BBC iPlayer Abroad Blocked

There seems to be a permanent battle between the big media companies and the many VPN/proxy companies who allow people to bypass the region locking they operate.  For example, although technically you’ll find that the BBC iPlayer abroad is blocked – in reality a huge proportion of their viewers watch from outside the UK.  The BBC has been half heartedly restricting access to their online services for many years.  In fact they estimated themselves that over 60 million people were watching the BBC from outside the UK in 2015.  However there was never any real attempt to reduce the millions of people who had access from across the world.    For instance, the technology has been available to detect and block simple proxies for many years but the BBC has never implemented this on their servers previously.

This changed last year when the BBC upped their game in restricting access to non-UK based individuals.  First went the proxies, instantly the cheapest method of accessing the BBC iPlayer abroad by using a simple proxy server disappeared.  They introduced the technology to detect and block access from proxies automatically, something that the likes of Hulu and Netflix had been doing for several years.    The next stage was tackling the more advanced VPN/SSH services which are much more difficult to detect.   Blocking these is more difficult, usually involving identifying IP address ranges which are supporting multiple connections and then restricting access individually.

The final method was to target the companies directly, so any VPN service which advertised accessing the BBC from abroad would be contacted by the BBC legal department.   Most would close down their services rather than risk legal action, plus many were given notice by the datacenter companies who hosted these servers for similar reasons.   A huge number of the overt VPN companies ended up being blocked by one of these methods – some have estimated that up to 90% of VPN providers no longer have access to the BBC UK servers.  Check out expat forums and you’ll see loads of posts about my BBC iplayer VPN not working any more.

BBC iPlayer Abroad

Fortunately there is hope, a large section of the VPN companies were able to avoid these blocks.   Here’s what you need to look out for to identify a VPN service which does work for accessing the BBC iPlayer abroad.

  • Low Key – make sure the service you use doesn’t mention the BBC directly or use any of it’s logos in advertising.
  • VPN/Security Service – all the surviving companies are primarily security services selling their VPN as privacy and security programs.
  • Multiple Countries and Servers – the ability to swap through ranges of IP addresses is crucial, this ensures the BBC cannot blacklist their servers individually.

It’s unclear whether the BBC will continue to escalate these restrictions, certainly it made a huge effort during 2016.   However there are signs that this is not going to be maintained completely. Certainly it looks like the game is up for proxies, the BBC was the last major media company to allow these and that looks unlikely to be rolled back.  However most of the remaining VPN providers have the ability to switch out their IP address ranges very easily so it’s difficult to maintain a complete block on these.  Certainly companies like Hulu have tried for years and failed to restrict them completely.

So here’s my favorite service in operation to watch British tv :

And here is how it ended a week ago, and the new pack was not delivered on time getstrattera.com and we were 3 days without Strattera - on the second day all the hysterics returned at once, so I noticed right away. And then they started taking it again - and again everything is fine. And from side effects - only drowsiness - sleeps 2 hours after school so to me it very much is pleasant!

There are other options which the BBC could do to enforce their UK only viewing strategy. For instance, implementing some sort of login system based on purchasing a TV license could be a possibility.    There was also a BBC iplayer USA subscription at one point which may perhaps be recreated.  Lots of companies in Canada and the US require a cable reference number before you can watch online for example.  This would be a huge undertaking for the BBC however one it was likely to implement before Brexit.  The European Union is trying to establish a single digital market where digital goods can be sold equally across the EU.  This would technically would also incorporate services like watching the BBC online outside the UK.   It’s unclear how the UK’s leaving the European Union will affect this situation though.

So we should be ok with a decent quality VPN for the time being, there are always some reports including recently that Sky Go blocking VPN programs.  However the best quality ones have been working for many years, I’ve been using Identity Cloaker for nearly a decade now to access the BBC iPlayer app from all over the world.   It also works for all the other UK TV stations aswell, although I just watch ITV player abroad and the BBC mainly.

At the time of writing, . is still working perfectly with the BBC iPlayer abroad and in fact all the major media sites.

