How to Watch UK TV in Ireland (or anywhere) – Watch UK TV Abroad Legally

How to Watch British TV in Ireland Free of Charge

For friends across the border or anywhere in the world – read on to learn how to watch UK TV abroad free online.

If you live in the United Kingdom and are unfortunate to have an interest in the news or politics, then you’ll probably be getting fed up with pictures of various roads across Ireland especially on BBC One.  These particular roads are all frequently displayed to illustrate the Irish border, or what is currently the lack of it.

Here’s one of the pictures:

watch uk tv abroad free
Which I guess kind of illustrates the point that it’s fairly easy to cross over the border at the moment!   Certainly, there’s pretty much zero restrictions for people, goods and services to cross either way across the border.   However, although Brexit apart it’s great to see the reduction in physical borders, they definitely still exist in the online world.   We all probably think we’re pretty much the same sitting in front of our laptops and computers, yet virtually every website of any size will monitor where we’re physically based.

It’s kind of disturbing to think that so much effort goes in to tracking and monitoring us when we connect to a website.  However, it’s very important to most websites, even the very smallest blog will probably have some sort of analytics installed which will monitor locations and other basic information about your visit.  Indeed with a few more resources your location can be even more detailed than simply a town or city, with some co-operation from the ISPs (often given) they can get your full postal address too.

Watch UK TV Abroad Free for 14 Days 

The reality is that there are loads of ‘digital borders’ and they’re increasing all the time.  You’ve probably stumbled across them, those sorry this ‘content is not available in your location’ type messages.  However, for every one of those you see, there will be numerous times where you’re quietly side tracked or routed to a specific page based on  your location.

Take for example the BBC, if you visit any of their web pages, you’ll have a completely different experience if you’re logging on from a UK computer to one anywhere else in the world – including the Republic of Ireland.  As soon as you press return on your browser, the web site will have determined your location which will determine what happens next.  It’s all done based on your IP address, that simple network ID which every device connected to the internet must have.

What happens? Well, here’s what you’ll see if you’re in the UK, on Tuesday 18th September:

How to Watch UK TV Online in Ireland - Free of Charge

Yet, if I was to drive a few miles and connect from a computer south of the Irish border I would actually see a completely different site.   Here’s what a visitor from anywhere outside the UK would see:

watch freeview online

It’s a totally different website, even though these screenshots were taken minutes apart.  The second picture is from the ‘International’ version of the BBC, it’s even got an advertisement on the site which as we know you would never see on the domestic version.   You also will not be able to watch BBC One on it anywhere.

In fact, the International BBC site although a decent news site is actually a pale imitation of the UK version.  For a start you can’t watch live TV channels or the BBC News live which archives most of the BBC’s content for a few weeks.   A few short miles across a border are enough to block access to one of the best media sites on the entire internet.

How to Watch British TV Abroad Free Online

Of course, if you are on the borders, it’s likely you’ll at least be able to pick up the TV signal.  Indeed, the art of IP location is not 100% perfect, and many people will also probably sneak through if their IP address is inadvertently assigned a UK nationality too.

However, for the rest of us it’s extremely frustrating!  It’s difficult to underestimate how good the BBC media site is – it’s easily comparable to many expensive cable packages I’ve subscribed to over the years.  There are hundreds of dramas, documentaries, news and sports programmes like Match of the Day all available at the click of a button. What’s more it’s constantly updated, and you’ll often find box sets appearing on their which will keep you enthralled for weeks!   Plus, you can listen to hour upon hour of Brexit arguing on programs like Question Time and Newsnight, um perhaps not!  At least you can enjoy keeping up to date with the BBC News.

how to watch bbc iplayer in ireland free 2019

So, can you get BBC iPlayer in Ireland or indeed anywhere outside the UK?  Fortunately, there is a solution, not only for those just missing out on a UK border, but for those connecting from anywhere on the planet.  It’s a method that I’ve personally been using for more than a decade and literally millions of people across the world use to watch the BBC iPlayer.

It’s not that complicated and over the years there have been several variations in the methods.  There’s one constant though and that’s you must hide your real IP address and use a UK based one in order to fool the BBC into letting you watch the proper BBC site.

Over the last two years, the BBC has become a little stroppy about letting people view abroad by this method.  In previous years they never really bothered about these circumvention tools but as their international monetizing schemes were extended, they started to block people.  This meant that simple and free options like using some accidentally mis-configured proxy server from a UK company or college no longer worked.  Also, those many companies who actively portrayed themselves as services to watch UK TV abroad and live UK streams, received rather intimidating legal approaches and promptly closed down.

