UK TV is home to some of the greatest programs. There are 27,000 hours of domestic content produced a year at a cost of approximately £2.6 billion. Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Bodyguard, Coronation Street, and Sherlock are just some of the shows that made people fall in love with British television. Add the most entertaining sports to the equation, and you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen. However, watching UK TV outside the United Kingdom can be quite tricky.
Most channels like BBC, Sky, ITV, and BT Sport are only available within Her Majesty’s territories. But that doesn’t mean you can’t sneak your way in if you’re overseas. Below, I’m going to show you a couple of ways to bypass geo-restrictions and stream UK TV wherever you are. Let’s go.
Your Location Dictates Your Access
Before we head over to the solution part, don’t you want to know what’s causing the problem first? The first time I encountered the problem I thought that my phone was malfunctioning. I kept on restarting the thing until I figured out what’s going on.
In case your wondering, it’s your IP address that’s helping those services pinpoint your location. You see, each device has a unique public IP that acts as a GPS for the platform. But the question is, why do they need to determine your whereabouts? You can thank licensing regulations and copyright laws for that. That’s why services limit their content to a specific region. As for what happens if you’re abroad, here’s what some of the UK channels will greet you with:
- ITV: We’ve detected that you’re outside the UK. The ITV Hub is only available for viewing in the UK.”
- BBC iPlayer: “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”
- My5: “We’re sorry but you must be located in the British Isles to view this content.”
- Sky Go: “Sky Go is only available to users connecting from within the UK or Republic Of Ireland, unfortunately, we cannot confirm that you are within these territories at the moment. Please retry later.”
These “geo-error” messages will pop up as soon as you try to stream the channels while overseas. But don’t fret. You’ll be watching UK TV channels no matter where you once you’re done with this guide.
UK TV Going Global
One of the biggest downsides of being an expat is to get blocked by your local channels. This can be really irritating if you’re trying to watch the latest episode of your favorite TV shows.
As I mentioned above, your IP address reveals your location to web hosts. If streaming channels see that you are not within the coverage range, they will block you. And that’s where the VPN steps in.
Short for Virtual Private Network, this cybersecurity tool has the ability to alter your current whereabouts and place you in a region of your choosing. That, of course, depends on the server you connect to.
The moment you hit connect, your traffic will be redirected through that server, granting you an IP address in that district. In your case, you’ll need a UK server to obtain a British IP address. Consequently, you’ll be able to stream/access and UK-based service despite being physically abroad.
To access UK channels abroad, you need to do the following:
- Choose a reputable VPN service and sign up. Speaking from experience, ExpressVPN is credible enough for the job.
- VPNs are compatible with a handful of devices, download their application straight from your App Store.
- Now, head over to the server list and navigate till you find a UK one.
- Hit connect and wait a few seconds for the connection to take place.
- After that, visit our IP Verifier to check if you were granted a British IP.
- Watch your favorite UK programs no matter where you are on the map.
Too Many VPN Options?
Picking the best VPN for the process can be a bit daunting, I know. However, it won’t be a hard task if there’s someone guiding you through it (hint: Me). I’ve reviewed a lot of VPNs throughout the years, but only a few of them stood out.
ExpressVPNExpressVPN ranks high among VPN providers thanks to its high-quality features. With an ExpressVPN subscription, you’ll get access to more than 3000 servers across 94 countries. Not to mention its wide platform support.
I’m not just talking about the native ones such as Android, iOS, PC, or Mac. Add PlayStation, Xbox, Roku, Apple TV, and Smart TVs to the mix thanks to its Smart DNS service. Oh, did I mention that they have VPN browser extensions for Chrome and Mozilla as well?
When a user sees how much ExpressVPN can offer, they tend to think it’s hard to use. Well, no, this functionality shouldn’t be intimidating all thanks to their simple application. It’s a (click and connect) process, that’s all. If there’s anything you need, you can either check their detailed guides or ask their 24/7 live-chat support for aid.
Want more good news? Well, we didn’t mention how it’s going to protect your privacy. ExpressVPN delivers in almost every angle. Anonymous payments? Bitcoin is available. Maximum privacy? Military-grade encryption, kill switch, DNS Leak Protection, and one strict no-log policy.
- Huge server network.
- keeps no logs.
- AES 256-bit encryption.
- Blazing fast servers.
- Five concurrent connections.
- Cash-back guarantee (30 days).
- Torrenting and P2P support.
- Credible 24/7 live chat support
- A bit pricey.
If you find a VPN provider that claims to be one of the best VPNs in the world, it’s IPVanish. Honestly, I don’t quite agree with that, but it still boasts a lot of impressive features.
IPVanish comes with a big server network as well, which consists of more than 1200 servers in 60 countries. That means you can tap into restricted channels using more than 40000 shared IP addresses.