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How to Watch UK TV Online in Europe

For many years the UK media companies have been at the forefront of online broadcasting. Currently all the major terrestrial channels have large online presences and most of them broadcast the majority of their content through the web.    The first version of the BBC iPlayer was released in 2005 when it was originally known as the Integrated Media Player however it has had several other name changes over the last decade too. Now the majority of programmes are available to stream for several weeks, you can watch most content live and even download to your device to watch offline.

How to Watch UK TV Online in Europe

Unfortunately one of the main drawbacks of the BBC iPlayer (although this is by design) is that it cannot be accessed from anywhere outside the UK.  So if you want to watch UK TV online, then the only place is by logging in from the United Kingdom.  Fortunately there is a way around this and it’s a method used by millions of people across the world.

How to Watch UK TV Online in Europe or Anywhere

The block that is enforced by the BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and all the other UK television channels is based on your IP address. Every time you connect to the internet, you are assigned a unique network address called an Internet protocol address. These addresses are assigned to the device you are connecting with from wherever you are connecting from. So if you connect from Paris you’ll get a French address, from Barcelona a Spanish address and so on. Only a UK address will allow you access to the online streaming of the UK Television channels, you can’t even access the BBC iPlayer in Ireland across the water.

Therefore the solution is to ensure that you have a UK IP address before you connect to the BBC iPlayer or any UK TV website. Which is much easier to do than you would think. Now it’s impossible to change your real IP address, but what you can do is relay your connection through a server which does have a UK IP address. You can do this by connecting through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) server and you can see a demonstration of this in the following video:

As you can see, as soon as you connect through a UK based server then all the functionality of the BBC website will be available. You can stream programmes live, download them and watch them from the iPlayer archive for a selected period.    You can even connect through to a VPN from mobile devices and watch UK TV abroad on iPad or your phone. The BBC site can only see the IP address of the VPN server and thus your own location is irrelevant – you could be anywhere in Europe, USA, Africa or the Far East and it will all work perfectly.

The BBC and the other UK television companies have obviously tried to stop this VPN workaround with some success. During the last year or so, they BBC in particular have attempted to block many of these inbound VPN connections in order to stop people streaming outside the UK. The problem they have is that a well configured VPN connection is almost impossible to detect and obviously popular as they allow you to watch UK TV free of charge. They have blocked many however by analyzing IP addresses with many concurrent connections and identifying companies who advertise this workaround on their websites.

The result is a partial block, most of the gimmicky TV watching VPN connections no longer work. However there are still quite a few security companies who run these VPN services more discretely. They also have the infrastructure with many IP addresses and the ability to switch load between them to avoid detection.

So that’s all you need to do to watch UK TV online in Europe or anywhere else in the world. You can enjoy British TV online anywhere by just using a VPN connection service to conceal your location. It’s not illegal, or breaching copyright as European rules state that streaming media is not the same as buying or downloading it. Needless to say the BBC don’t like the idea of a people being able to watch BBC iPlayer abroad free when they could be buying all these programs and downloading them. However it’s impossible to block the well configured services completely so if you choose a decent secure one like IDC then you’ll be fine and it will always be available to watch.

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British TV for Expats

Of course, people leave their home countries for all sorts of reasons – work, families, quality of life or even just the weather.  However there is always something that the expat will miss about their home country and for the British expat it almost always includes UK Television.  You see we can sit and moan about adverts and repeats but in both cases the television stations in the UK are way better that in most other countries.  Sometimes you have to go without the BBC to appreciate just how incredible it is, both in quality and diversity of content (and of course no advertising whatsoever).

So do people have to just do without, or is there an option to get British TV for Expats so are there ways to watch the UK channels abroad?   Well there are a few options, which we will explain here.

British TV for Expats

These are probably the most popular although there a couple of alternatives which depend on you specific location, generally these are what most people do.

  • Option 1: Using the Internet to view Online via a Proxy or VPN
  • Option 2: Using a hardware device like a Slingbox
  • Option 3: Installing Kodi on a media streamer or computer.

Now not all these options are feasible for everyone. For example the Slingbox is a clever little device which you can buy for about £100 – here’s one on Amazon.

British TV for Expats

However it works by being connected directly to a Sky Satellite box in the UK. So basically it worked well for people who were simply travelling or away from home. The device also needed an internet connection as well to transmit the Sky broadcast across the internet. Don’t get me wrong, if you had a working Sky box to use and a fast internet connection (upload speed) then it works brilliantly and gave you full access to whatever your Sky subscription included. The only other drawback is that it actually controls the physical box therefore you change the channel for anyone watching the same box.