The market now is much smaller and has been reduced to two main methods provided from the few legitimate companies who played things smarter than the rest.   They kept their services more legitimate and didn’t directly advertise the circumvention properties (despite nearly everyone using them!).  Also they invested in large blocks of British IP addresses meaning it was extremely difficult to manually block and filter the connections.

Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad Free

The two methods for watching British TV channels are actually linked and fairly similar, they are called Smart DNS and VPN (Virtual Private Networks).  Most people probably use the VPN service method.  However, for purely TV watching purposes and ease of installation, the method we’ll demonstrate here is Smart DNS which you can see in the following video:

It’s important to remember that the Smart DNS method illustrated above does not offer any real privacy or security options.  It’s purely for bypassing the blocks and allowing you to watch geo-restricted sites like the BBC, indeed your internet connection is really not affected much at all.  For options other than a computer for example if you want to watch UK TV abroad on an iPad or something it’s definitely simpler.  Basically set up the DNS server, authorise your address and start watching UK TV anywhere in the world in a couple of minutes.

Although a VPN is more secure it does often slow your internet connection down, as it relays everything you do through a third party server.  It also can be a little more difficult to set up as it usually relies on the installation of client software to manage and control the network connection.

The Simplest Method to Watch UK TV Abroad Anywhere Using Smart DNS

The installation of Smart DNS simply involves changing your DNS servers and activating your account.  After this has been completed your IP address will be masked only when visiting one of these restricted web sites like the BBC.  At this point you’ll be partially routed through the correct location, just enough to fool the website involved.   As long as the website is configured to recognise the site then everything will work perfectly.  Most of the main UK TV services are on there – all the free to air plus subscription services like BT Sport and Sky Go.

It certainly makes it the obvious choice if you want to use on a media streamer, games console or smart TV but it works perfectly for Brit TV abroad on pretty much any network enabled device.

However, there’s a better way to find out than listening to me, try it out.  The company I’ve been using for the last two years has a 14-day free trial with no restrictions at all.   What’s more it’s one of the only ones that will also switch your Netflix account to the US version (if you wish) which it is by far the best version with loads more movies and TV shows than any other version.

Anyway, the free trial is available below which gives you 14 days out to try it out for yourself, yes that’s right you can watch UK TV free online without any obligations.

Watching UK TV Online
Free Trial


Additional Questions – Other TV Channels etc

Here’s a few other questions I’ve received over the years on this page, they get lost in comments so answering them here.

Can I Watch Irish TV Abroad Using the Free Trial?

You definitely used to be able to stream RTE outside Ireland using this free trial but unfortunately it no longer works.  I’m not sure why they’ve stopped supporting RTE as it’s a popular channel but presume it’s due to increased geo-blocking from the Irish broadcaster.  The only Irish based media channel supported by Smart DNS Proxy appears to be something called iBox and that’s only if you upgrade to the paid subscription.

Does Smart DNS work with Smart Phones?

It does but it’s definitely not ideal.  The problem is that you need to authorize your IP address on the device you’re using.  This will rarely change on a home internet connection, but will rotate a lot using a mobile device if you’re moving about.  Using a VPN is a better option for mobile devices especially if you travel about a lot – Smart DNS Proxy provide a limited VPN service included for these situations.

How to Watch UK TV in Ireland -IPTV Options?

You’ve probably seen or heard of these little disks or cards with lots of free TV sites you can stream?  These are IPTV streaming options, basically people stream established sites through their servers and offer subscriptions.  These offer very good value if you find a good one, unfortunately these illegal services are easy to track down and can disappear without trace.   Not something we use, but they are an option – best to go with a recommendation from a friend but be aware the providers can and do track down the IPTV providers and can even come after the viewers too (although this is rare).

2 thoughts on “How to Watch UK TV in Ireland (or anywhere) – Watch UK TV Abroad Legally”

    • It will definitely work, just follow the instructions when you sign up. there’s only a couple of steps – change your DNS server settings, authorize your IP address (just click authorize button) and then all should work fine. Your computer will work exactly the same but all the UK TV channels will start working perfectly. Just try the free trial – there’s no trick or obligation and you can watch BBC iPlayer for free for a couple of weeks to see if you like it.


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