Frustrated that you can’t enjoy British TV? Get annoyed that the awesome BBC iPlayer is not accessible from outside the United Kingdom? Plus all the other great sites like ITV Hub and Channel 4’s online archive. It’s seems crazy but it’s true, although the internet is supposed to open doors, as far as online TV goes we are increasingly being restricted and locked down.
It’s puzzling !!!
Just about every major media broadcaster has done the same – restricted their content to the domestic market. So all the major US stations are only accessible from the US, French stations like M6 replay can only be viewed in France and so on….. There’s actually hundreds and in fact other major sites are starting to operate the same restrictions – I can’t use my bookmaker’s site when on holiday for some strange reason either.
Fortunately There’s a Solution – a way to bypass all these restrictions and watch whatever you want irrespective of where you are.
There’s a technology and you’ve probably heard them mentioned especially in expat communities and forums – proxy servers. A simple method of hiding your location so that you can fool all these websites and their blocks. It’s perfectly safe and in fact literally millions of people use them every single day for a variety of reasons.
Using a Proxy Server to Access the Beebs Iplayer !
So what exactly is a proxy server and why do you need one to watch a media site like the BBC iPlayer? Well specifically it’s all really down to IP addresses and how they are locked into specific locations. This is only relevant if you’re based outside the UK, you only need a BBC iPlayer proxy to watch from abroad.
The reality is that although most web sites used to be open to anyone who happens to be online, irrespective of their physical location – that is no longer the case. More and more web sites are locking down their content to protect their markets and licensing. Usually this is locked down to a specific country or region.
It’s why if you’re in Canada you can not access lots of sites based in the USA, whereas in Dublin people find that even BBC iPlayer Ireland doesn’t work even though it’s a few miles away. The websites do this by looking at the origin of your IP address when you connect to their web site.
So here’s a short list of some big, online media sites and what addresses you need to access them.
- Hulu – US Address
- BBC – UK Address
- Pandora – US Address
- ABC – US Address
- CTV – Canadian Address
- RTE – Irish Address
- M6 Replay – French Address
It’s particularly annoying when you’re travelling, I can’t watch the news on the BBC if I happen to be in a Paris airport for example. This is because my location will normally define what nationality my IP address is, connecting through a French Wifi network in the Charles De Gaulle Airport will obviously give me a French address!
So if I switch to Hulu to relieve the boredom, and try and watch Family Guy, I get this –
The list goes on, if you live in a country where the Government joins in and blocks stuff it’s even worse.
The BBC iPlayer Proxy in Action!
But of course this is the internet, the place where workarounds, cheats and hacks abound so it didn’t take long for someone to figure out a way of accessing these sites wherever you happened to be. The solution centered around proxy and VPN servers and they work surprisingly well and have done for many years. It should be noted that now, 99% of proxies no longer work with the BBC so unfortunately if you try any free UK proxy site they’ll no longer work. A few years ago there was lots of choice ranging from free applications like foxy proxy to the hola firefox extension which you could use for nothing. None of these work anymore, you need the next level which cannot be detected.
The VPN/SSH systems work in a similar way to the proxies except they cannot be detected and blocked like a free UK proxy server.
These are servers which sit in between your connection and the website you are trying to access. They’re very common and simply forward request from your computer whilst hiding your real location – making watching BBC Iplayer in the USA a reality. So if you connect through a UK server, then you’ll appear to have a UK IP address and can access all the major UK TV stations without a problem.
The same goes for the channels like NBC and Pandora – simply connect through a US based computer and you can access these as well. In fact if you have access to a selection of these servers across the world then you can use whatever website you wish wherever you happen to be.
This was a huge gap in the market and one that many commercial services have leaped to supply. If you look around the internet you’d find hundreds of Watch UK TV, VPN and proxy companies offering their services. The majority work in a similar way allowing you to shield your real IP address when you need to.
Beware though these companies come and go very quickly – often disappearing without trace over night. The ones to be careful of are those ‘ Watch TV proxy services‘ that you can find – they are routinely targeted by the entertainment companies and shut down very quickly. The BBC has cracked down on most of these so they no longer work, it also meant that the BBC iPlayer proxy free options are now all gone too.
A far better option is to use one of the security software companies, who generally have a much better network and faster infrastructure. The best ones have software that can sit in your taskbar allowing you to hide your real address whenever you need it.
My recommendation is a program called Identity Cloaker whose software is easy to use and offers access to servers in lots of different countries (including USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and quite a few more). With a click of a button you can change your address to a BBC iPlayer proxy, or an IP address in any country you require.
Their trial offer is here – Identity Cloaker