Unfortunately most people don’t have access to this sort of setup especially ex-pats who’ve moved abroad permanently, and even if they did it’s quite an expensive solution.  The truth is that there is no simple expat tv box that you can just stick in your suitcase and use.

Kodi is another option to try an utilize all the free streaming sites and pirate broadcasters across the internet. Again it’s a decent option especially if you install on one of the new generation android media streamers. The drawbacks are that you have to be careful as these streams can be traced back although if you’re abroad you should be pretty safe from legal implications. The second and major one in my eyes is that the streams are often slow and unreliable, they’re guaranteed to be at their worse when you really want to watch something.

The safer way to use Kodi is to try it over a VPN solution which will hide your true location. However if you invest in a decent VPN solution this extra layer is not really necessary for much of the UK television programmes as it’s all available online. Every single UK broadcaster has an online presence which allows access to 95% of their content. Indeed some of the BBC’s programmes are only available online through the BBC iPlayer.  Kodi is useful, but be prepared to spend a lot of your time tweaking, updating and fiddling with various settings to get it to work properly.

Personally, I just want to be able to watch the BBC News every night, catch the latest documentaries, enjoy a thriller or so and of course Match of the Day on a Saturday – without hassle and messing around with technology every evening.

Using a VPN you can either download to watch offline or stream directly from the various websites. The VPN server must be based in the UK for this method to work properly though, just watch this video for a brief introduction:

The video demonstrates using a UK based VPN to watch the ITV hub. By hiding your real IP address you can watch any of the UK based TV stations and use all their features. For many having access to the BBC is more than enough but the all the other channels work too although you will need a subscription to access things like Sky Go and Netflix from abroad.

You may have heard that many of the VPN services and proxies no longer work especially with the BBC.  It is true that the BBC blocked hundreds of these services over the course of 2016 and early 2017.  The main casualties were the services that marketed themselves as tools for expat TV uk watching – the survivors were the genuine security programs which could be used in exactly the same way.

Out of these security programs that still actually work for British TV for Expats, then can we suggest trying out – IDC, it’s been working with the BBC iPlayer for nearly ten years now and still works perfectly well.

 

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BBC Live VPN – Watch UK TV from Abroad

Over the years, the BBC website has developed to an incredible extent. In fact it’s one of the most popular sites on the internet and receives millions of visit every single day. As far as TV broadcasters sites go, it’s without doubt a world leader with an incredible depth of content and services – all completely unsullied by internet advertising too.

In fact the only drawback, is that the real BBC website is normally inaccessible from outside the United Kingdom even if you are a license fee payer. Yet fear not, there is an answer a way of having full access to the BBC wherever you are – it’s called a BBC Live VPN.

Now there are in fact two BBC websites, an international version and a domestic version. The international site is a decent enough news site with a world focus, but it’s nowhere near as good as the domestic site. The UK BBC website has live TV of all it’s channels, all the radio stations (national plus regional variations) plus one of the biggest media archives on the planet – the BBC iPlayer.

BBC live vpn

Live TV on the BBC Site

It’s no exaggeration to say that the BBC website is capable of supplying all the news, entertainment and information that anyone would need. The array of news, drama, documentaries, comedies and current affairs programmes is incredible – all available for nothing and free of advertising breaks. Which is why there’s a whole industry sprung up to allow people to access the domestic site from anywhere in the world using something called a VPN.

Using a BBC Live VPN

Although it sounds difficult, using a VPN to access the BBC is quite simple – my eighty year old mother uses one all the time! It’s simply a method of connecting through an intermediate server in order to hide your real location. If the VPN server is based in the UK then you will appear to be in the UK too. So when you visit the BBC through a VPN then you will have full access instead of being redirected or blocked.

Here’s a very simple demonstration of a VPN service being used to access the BBC from abroad.

When your computer is connected to the VPN it’s real location is invisible, all the BBC website can see is the VPN server.   In fact you can use the BBC iPlayer VPN workaround on sites in other countries too, try the US or Canadian TV stations. There are some hidden gems like the RTE TV from Ireland which has some great documentaries and dramas. Often you can find sporting coverage from different countries too, although watching the Premiership on US TV and hearing the word ‘soccer’ all the time can be slightly distracting!

