Updated July, 2021
All the UK TV stations broadcast the majority of their shows online. There are a few exceptions, like the odd licensed blockbuster film but usually you can watch everything live or from their archives. However as anyone who has ever settled down to watch from outside the UK will know, the minute you step outside the UK none of these will work. Surprisingly it still comes as a shock to some people, yet it has been this way for many years at least for the major TV channels.
There was some hope for a while, the EU were making a stand against this sort of behaviour with a digital marketplace initiative. The idea was that anything digital that you bought or paid for in one European country should be available in any other country. It makes sense widening the single market to include digital goods and services. The BBC was making preparations to support this, rumours suggested that you’d have to input your TV license number before accessing the site but it could be watched anywhere in Europe. Now obviously these plans are now on hold, although if we end up staying in Europe expect to see them revived.
Fortunately there is a way to bypass these blocks that doesn’t involve politicians. So if you’re enjoying a beer on a Saturday night in the warm Spanish sun and you’re pining for Match of the Day or the latest episode of Strictly then read on.
How to Watch – British TV in the Costa Del Sol
There are of course several different options to do this, but one method is simpler, cheaper and as a result much more popular than the others. It involves quickly installing a computer program with a couple of mouse clicks, then clicking on a UK server to change your location. It’s called a VPN program which can sit on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone and hide your true location whenever you need it.
The best way to see how easy it is to use, is by watching this short video which uses something called NordVPN –
When you finish you simply turn it off and the connection will close. Then your internet experience will revert to the country you are physically located in. Remember when the UK VPN is enabled, all your other browsing will be centred around the UK too. So for example if you use Google then you’ll receive UK related results rather than Spanish ones, you could also lose access to Spanish only sites too.
It’s not difficult to use, and having the ability to switch countries at will opens up thousands of web sites which are normally restricted to specific countries too. If you want to watch some US only channels click on a US server for instance. For English speakers there are some great media sites like Hulu, Pandora and NBC just in the US, which you can watch from anywhere using a VPN. For the more adventurous and multi-lingual there’s loads of stuff on French, Canadian, Australian and German TV too – just click the right flag to get access.
Remember that although you don’t need unlimited internet to stream these TV channels it will use quite a lot of data. Many people of course have unlimited plans on their home internet connection, however if you don’t you should be careful on how much you stream. Watching internet TV especially at higher resolutions can involve a large amount of data, consider upgrading your account if this is likely to be your preferred option.
VPN is the Simplest, Cheapest and Safest Method
There are other options of course, depending on where you live. If you look at Expat online communities then you’ll find whole sections and UK TV in Spain forum groups. There are satellite options, dodgy sounding IPTV servers, simulsat TV Spain and a whole range of different hardware devices. Yet the fact is that if you have a decent internet connection then it’s hard to find a simpler option for English TV in Mallorca or anywhere in the world than using a VPN.
It’s worth remembering that although millions use these VPNs just for watching Eastenders on their computers, they do have another primary function – security. A VPN provides a level of security that is completely lacking from the vast majority of internet connections. Checking your email or paying a bill while using an unknown Wifi hotspot is a huge risk. A VPN encrypts all your data and makes it safe to surf from virtually anywhere.
What’s more because a VPN’s primary purpose is security and anonymity then you can happily browse and download from all these websites completely safely. Nobody can see where you’re connected from and all your data is secure.
There is one more thing to mention with regards this particular method of accessing free English TV. If you read forums or various expat communities you’ll probably hear about how the BBC has blocked VPNs and these remote access methods. Some have even suggested that UK TV in Spain 2018 and particularly the BBC had become impossible ! Well this is definitely not the case but there is some truth behind these statements.
Over the last couple of years the BBC has cracked down on the connections from VPN and IP hiding services. There was probably some worry that the amount of people who were able to watch UK TV abroad free of charge was going to have some impact on their international sales. The result was that loads of these VPN services were either blocked completely or shut down by using legal threats. The majority of these were the super cheap ones which allowed too many connections from the same IP addresses and the companies which used BBC logos and images in their advertising.
Most of the proper VPN security services were completely unaffected and are still working fine with the BBC. There are still literally millions of people enjoying the BBC iPlayer and other UK channels from all over the world. Here’s our recommendation – a VPN which I’ve personally been using for many years now to watch the BBC when I’m outside the UK. It’s called NordVPN and is perfect for watching British TV in the Costa Del Sol or anywhere else in the world.
Click the link below and try them out – there’s no automatic renewals and a 30 day money back guarantee too.