The Easiest Way to Watch UK TV Anywhere in 2021
Many people dream of moving to the UK, but what if you want to stay in your country? Still, you might miss watching TV on your favorite channels. Fortunately, there are ways for you to watch British TV from anywhere in the world. In this blog post we will discuss how you can do just that!
Watching television is an integral part of British culture. The UK has a wide variety of channels that are available for viewing, but when living abroad it can be difficult to catch all the shows you loved in the past. Luckily, there are a few ways to watch British TV online and enjoy your favorite soap operas or dramas as if you were back home.
HERE’S THE SIMPLE STEPS TO ENJOY BRITISH TELEVISION EVERYWHERE
- Choose a VPN Service with British servers – We Use NordVPN
- Install the Application on Every Device You Need
- Start the Software and Choose a UK Server (it must be a UK one)
- Enjoy the BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub etc just like you would from the UK.
How UK TV Services Block You
One way that UK television providers block access for viewers outside of the country is by geolocation restrictions. This means they only allow residents in a certain geographic area to watch their content online, and you may not be able to get past this hurdle if your IP address isn’t from there. Indeed this is by far the most common measure and everyone of the UK’s TV broadcasters uses this method primarily.
It’s not complicated, every time you visit one of the TV streaming sites like BBC iPlayer your IP address is recorded. They then look up which country this address is registered in, if it’s from the UK then you can proceed. If it’s registered in another country you’ll get blocked from the TV channels and either redirected or just given a sorry message.
The BBC actually has an international version of the site for non-UK visitors but unfortunately this contains no TV channels or programmes at all. It can seem quite difficult to bypass, after all you have no direct control over the public IP address you connect to the internet with. Your ISP or internet provider won’t be allowed to allocate you with an IP address from another country even if it could! Fortunately there is a sort of work around, which millions of us around the world use every single day.
Although it’s virtually impossible to change your public IP address it’s relatively simple to hide your real address and use another one. All you have to do is use something called a VPN before you visit the TV site. When you do this, your real IP address is will be hidden and the site will only see the address of the VPN server. As long as that server is based in the UK then everything will work just fine !
This technique works for all sorts of sites across the world not just the UK TV sites. What’s more if you choose the right VPN service you’re not restricted to just UK servers and sites. The best VPN subscriptions cover multiple countries which you can use whenever you like. Our favorite for watching BBC iPlayer is NordVPN which has servers in 60 different countries we can use at no extra charge.
Best VPNs to watch UK TV abroad
Using a VPN is definitely the simplest way to watch UK television from anywhere in the world. They’re now very simple to use and you can even install the software on all your devices. The best VPN providers like NordVPN have loads servers in the United Kingdom, so you can access BBC iPlayer and other streaming services like ITV Hub, All Four etc. However there’s lots of choice and sometimes this can be a little confusing.
So here’s some points to consider when choosing a VPN to watch UK Television. Be careful of the very cheapest services – there’s lots of variation in price, but many are useless for streaming from the UK TV sites. They charge a low price by overloading their servers which leads to two problems. Firstly the speed will be very slow which can be frustrating when streaming video especially at a high definition. The second issue is that overloaded servers are easy to detect and sites like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub will block the IP addresses from these servers.
It’s because of these blocking techniques that it’s vital your chosen service has lots of UK based servers to use. If all their customers are using the same UK IP addresses then certainly BBC iPlayer and ITV will never work. You should always check whether these services are supported. Most of the best services won’t mention anything on their websites because it makes them obvious targets to get blocked.
How to watch UK TV abroad with a VPN
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it’s entirely understandable that some people are wary of this sort of technology. It sounds complicated, expensive and the sort of thing that hackers would use! However in 2021 you’d be amazed at how many people use VPNs every single day. In fact I know one 85 year old expat living on the Costa Del Sol, Spain who has been using a VPN for nearly ten years to watch the BBC News every night.
You really don’t need to do much more than to choose the country you need then click a button. Well as long as you use one of the VPNs with great client software to make things that easy.
Here’s a quick video where you can see my favorite VPN in practice – NordVPN
That’s all there is to it. As long as you connect to a UK server before visiting sites like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub you should be fine.
What about the UK TV license?
The BBC and BBC iPlayer is of course funded by something called the UK TV license. This is a compulsory license for all those who own a TV to receive live television. Here’s the Wikipedia definition –
In the United Kingdom and the Crown dependencies, any household watching or recording live television transmissions as they are being broadcast (terrestrial, satellite, cable, or Internet) is required to hold a television licence. Businesses, hospitals, schools and a range of other organisations are also required to hold television licences to watch and record live TV broadcasts.
It’s actually quite strongly enforced if you live in the UK with detector vans and enforcement teams. It’s not strictly required to watch archive programmes from the web but this can be a little bit of a grey area. For those of us watching abroad there’s a bit of a dilemma as you can’t actually buy a UK TV license outside the UK anyway!
In practice there’s no check on any of the commercial UK TV channels like ITV Hub, Channel 4 and 5 etc. On the BBC iPlayer you will be asked if you have a valid UK TV license before watching any live programme. There is however no check at all on this – you basically answer yes (everything works) or no(it doesn’t) ! So it’s no real problem to get free UK TV from where you are. Don’t worry you’re not alone, literally millions of people across the world watch the BBC every day and have been for years.
How can I watch Britbox while abroad?
If you want to stay completely legitimate, then there may be another option depending on your location. Britbox is a collaboration between the UK TV channels to provide a British streaming service. It’s pretty good and the subscription is available in the UK, Canada, USA and Australia. You can subscribe and watch from any of these countries although the content will vary slightly depending on where you are.
It’s packed full of archived shows and some of the best UK TV from the last few decades. It’s probably better for older people who want to enjoy the shows they remember but many younger people love it too. It does cost a similar amount to a VPN subscription so it may be preferable to some. It doesn’t offer live streams though and you won’t be able to watch things like the News or Match of the Day. It’s much more suitable for grabbing an old box set to enjoy rather than a live Tv experience.
You can use a VPN to access Britbox outside those countries but unfortunately you’ll need a means of payment based in that country too.
Watch UK TV Abroad FAQ
You’ll find all sorts of information about using VPNs, Proxies and other methods to watch British TV on this site. We’ve been using these programs for over 15 years now and they’re still working today. Over the years some methods and plenty of VPN services have been blocked but ultimately it’s still quite easy to enjoy British Television from anywhere in the world. You will hear plenty of stuff online about VPNs not working with BBC anymore, but please be assured it’s not all of them.
The usual problem is when VPN providers get too greedy and don’t monitor the numbers using each of their British servers. They always get blocked when this happens, which is where the stories come from. NordVPN has a good track record of maintaining access to BBC, ITV and the other channels. However for best results you should try and use the servers they optimize for this access (see below).
These are the best Nord VPN servers to use for BBC access.
UK# 1840-1847, 1850-1863, 1865, 1869, 1873, 1875-1878, 1880-1881, 1900-1901, 1903-1904, 1911, 1913, 1917, 1919-1920.
If you have any questions, please add a comment and we’ll try and answer them.