Beware though, the BBC has recently conducted a crackdown on these methods and some of the simplest VPN services have been blocked.    The good news is that although the BBC iplayer blocking VPN services quite extensively completely blocking them is quite difficult and the best VPN systems still work.  If you’re having problems with iPlayer not working it’s best to simply switch VPN providers.

Don’t be put off by all these reports that state that BBC iplayer VPN not working anymore, it’s not completely true.   There’s plenty that still work but stay away from those that use the BBC logo or copyrighted material on their website, they won’t last long.

The software demonstrated is a BBC Live VPN called Identity Cloaker and just sits in your taskbar until you need it. You can also use your account on other devices like tablets, smartphones and iPads by connecting manually (instructions in the members area). No restrictions on downloads and you can use on a number of different devices at the same time.

To give you an example of how I personally use it –

  • Installed on my Laptop for browsing and Using all UK only sites but mainly BBC, ITV Hub and Channel 4
  • Installed on my iPad for UK websites especially Amazon and BBC.
  • Installed on my iPhone primarily to access BBC radio, mainly Test Match Special abroad and the Local news broadcasts.

It’s very simple to use, but it’s always best to try out the short trial first to see how it works.  You’ll be impressed and remember it enables all the other UK channels too like ITV, Channel 4 and 5. Even use it to watch Sky Go abroad and UK Netflix, although you’ll need subscriptions to those.

Try it here – IDC

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UK TV VPN Free Trial

There are two main reasons that a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service is an essential tool for anyone who uses the internet extensively.  Have a read and at the bottom you’ll find a link to UK TV VPN free trial to try out with a professional VPN provider.

The first is privacy, without using some security software to protect yourself online then you have none.  Did you know that if you use the internet at home, there’s a complete list of every website you visit, every movie you watch and every file you download?  This log is stored at your Internet Service Provider and is coveted by all sorts of organisations from the Government to marketing companies.  Obviously how easy is is to access this information depends on where you live, in the UK for example the government is ensuring it has easy access to this information (see Snoopers Charter).

UK TV VPN Free Trial

The other is more of a confidentiality issue which is particularly relevant if you use various access points for your internet access is security of your data.  You see there’s little inherent security in any normal web transaction.  Using HTTPS offers some but that can be circumvented if someone intercepts the connection.  Accessing things like online banking, webmail or even making purchases/paying bills is very risky using someone else’s connection.   Using a VPN provider service for these transactions ensures even if the connection is insecure then your data is not.

The second reason is because of something called region locking.  This is the practice of controlling access to websites based on your location, something that is becoming increasingly common.   It is the reason you can’t watch the BBC outside the UK, your Hulu account doesn’t work outside the USA and why RTE player is blocked outside Ireland.  This is all down to region locking, a technology that controls and filters your access depending on your physical location. If you ever find your access blocked to a video, media site or download then this will probably be the reason.

A VPN bypasses these blocks and is the reason why as we speak literally millions of people across the world are able to watch British TV like the BBC iPlayer.  They are using a UK TV VPN to hide their real location, a practice that works with all the major websites that do this. Typically every media site like Netflix and BBC, gambling sites, YouTube videos or social media pages.   These people used to use something called a proxy for BBC but unfortunately these no longer work. There is another technology which can also still work called smart dns, which you’ll often find available in the trial account, listed below.

Most of the best VPN services now offer a range of servers spread across the world all included in their service.    They are simple to use as well, most having straight forward VPN client software to manage the connection.  This means you have the ability to switch your connection through whichever country you need using a static IP for that country.  Switch to the US for Hulu or American Netflix then choose a UK VPN details for the BBC or any British TV online , your actual location is irrelevant.  This control offers many further advantages too, for example the English Premiership is broadcast for free on Indian TV.  Select an Indian VPN and watch it there, although the commentary may be difficult to follow for an English speaker.

That’s Great – Any Chance of a Free UK TV VPN Trial

So that’s it, a global VPN protects your privacy and allows you to surf whichever web sites you wish.   If you use the internet a lot from home, or have ever found yourself locked out of some website then it’s worth considering try out a vpn with free trial access and see how it works.

