So can you beat this, sitting on a balcony with a view of a Turkish sunset, with my laptop watching the BBC News, a bottle of lager and then an episode of Dr Who.
Let me tell you it certainly beats most Turkish TV, although to be fair I can get one or two English speaking channels now. Doesn't quite compare to the choice here on the BBC Iplayer
So How Can I Watch UK TV Abroad?It's not difficult, but won't happen without you taking some action. If you're outside the UK you may have tried to watch BBC IPlayer and just got blocked.
Anyway there are solutions, in fact there are actually lots of options depending on your circumstances, I'll explain briefly some of the most straight forward.
This first option is actually suitable for UK people who might still have bases in the UK, anyone else better skip a few lines.
UK TV via a SlingboxThe slingbox is a clever little device which you connect to a SKY box in the UK. Say for example you were on holiday for a few weeks, you connect your slingbox to an internet connection and plug the other end in to your Sky Box.
It's not that hard to set up but you obviously need a sky box, and internet connection in UK to connect up the slingbox to. There is a little sensor which you have to attach to the sky receiver and you're ready to go.
Sling Box in Action
Once this is set up you can load up the slingbox software on your computer and you'll see something similar to the illustration here.
You use a digital copy of the Sky remote and you can actually change channels, record and watch your Sky box in a little window on your computer, wherever you are, apparently you can even watch it on your phone.
It works a treat, the main things to consider are below -
- You need a fast Internet connection in the UK - this is important
- The Sky box can only display one channel a so when you change channels if someone is in UK they'll have to watch the same thing
- A decent internet connection to your laptop
It might be the best option for you, the internet connection in the UK is the most important one as the upload speed is essential to watch UK TV. There are companies who will even host a Sky box and a slingbox but it can be quite expensive.
Using Free Proxy ServersThe main problem you'll find accessing any sort of media from outside the country of origin is that is restricted by geolocating. In simple language each web site does a little check to see what country you are in before you start watching. SO if you try to access a UK TV via BBC Iplayer for example you may see this message.
This has looked up my IP address, seen that I am not from the UK and blocked my access.
Sometimes these lookups don't work correctly, lots of French IP addresses don't get blocked for example so it's always worth checking - but for the majority you'll have to find another way.
I should warn people that the free method below does work but it's very time consuming, every time you want to watch the BBC or any other UK TV channel, you'll probably have to find new servers.
Currently you can watch UK TV via the BBC Iplayer and a UK proxy server. Search on the internet for free proxies based in the UK and then go and find where you enter this in your browser. For Internet Explorer you'll find it under tools, internet options,connections, LAN settings - here's the screen.
Just change the settings, restart your browser and then try and connect to BBC Iplayer again, it should work.
As long as you've picked a UK proxy then you should get a picture, in practice it's often quite painful experience as the free proxies can be very slow and you have to find a different one each time you want to watch.
Anyway if you use this method, THIS IS IMPORTANT, remove the proxy settings from your browser before you do anything else, many of these servers steal user names and passwords - so don't log onto your internet banking or any other account until you've removed the proxy.
This option will not work for all UK TV such as ITV and channel 4 or in fact other media sites such as Hulu or most USA media sites. It will work for BBC IPlayer currently. For ITV and all other UK TV sites you'll need what's called a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
Use Identity Cloaker to Watch UK TV
The final option I am going to discuss today is to use a private proxy or VPN services. There are lots of these about with different services and payment options but the one I've chosen I reckon offers the best deal is called Identity Cloaker.
Now there are loads of web sites offering this sort of service but many of them have just rented a server to use as a proxy, all you get is an IP address or some open source software. I chose this program for the following reasons.
- It's not marketed as a UK TV Proxy, these companies routinely get threats from the BBC and other agencies -so run a big risk of being shut down.
- This is a professional program written and supported by a licensed company
- The software sits in your toolbar and is extremely easy to use. You just point and click when you want to connect
- They don't automatically rebill, or charge your credit card when subscription expires.
- The software does much more than most of the UK TV abroad/proxy programs and allows access to servers in countries all over the world (not just UK TV)
- Support and administration is first rate
- Much cheaper than all the other options I looked at
- It has two modes - proxy and a VPN connection.
Basically it's similar to option 2 except you have a program to connect when you like so don't need to change settings and the proxy servers are fast and secure. Don't be worried about them not advertising the UK TV functionality it's well supported but best to be discrete in this area !
The real beauty is that you can also use it to connect via a VPN which lets you connect to ITV and lots of other TV channels, also your subscription pays for lots more proxies all across the globe - you can watch lots of US sites like HULU, NBC and ABC for example - it's best to try the 10 day trial first to make sure it works ok for you, - Watch UK TV Abroad trial
Well whatever option you decide to download TV broadcasts from the UK - good luck. Believe me - you can watch UK TV abroad and feel free to post any experiences or opinions below.
Update - If you want to watch TV on your Ipad - I've put a post on how to use Identity Cloaker here - watching Iplayer on the Ipad abroad