One of the most common concerns of frequent travellers is whilst being abroad, they’ll miss their favourite TV shows and programmes.
However, this does not have to be the case.
You can still watch UK TV abroad, and you can do this on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Some service providers allow you to download content whilst you’re still in the UK, and this can watched through their app whenever you want, wherever you are.
Moreover, now EU roaming charges are no longer a problem, you can use mobile data wherever you are, as long as the TV app you use is not region locked.
So make sure there’s are no caps on your mobile data usage, as that could be problematic.
Is UK TV blocked overseas?
The biggest common problem watching UK TV abroad is most providers region lock the content.
The provider will detect you have a non-UK IP address, and as a result you’ll not be allowed to access the content.
However, there are ways around this.
You can resolve this problem by using a VPN service.
A VPN masks your physical IP address, and replaces it with one from the UK.
Once you connect to a UK VPN server, you’ll be able to watch whatever UK TV you like online, regardless of your location.
BBC iPlayer is a free service for UK TV licence holders and can be watch online or via an an app where you can watch TV programmes broadcast on the BBC over the past seven days.
Some of the most popular TV shows you can watch on BBC includes Eastenders, Holby City, Silent Witness, Call the Midwife, Luther and Dr Who among many others.
If you download and save a programme to your device, you have 30 days to watch it until it expires.
Alternatively, you can stream content live and watch it instantly, although in most cases, if you view live content from overseas it will be IP blocked.
Solution: install a VPN app or manual VPN (Virtual private Network) configuration on your device to mask your actual IP with a UK-based IP. This will then allow you to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.
ITV Hub, formally known as ITV Player, is another live video and on demand streaming service found online.
It allows you to watch a wide variety of programmes from various ITV channels including ITV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, ITVBe, and CITV.
Programmes can be watched within a 30-day period since broadcast on television.
Some of the most popular shows on ITV include Coronation Street, Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor, Emmerdale, Dancing on Ice, Love Island and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
To watch programmes on ITV Hub, you need to register a free account using an active email address that you can verify.
Once activated, you can stream content live or watch your favourite shows from a wide selection in the library.
Like BBC iPlayer however, ITV Hub uses geolocation detection. So any attempts to connect outside the UK without IP masking will be blocked.
Solution: A reliable VPN service should be used to allocate your device a UK-based IP address. This will then allow you to watch all content available on the ITV Hub.
All 4, formerly known as 4OD, is a free service that allows you to watch Channel 4’s shows on your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet.
Like all other services, you need to register first but this is a very straightforward process and only takes a minute or so, once your have fully verified your email address and activated your account.
Once registered, you can download and watch your favourite programmes whenever you wish.
Programmes include a wide range of entertainment and comedy shows, as well as documentaries, such as, Catastrophe, Made in Chelsea, Celebrity Coach Trip and Friday Night Dinner.
All4 is another service that uses geo-detection software, so any attempts to watch it abroad will not be successful.
Solution: Install a UK-based VPN app or configuration on your devices and the entire All4 catalogue will become available to watch.
Demand 5, which is now being branded My5, is Channel 5’s on-demand service.
It allows you to watch TV programmes that are broadcast on the Channel 5 family of channels, which includes Channel 5, 5USA and 5 Star.
The app is available on most smart TVs, as well as smartphones and tablets, allowing you to watch a wide variety of shows at home or on the go.
Simply register a free account and you can watch the past seven days’ shows.
Unlike BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 does not allow you to download shows. Only live streaming is possible and if you attempt to access any live streams oversea, they will be blocked due to geo-IP detection systems built into their service.
Solution: a good quality VPN service will make watching all content on Demand 5 easy. You can get a VPN via an app or a manual configuration. Either way will work fine.
Sky Go is a service exclusively available to all existing Sky TV customers.
With Sky Go you can watch TV shows on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
As a bonus, it can be used in the EU at no extra cost, allowing you to enjoy a wide variety of shows on Sky TV, both live and on demand.
Some of the most popular programmes include A League of Teir Own, Magnum P.I., Chicago Fire, and Tin Star.
In most cases, Sky Go is available as a bolt-on for standard Sky satellite customers however, there are providers out there who can offer just the Sky Go account in isolation.
And just like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and Demand 5, it is geo-locked. So attempts to watch overseas will fail unless you install a VPN system on your devices.
Solution: purchase a standalone Sky Go account if you do not already have one and then, install a top quality VPN service on your devices to unlock content overseas.
BT Sport App
The BT Sport app allows you to download live streaming of your favourite sports programmes and games.
It also includes a catch-up library for those who missed anything and would like to watch it later.
BT Sport app is a godsend for BT sport channels subscribers.
Users are able to watch it all while on the move or on the go, thanks to the app on their smartphone or tablet.
The BT sport app is available solely on BT Broadband packages.
It is free for the first three months and then you need to pay monthly thereafter.
Much like the competition, it is blocked from view outside the UK so you’ll need a VPN to unlock the content.
Solution: purchase a reliable VPN service to unlock the content and enjoy BT Sports abroad.
Netflix is many TV lovers’ favourite when it comes to watching movies as well as TV shows online.
One can stream directly to a smart TV, computer, gaming console, tablet or smartphone.
Many popular TV shows are available on Netflix, and these are updated regularly.
Some include TV series such as Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, The Office and Friends.
A wide range of movies is made available and gets updated on a regular basis too.
These include both recent releases as well as older movies.
With Netflix, you simply need to pay a monthly subscription. Then everything is available for free.
The first month from registration is also free of charge.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video comes with a 30 day free trial period.
Subscribers benefit from thousands of TV shows and movies, unlimited streaming, as well as download and go.
There are also various services you can sign up for, such as music streaming.