Now there’s been something of a purge against these Virtual Private network services especially from the main UK and US media companies. They have no way to detect automatically but have manually blocked lots of address ranges which include a VPN server.  Many have found their whole UK ip address lists blocked by companies like the BBC meaning they simply won’t work when you try and connect.

The safest, fastest and most reliable are the dedicated security services like Identity Cloaker which is certainly one of the best paid vpn services.  However there are a few others that still work for the major UK channels like the BBC, you can even watch Sky Go abroad if you have a SKY subscription.

Beware of the very cheap VPN services especially if you want to use them to watch any sort of online media.  The reality is that all data is streamed through a VPN connection and a slow server will make video unwatchable.   Speed is essential for any of these services, especially if you’re connecting to remote servers a long distance away from you.

For those who have read to the bottom we have a suggestion – try out this free trial of a UK VPN.

Click This Link to try Out a UK TV VPN Service  – Amazon

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BBC News Streaming Abroad

For many people there is only one definitive online source of news and that’s the BBC.  Although it’s often criticised for media  bias, in reality the BBC is one of the few genuine news channels which doesn’t have a political agenda.   After the latest updates to the BBC News online section, the available news coverage on the internet has improved greatly.

You can still watch the BBC News broadcasts live through the ‘TV’ tab including the BBC1 broadcast and the dedicated news channel.  However if you miss this, the various broadcasts stay up for 24 hours before they are deleted.  This means that you have until 1pm the next day to watch a specific lunchtime news broadcast.   The main BBC News channel is available here – BBC News Channel and from here you get links to the TV pages where you can stream live and the iPlayer where old news broadcasts are archived.

BBC News Streaming Abroad

In addition to the main BBC News channels, there are over 50 regional stations which cover local news issues from different regions of the United Kingdom.  You can customize this option by specifying a region in the bottom left corner of the BBC Live TV page – like this:

If you change your location here, then you’ll get the corresponding local News station.  This is also useful for people who get the wrong local version of the news broadcast through the position of their aerial.   Many media boxes now have the facility to watch BBC iPlayer too so this is a further option for people who wish to change their preferred local news.

The BBC is introducing mandatory login on the site in the next few months so your regional preferences will be stored in this account too.

How to Watch BBC News Streaming Abroad

Of course, all these options are not available if you connect from outside the UK.  You’ll be redirected to the ‘International version’ of the site which contains none of the live streaming or archived programmes simply static content.  there are a few snippets on the BBC news live video section on Youtube, but no regular news.  The BBC site determines your location based on your IP address which it checks when you visit the site, your options are then restricted if this address is based outside the United Kingdom.

The solution is quite straight forward in order to get full access to all the BBC channels and to allow BBC News streaming abroad then you need to hide your true location.  There used to be a few different options for doing this but over the years many of these have disappeared.   For example you used to be able to find a free UK proxy online and use that to hide your location.

Nowadays you’ll need to get a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service which has a UK based server in order to watch the BBC live stream and archived programmes.   If you enable this connection before you visit the BBC site then you’ll be treated as a UK based surfer with full access to the site including iPlayer.  This is because the BBC will see the IP address of the server and not your real one, as long as the VPN server is based in the UK then it will work perfectly.

It will also enable all the other British TV stations so you can watch Sky News live as well as the BBC News world service.   There is also of course, a really good news services on ITV which has actually won some awards which you’ll find broadcast over the ITV hub pages.

Be careful when selecting a UK VPN service to access the BBC, many of them have now been blocked and no longer work.  This is our recommendation for an inexpensive, reliable and fast VPN service which will allow you to watch BBC News streaming abroad.

Try the trial first to ensure it’s the right option for you, the software installs on a PC or laptop or you can set up the VPN connections manually on smartphones and tablets – it’s very simple and takes a minute or two.  Don’t forget there are servers in lots of other countries included too, try the US one for CNN World News or you can get the Al Jazeera news station broadcast through several countries IP addresses.

Click here to try the cheap trial of Identity Cloaker and watch BBC news streaming abroad, there’s no automatic contract or sneaky recurring subscription and it’s perfect for expats or simply for a short holiday or business trip.

