Updated July 2020 – latest information
The UK has some of the best TV stations in the world, what’s even better is that they also have decades of old shows available to broadcast too. BritBox is a brand new streaming service which brings together the best shows from the UK’s leading TV stations on one platform. Currently it included the two largest BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and Comedy Central plus from Spring 2020 Channel 4 and Film 4 will be included too.
For the fan of British TV then this is simply amazing and has the potential to completely transform your viewing. However as per usual – broadcasting rights and copyright has reared it’s ugly head and the service is only available in specific locations. At the moment, if you try and access Britbox from most places in the world then you’ll probably get this message –
This message is not quite right, as you can of course also watch BritBox from the UK too but it’s definitely frustrating for many TV fans. For instance, I read some sci-fi forums and there’s been huge disappointment for many who were waiting to enjoy hundreds of episodes of Dr Who all uniquely available on this platform. If you love shows like this then the £5.99 a month subscription is a huge bargain.
The Truth About Using a BritBox VPN
Of course, there are potential solutions to these geographical restrictions if you know where to look. Indeed literally millions of people have been watching the BBC itself for years using something called a VPN (Virtual Private Network). All these do is to hide your real location and IP address allowing you to access content which is normally blocked. For the BBC, as long as the VPN server is situated in the United Kingdom then you can watch any TV shows for free as if you were in the UK.
If you scout around the internet there are many companies who are suggesting that it’s exactly the same for accessing Britbox abroad, yet this isn’t entirely true. Most of these sites are promoting VPN programs which they want you to buy, but there two problems that most of them fail to mention.
- Many VPNs don’t work with Britbox – just like the BBC, lots of VPN services have been blocked. What happens is that their IP addresses are flagged as VPNs/proxies and can’t access the service.
- Payment Detection – What the VPN companies won’t tell you is that there is a second method of detecting your location which a VPN doesn’t help with. You have to enter your payment details before using even the free 30 day subscription of Britbox, the location of the account you’re using can be detected.
This second point is MUCH harder to solve than the IP detection issue which a VPN can potentially solve. You can certainly use a secure VPN which is not blocked like NordVPN to hide your actual location. However that won’t help you unless you have a valid payment method from the correct country.
So just to summarize, you can bypass the Geo-IP detection phase and watch Britbox anywhere. However to subscribe to BritBox but you will need a valid debit or credit card in that country.
- Connect to a UK VPN then use a UK credit/debit Card to pay.
- Connect to a US VPN then use a USA credit/debit card to pay.
- Connect to a Canadian VPN then use a Canadian credit/debit card to pay.
This is important as if you don’t have a valid payment method located in one of those countries then buying a VPN subscription is a waste of money for accessing BritBox. You can however use the VPN to watch the free versions of all these channels, if you’re using something like NordVPN then just select a UK server and watch the BBC, ITV etc as normal.
It’s kind of infuriating with so many fans of British television asking will BritBox be available in Europe or can I get BritBox in Australia ? At the moment our traditional workaround of using a VPN will only help if you have a payment method linked to the UK, US or Canada. It’s taken a long time for BritBox to be rolled out to even these countries, so it’s unsure how long it will take for everyone to get access to this Britbox content.
Many have suggested that you can bypass the payment detection system by getting a BritBox gift subscription but I’ve not seen this work yet. It sounds feasible if you have someone who could buy the BritBox subscription then use a VPN to actually use it from somewhere else.
Personally I’m unsure if it’s worth the cost anyway as the free versions of BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub are amazing and easily accessible from anywhere in the world just by using a reliable VPN like NordVPN. All new shows and programmes are always streamed on these platforms first and stay up their for a considerable time. There’s hundred of episodes of Hercule Poirot for example on ITV hub right now for free.