Watch BBC TV Abroad

There is some confusion about how you can watch BBC TV abroad, so in this article we’ll attempt to summarise the current situation.

First of all it is possible in 2017 to be able to watch both the BBC iPlayer and the live stream of BBC programmes online. For the last few years, the BBC has restricted access to all people who try and access their programmes online from outside the United Kingdom.

If you try and visit www.bbc.co.uk whilst outside the UK you’ll actually get redirected to a different site. This is the international version which you can see here –

It’s primarily a news site and if you look at  the top menu bar, you’ll see it’s missing the two key links to enable BBC TV abroad – ‘TV’ and the ‘BBC iPlayer’ one, both these features are not accessible from this International version of the BBC.

If you try and bypass the international site and try and go to the BBC iPlayer or TV  link directly then you can actually visit it.  However as soon as you try and watch anything from the menu, whether it’s an archived programme from the iPlayer site or live TV then you’ll get something like this message.

It’s all linked to your IP address, if it originates in the UK everything works ok, otherwise you’ll get blocked at every turn.    Now originally it was fairly straight-forward to bypass these blocks by hiding your real IP address and routing your connection through a UK based server called a proxy.  These were available online for free (and still are) and could be used to hide your location, although they were rather risky to use.

Unfortunately in 2016, all that changed, the BBC joined most media companies in blocking access to anyone using through simple proxy servers.   Now if you use one of these proxies, it will make no difference you won’t be able to access any of the media functions on the BBC site.

So How Can I Watch BBC TV  Abroad

If we remove proxies from the equation there is now only one viable alternative to provide a secure connection which will allow you access to all the BBC TV features plus any other UK channel. You have to use a VPN server instead of a proxy as these are not detectable by the BBC servers.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and they consist of encrypted tunnels between your computer and a specially configured VPN server.  When you make the initial connection, all traffic is routed through the VPN and thus the only identifiable IP address is that of the server.   It’s similar to the way the proxies used to work but with the advantage that neither your computer or the VPN can be detected. Watch the video for a demonstration –

Unfortunately these servers cost a lot of money to run and support so you won’t find any free VPN services around.  There are a couple of companies who appear to offer this, but beware they finance in other ways including ‘renting’ out your bandwidth while you are using it.  Whilst you are connected to the ‘free service’ your computer is acting as a VPN to the company’s premium subscribers who are effectively surfing the web anonymously through your computer!

The final complication is that this year the BBC have also started blocking lots of these VPN services too.  Although they are not able to detect the VPN directly, they try and block in other ways.  Firstly they  look for large amounts of concurrent connections through the same IP address ranges and block them manually.  The second method is to search online for companies who operate ‘TV watching VPNs’ after identifying they either block or send out legal threats to the companies.  These methods have blocked out  a large proportion of the VPN services too.

It’s sounds complicated but the reality is that the method is still valid, however you have to select a genuine secure VPN.  It should be one run by a company who operate it as a secure service not a cheap TV watching site.  There are still a few that work perfectly and haven’t been affected at all.

Here’s our recommendation –idctrial

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