercial TV station also known as ITV player. They run live streaming from all their channels and there’s a huge archive too. Some films and movies can only be watched live due to licensing restrictions. They’ve just put up a new Box set section to ITV Hub which has entire series to watch at once.
- All 4 – the innovative and arty British TV channel. Live streaming and archive section, with some brilliant box sets. Channel 4 has changed from it’s initial inception there’s something for most people – well worth checking out.
- My 5 – Channel 5’s online channel with fast live streaming and their box sets from their own content and bought in from other channels. They have some excellent crime and Sci-Fi shows from the USA. Also some great dramas and niche programmes that you won’t find anywhere else.
- Sky Go – Sky is the main satellite broadcaster in the UK and has literally millions of subscribers. There are many movies, films, TV series and documentaries. Sky also have coverage of many major sporting events. You will need a paid subscription to watch Sky Go abroad and access these channels. You will need one of the pricier subscriptions for the movies and sports remember.
They are now very simple to use and can hide your location with simply a click of a button. There are literally hundreds of these VPN subscription services available all over the internet however you should be careful which service you invest in. I’ve tried many of them and I can assure you that for streaming UK based TV content from anywhere in the world then a Nord VPN subscription is perfect!
Many of these VPNs are overloaded and don’t work well unless you use the very lowest video quality. Indeed some are also blocked by websites like the BBC and ITV Player. In fact there were waves of panic in the expat community last year when people found their BBC iPlayer VPN not working even for license fee payers.
If you find a fast, secure VPN service then you can watch BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub without problems.
The best VPN services will never be the cheapest simply because they’re optimized for speed and access. If you reduce the price you have to load more people onto each server – which does two things.
- Makes streaming UK TV extremely slow – usually involves stuttering and buffering on the video.
- Raises the chance significantly of being blocked – the more people on the same server, the more likely it is to be blocked.
Obviously being blocked completely by BBC iPlayer is pretty bad, but it’s also hard to start watching any TV channels if they are slow and keep buffering too. There are a few companies who ensure that you have a fast, secure and stable connection which will allow you to watch UK TV abroad free whenever you need to.
Of course, a simple method to identify which works well and is to try them out. The decent ones all offer shorter subscriptions where you can test them, although the cheaper option is usually a longer term. Only do this if there’s a money back guarantee option available such as Nord offer. If you have any concerns it’s also worth checking out their excellent customer service too.
We’ve tested most of these services and our favourite is one called Nord VPN which is one of the most popular VPNs on the market. It’s been around for years and has developed all the infrastructure you need to avoid being blocked from these sites. Their software has advanced security features to avoid detection and you can connect to any of their VPN server from all over the world. A couple of clicks and you can be watching UK TV abroad in minutes. There are also apps available for all your other devices and operating systems too. Run it on your smart phone, tablet, gaming consoles or Windows PC under the same subscription, just ask their support for the instructions if you need help.
Important Tips Using NordVPN to Watch BBC iPlayer ITV etc Abroad
Nord VPN has hundreds of UK servers in their server network unlike many VPN providers, so you’re never going to be short on choice. However a few of them are optimized for UK streaming channels like BBC iPlayer and ITV. They have all their IP addresses monitored to check that they can be used to watch UK TV abroad and are not blocked by your favorite TV stations.
If you want to stream TV channels like BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub then use these optimized servers. Don’t use the ‘autoconnect feature’ which although is simplest to use won’t automatically connect you to one of these servers.
Here’s the current list, but it’s always worth checking with customer support in case they change –
UK: #764, #977, #1025, #1388, #1512, #1515 #836, #1043, #1057, #1320, #1483, #1513 #1448 #1325 #1347
The other useful method is to just select one of the VPN servers at random and test it out. If it works well when watching TV online then save it in your favourites. You can also do this for other channels – find which are the best VPNs for Prime Video, BT Sport, Netflix UK and so on – label them with the channel name and save them for later!