There are many things that we Brits like to complain about and indeed some even drive many off to build their lives in foreign climes. Yet it is at this point expats and travellers start to remember things that Britain is generally good at and there can be little doubt that Television is right up there. For an English speaker, there’s little that comes even close anywhere in the world to the BBC for documentaries, dramas, news and even sports when they can afford the ridiculous licensing fees.
Fortunately every major British TV channel broadcasts pretty much all their programmes online. The downside is that this internet content is normally only accessible when you’re physically in the United Kingdom. Yet fear not, you can watch UK TV abroad and enjoy the delights of the BBC iPlayer irrespective of your location – just read on.
As mentioned all the British stations broadcast online, and all restrict access from outside the UK. However there’s no doubt that the most popular site is the BBC and it’s related application – BBC iPlayer. In fact for a lot of people that’s all they use, the BBC has more than ten channels online plus thousands of archived programmes on the BBC iPlayer. You can watch virtually every programme live when it’s broadcast or for a few weeks after from the archive.
Yet first you have to get passed the filter that stops anyone outside the UK from accessing the site. That’s actually not quite true, no-one is completely blocked but if you try and access the BBC site from abroad, then you’ll be redirected to the ‘International version’ which has lots of information but no programmes or access to iPlayer. To bypass this filter you just need to hide your location by obscuring your network address or IP address as it’s commonly known.
How to Watch BBC TV Abroad Online
Here’s how you do this: –
As you can see using a specialised VPN service you can hide your true location and appear to be based in the United Kingdom. The BBC site records the IP address (and location) of the VPN server and not yours, which means as long as the server is based in the UK you’ll have unrestricted access.
Not only that it works for all other UK only sites too, all the other UK TV channels will be accessible from their websites as long as you have a UK connection enabled. It works with other geo-restricted sites too like betting sites, banking and retailers sites which stop you buying cheaper by region locking you into a specific version.
What’s more it gives you anonymity and protects your internet connection by encrypting all your communication allowing you to use insecure WiFi access points to access things like email or home banking. Most of the best VPN services allow access to a range of different servers in many countries too. This means you can access sites and TV restricted to those locations – check out the US version of Netflix or some of the fantastic media sites based in the US by connecting through a US VPN first.
There are quite a few of these services available but you should be careful. Here’s a quick checklist to check when you’re shopping for the best one for you.
- Speed – cheap VPNs are often overloaded, if the server is too slow you’ll find a lot of buffering which is awful to watch.
- Support – good technical support is vital because the channels often tweak their filters, many VPNs get blocked if they’re not configured securely.
- Discretion – seems odd, but a discrete VPN service which doesn’t openly advertise itself as a ‘TV watching’ service is vital. Those that do advertise openly don’t last long under legals threats of potential copyright lawsuits.
- Reliability – the servers should have lots of backups and be reliable. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to live stream you favorite show and then finding your VPN doesn’t work. There should be lots of UK servers for you to use.
- Adaptability – check that the VPN can be enabled on multiple devices like phones, tablets and smart TVs.
Most of the best VPN services have been around for many years now and should provide all the above. However some will work better for you depending on your location so it’s better to try out a short trial before committing to a subscription of any length.