It is an interesting package which appeals to many.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network.
And as the name implies, you can access websites more privately and safely when you route your connection through a VPN.
It effectively hides your online activities as everything is encrypted.
Your IP address is replaced with a new one, thus masking your location whilst maximising your privacy and security.
Consequently, you can access sites which might be geo-restricted, such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, 4OD, Demand 5 and Sky Go.
As a result, you can unlock a ton of UK TV content even if you are not located in the UK, whether traveling, living abroad or relocating.
VPN services can be found from various providers including UKTV2GO.
Improved online security
Web data gets protected. Due to peer-to-peer encryption, your privacy and security is assured.
Geo-restrictions are a thing of the past
There is no need to worry anymore about such restrictions as with a VPN, you can access any website, regardless of whether it is geo-blocked or not.
This is perfect especially when you want to watch TV shows and is aren’t based in that particular country.
Download anonymously and safely
Getting access to media files and software via Torrents can thus be done safely.
Safe to Use Public Wi-Fi
Use public internet connections in places such as cafes, bars and libraries more safely.
Reliable VPNs come with a price
Even though there are various free VPN services, a paid subscription is always better and more reliable. Paid VPNs tend to have better connection speeds too.
VPN IP addresses are not unique
This may lead to problems like IP spoofing and, IP address blacklisting. That is why you should opt for a paid VPN subscription.
If you want to unlock UK TV content whilst abroad, you should opt for a reliable VPN service, which will allow you to watch your favourite channels with far less hassles and problems.
If the VPN IP address you’re assigned gets banned by the streaming service, you do not have to worry. It is highly likely the IP will be replaced quickly and seamlessly.
That is why using a reliable VPN service provider makes more sense.
Similar to VPNs, Smart DNS is the technology that enables users to go beyond geo restrictions.
There are many websites that contain content that is regionally restricted, especially online TV streaming services.
Smart DNS re-routes all data through a proxy server which is located in the target country where you want to access online content.
This is done by replacing the DNS address assigned to your network by your ISP. This is all done instantaneously.
Smart DNS Advantages
Unblock geo-locked websites
Just like a VPN, it unlocks geographically restricted content according to the geographical DNS address you are assigned.
Loss of speed is minimalized as your connection is not re-routed like a VPN tunnel.
Smart DNS Disadvantages
Not Secure Like VPNs
Unlike VPNs, smart DNS connections are not encrypted, so your data use can be tracked and monitored. It is not recommended for downloading torrents or copyrighted material. Connections over public Wi-Fi access are also not protected.
Manual Set Up
Most smart DNS configurations are done within a devices system software control panels and not via software. So it takes more technical know-how to get up and running.
IP address Not Hidden
Your actual IP address is never masked so it is easy for host websites and service providers to track where you are located.
Watching TV via a satellite dish is now considered old fashioned and one of the more traditional ways of accessing more TV channels.
The dish-shaped antennas receive all transmitted information via satellite broadcasting, and connect to a receiver in your home which is hooked up to your TV.
You can watch a multitude of TV channels from numerous countries using a satellite dish.
Satellite Dish Advantages
Satellite dished are fairly affordable when considering how many channels you can access.
Television signals via satellite TV are by and large very stable and do not experience buffering issues, like those accessed online.
Satellite Dish Disadvantages
The initial cost if installing satellite TV is fairly high
The installation process is not that straightforward and will involve erecting a dish onto your home, plus cabling and wiring.
Satellite TV signals are never the quality same in every location and may degrade depending where you are. Some parts of southern and Eastern Europe for example, struggle to receive all Sky TV channels.
Big Ugly Dish
For some installations in southern Europe, the dish needs to be considerably large (over 1.5 meters) and for some it is an eye sore sat on the roof or taking up room in the garden or patio area.
Bad weather may cause reception interruptions and degraded picture quality.
Illegal Streaming Sites
It is a known fact that there are a myriad of illegal streaming websites available online.
Accessing these sites allows you to browse through various programmes and movies, and you will then stream your desired show or movie.
Since these kinds of sites are available online, you just need a decent internet connection.
Other than that, you will be able to watch programmes and movies without paying anything. However, it’s not all good news.
While this may seem like the best option for those wanting to save money, there are various pitfalls to consider.
Firstly, use of these sites is illegal and secondly, many are troubled by the countless adverts and pop-ups that obscure your viewing and can be malicious.
Many of the pop-ups showing on these sites can contain Trojan horses, spyware and viruses designed to access and hijack your computer. Use of these sites carries huge risk.
Virus threats are rampant on these kinds of websites as well as phishing.
In an age where ransom ware, data and identity theft is rampant, is it really worth the risk using these sites to save a few pennies?
Nowadays there’s a whole world of devices you can use to watch TV content.
Gone are the days when you were limited to a TV set and nothing else.
Now you can choose from a wide variety of devices according to your convenience, including:
- desktop computers
You may also opt for digital media players or IPTV, also commonly known as a set-top boxes, which receive data through Wi-Fi or a wired connections.
Some of the most popular ones include the Roku player, and the MAG 250/254 boxes.
After considering these various options, we can conclude that unlike a decade or so ago, anyone can choose from a variety of options according to their needs.
Being aware of the various ways to watch UK TV wherever you are will enable you to make a well-informed choice.
It’s important to be aware of the various pros and cons of the numerous options, so as to choose wisely.
While VPN and Smart DNS are more recent options, there are still people who prefer to stick to more traditional methods like set-top boxes and satellite dishes.
Others seem to go for the more affordable option of illegal streaming sites despite the various disadvantages and low quality.
However, regardless of your choice, what is most important is that there is really no limitation or restriction when it comes to enjoying some truly great TV shows wherever you go!