When it comes to connection, this one tops ExpressVPN. Double the simultaneous connections that of Express, it’s ten. If you run into trouble setting up a VPN connection, you can always contact their 24/7 customer support. And still, if the service does not meet your expectations, you can always invoke your 7-day refund policy.
The application is very powerful. That’s good and bad depending on what type of user are you. It can be very difficult to navigate if you’re not that tech-savvy. If they make a lite version for those who are not that familiar with technology, it will rank them even higher.
IPVanish’s servers were always up and their download speeds were above average, but the problem is that it cannot unblock Netflix as the other competitors do.
- 1000+ servers in sixty countries.
- Zero-traffic logging.
- AES 256-bit encryption.
- Quite reliable speeds.
- Ten simultaneous connections.
- Torrenting and P2P support.
- Live-chat support
- Can’t unblock Netflix
- Based in the US
With NordVPN, you get to choose from more than 5000 servers across sixty countries. The best thing about NordVPN is that it ranks among the best due to its efficiency and high-quality service.
When we speak of streaming UK television, NordVPN has decent speeds for HD streaming. There’s also a fast, smart DNS-like SmartPlay feature. If a VPN encryption is tampering with your speed, you can use this feature to bypass regional restrictions with minimal speed loss.
You get to access your local channels as well. However, you’ll be losing a VPN’s added security in the process.
It’s by far the most secure VPNs I’ve come across. Let me show you why:
- First, it has a kill switch to terminate your connection if a sudden VPN network drop occurs.
- Second, it uses CyberSec technology to shield your device from being infected by any malware, virus, or malicious software.
- Third, NordVPN offers a double encryption feature. This will help you reroute your traffic through two separate servers at the same time. Therefore, your connection gets encrypted not once, but twice, adding an extra layer of protection to the already present one.
- And finally, NordVPN doesn’t keep logs of its customers, which is a crucial part of a VPN’s deal.
That’s not all, NordVPN allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, which means that you and five other members can benefit from one solid 2048-bit encryption and other NordVPN features.
The brand is also an official partner of Liverpool FC, meaning it has a strong presence in the UK.
- 5000+ servers in sixty countries.
- No-log policy.
- 2048-bit encryption.
- Double VPN.
- Six simultaneous connections.
- Torrenting and P2P support.
- Award Winning Live-chat support
- Some slow servers
- Questionable free trial
Stream UK TV Channels with Smart DNS Proxies
Smart DNS proxies share a few similarities with VPNs. They can spoof your location as well by redirecting the URLs that give away your position.
Smart DNS Proxies, have both advantages and disadvantages. However, if you’re a constant streamer who’s not doing anything illegal online, they’re your perfect solution. First, Smart DNS does not include encryptions, which means that you won’t be protected along the way. But on the bright side, you won’t suffer from speed loss.
Second, the service doesn’t change your IP address to operate. It only reroutes chunks of it to give the restricted channel what it wants. As a result, you get to navigate between the restricted channels and your local ones simultaneously.
I’ve mentioned a couple of VPNs above that also offer Smart DNS. But let’s not forget about the Danish-based once pure VPN service, Unlocator.
As for how to set it up, just follow the below steps:
- Unlocator offers a 7-day free trial (No credit card needed). Create an account with the provider.
- Unlocator unblocks more than 233 channels around the world. Make sure that your service is listed on their website.
- Set up Smart DNS on the device you want to use. You’ll find setups on Unlocator’s website based on the platform you’re operating.
- Stream any UK-restricted channel or show anywhere.
Note: VPNs are compatible with limited types of devices, which include iOS, PC, Mac, Android, and FireStick. However, with Smart DNS, you get to bypass regional restrictions on other devices including Smart TVs, PlayStation, Xbox, Chromecast, and Apple TV. So, go ahead, give it a test drive using their 7-day free trial.
What Am I Getting in Return?
UK Television is one of the most popular ones in the world. It started in 1936 and has grown so much ever since. In total there were over 460 TV channels available in the UK as of December 2018.
As I mentioned before, the channels have millions of viewers in the UK only. For example, by the end of 2018, BBC 1 had a reach of approximately 56 million viewers. Oh, since you’re an expat or someone who wants UK TV, you probably don’t know which ones to check. Let me help you out with that:
- Channel 5
- Channel 4
- Eleven Sports
- Sky Go
- BBC iPlayer
- UK Prime Videos
- Netflix UK
- Now TV
How to Stream UK TV Channels Anywhere – Conclusion
UK television offers some of the best programs in the world of entertainment and sports. It’s easy to see why expats and TV lovers are so fond of it. Therefore, you don’t have to abide by the strict and unfair rules of internet censorship. Just subscribe to a VPN or Smart DNS proxy service to unblock UK TV channels and watch whatever you want, wherever you want.