If you want the simple explanation how anyone can watch UK TV from Canada –
- Sign up for a decent, good value VPN like NordVPN
- Connect to one of their UK servers (see note about which work best with the BBC)
- Sign up for an account if required (BBC and ITV Hub) with any email address
- Enjoy all the UK TV channels anytime you want.
For more details read on –
Every UK TV channel broadcasts the majority of their programmes online. The BBC iPlayer for example streams every channel live 24 hours a day. So if you want to watch anything from David Attenborough’s latest documentary or the BBC News you simply have to logon to the site. Obviously time differences can mean it can be difficult to watch some shows, Canada is roughly 5 or 6 hours behind the United Kingdom. Yet for most shows you can also pick them up in the huge archive – most of the BBC’s shows are stored for 12 months online for anyone to watch.
The BBC set the standard for online media sites and has been providing free access to UK citizens to watch British TV for many years. As long as you’re in the UK and can confirm you have a UK Television license then you’re able to watch for as long as you like. There are no adverts or interruptions apart from a few trailers before you choose a new show to watch. Just like the BBC iPlayer ITV has developed a huge online presence with both live and archived shows too. So when the new series of Downton Abbey arrives you’ll be able to stream it directly from the ITV Hub.
The other UK TV channels are perhaps not quite as well known as iPlayer yet with the right set up offer a whole host of great TV shows too. The most popular are probably All 4 and the Channel 5 site plus the subscription channel Sky Go but there are many more streaming services available where you can enjoy British TV.
How Can I Watch UK TV in Canada
Unfortunately as you probably know there is a complication, if you have ever tried to access any of these sites then you’ll know they don’t work directly from Canada or other countries. If you try from a computer or Smart TV in Canada then you’ll simply be blocked and see something like this –
The reason is that all of these sites operate something called geo targeting, which means they check your location before you access their site. Indeed all online TV sites do this and restrict access to their domestic viewers – so you can only watch US TV in the USA, British TV in the UK and Canadian Television channels from Canada.
It’s extremely frustrating to see a global communication medium like the internet have artificial blocks, barriers and filters yet it’s happening more and more. Basically your IP address controls what you can watch, it doesn’t matter where you’re originally from only where you are located when you try and access the site. So that a British Coronation Street fan or someone wanting to watch the BBC One News will have no access if they’re currently outside the geographical borders of the United Kingdom when they connect.
You Can Watch BBC Shows in Canada (plus ITV too)
There are of course some home grown options to access British Television programmes in Canada. Indeed many shows are available on other platforms and licensed to Canadian TV channels. However the simplest and by fast the most cost effective method is to use something called a VPN which can hide your IP address and make it look like you’re a resident of the UK. By connecting to a UK server you will have access to all the UK TV stations online in exactly the same way as anybody in the United Kingdom would have. So free access to the wonderful BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and Channel 5 too. Using a VPN is the simplest way to watch British TV and probably the cheapest too – just an inexpensive subscription to the right security program unlocks all the channels.
Here’s how easy it is to do using Nord VPN – discount page here.
Are there any other catches ? Well you need to set up accounts on each site to watch them, but they’re entirely free and there’s no checks or anything. You will be asked for your post code (like a zip code) but as long as you put in any valid UK one you’ll be fine – just grab any address from online or from here – Random Postcode Generator (doogal.co.uk). The BBC will also ask you if you have a valid UK TV license before watching, there’s no verification though so just say yes !
There’s also sometimes a limit to which device you can set up a VPN connection on which works. Virtually everything works on a PC or laptop but it can be difficult to setup on a smart tv or other device. If you want to use on different devices then look for those VPN providers which offer a VPN app which you can install their service on. One of my favorite security programmes which works really well for watching UK content is called Identity Cloaker. It unfortunately doesn’t have applications for phones and tablets though so you have to install it manually rather than install from the app store. It’s worth considering though as it offers very uncrowded servers which rarely get blocked by the BBC and ITV.
The beauty of using a VPN server to be able to watch the BBC and other UK TV sites is that it works from anywhere in the world. Indeed the best VPNs also give you access to a whole network of servers all across the planet so you can access other TV shows too. For example French speakers will definitely enjoy M6 Reply which is an excellent French TV station, instead of choosing a UK server then pick a French one to access the website. So don’t restrict yourself to just watch British TV there’s a whole host of great TV shows you can watch in lots of different countries outside Canada.