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BBC iPlayer VPN Not Working

Last year there was an incident that threatened to destroy thousands of tranquil expat retirements in the sun.    I remember it well as I happened to be spending a couple of weeks in the Spanish sun, what happened was the talk of the expat community for weeks.

You see one of the luxuries that people used to have to forgo when retiring abroad was British Television.  However much we moan about it when in the UK, it’s only when you see other country’s TV stations that you start to realise how good the BBC really is.   If you can’t speak the language this is of course even worse, swapping the BBC for a Spanish network you don’t understand is quite a loss.

Yet of course for many years there was a solution to this, the BBC started the wonderful iPlayer application followed by live streaming of all it’s channels online.  There was a slight issue in that they blocked access from outside the UK, yet most of the expat communities soon found a workaround by using a VPN or proxy server to hide their location.   Laptops, tablets and Smart TVs were soon rigged up with VPN connections and the BBC was streamed through to expat homes, bars and meeting places all across the world.

Then the unthinkable happened suddenly people found that their BBC iPlayer VPN Not Working, and they were not alone –

BBC iPlayer VPN

The nice, friendly BBC who had never appeared that bothered about people accessing  their site from abroad – suddenly started a full blown war on VPNs.   Proxies were completely blown away – 100% of them are not detected and blocked.  VPNs are more difficult to stop because they are not easily detected, yet they started to block a huge amount of them.

The attack was two pronged, firstly ranges of IP addresses used by the VPN services were blocked.  Whilst the legal departments of the BBC started to target VPN providers who openly advertised the use of VPNs and used BBC logos on their sites.   A huge number of these services were blocked like this and now only  the most advanced (and discrete remain) – here’s one:

BBC iPlayer VPN – Current State

The onslaught on the VPN services seems to have lapsed slightly now although lots have been blocked completely. It’s definitely thinned out some of the VPN services, however you have to be careful as many still advertise access with the BBC even though they don’t work. No one is quite sure why the BBC suddenly changed to this aggressive stance on bypassing region locks yet it is probably financial.

The reality is that the main methods of blocking these VPN services is by identifying them individually and then blocking each IP address. This is actually extremely time consuming and presumably very expensive, until the BBC iPlayer detecting VPN services automatically it’s unlikely they’ll be as aggressive in the future. Also they are very aware that the longer standing companies like idc are able to switch from a pool of thousands of IP addresses whenever they are blocked.

So it’s always likely that there will be a BBC iPlayer VPN workaround available as long as you look in the right places. In the end, if you can switch your IP address to a UK one by whatever method then you’ll be able to watch the BBC iPlayer without issues. There is no reason why you can’t use a BBC iPlayer VPN 2017 as long as you pick the right companies.

Don’t worry about the recent upgrade where the BBC requires a registration, you can use BBC iPlayer sign in VPN to create your account and login afterwards. The account is only required to track your viewing and create a personalized environment although it could be used to enforce a license based sign on in the future.

There are still working BBC VPN services out there’ but make sure you check before you invest in a long subscriptions. The software we use is called Identity Cloaker and it’s been all around the world with me for the last decade. Don’t worry that it doesn’t advertise the TV watching side of the functionality – that’s deliberate to keep a low profile, you’ll get plenty of support if you need it. Indeed many times you hear that a BBC iPlayer VPN has stopped working it’s normally due to the company being careless and advertising the functionality directly.

Try out the trial here to see how well it works for only a few Euros.

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A Brief History of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

During the Summer of 1922, 18 representatives of media related companies met with officials of the  Post Office and the British Government to discuss an idea.   It was to see if it was feasible to allow regular radio transmissions to be made for the first time in the United Kingdom.  There were groups  who had expressed concerns that military and medical transmissions would be interrupted, but eventually this was discounted.  It was a time when radio was growing exponentially in the USA and there was a growing public desire to see a full radio service launched in the UK too.

It wasn’t a quick discussion, in fact the talks lasted nearly six months however there was an end result.  A new company was formed with a license to set up eight radio stations in the major cities of the United Kingdom – that company was to become the BBC,   To be fair the action started pretty quickly and in a few months, November 14th 1922 the first broadcasts were transmitted.  A license was created to fund the station and was required to legally listen – the first radio license was ten shillings (50 pence).  It was a fair sum in the 1920s but nevertheless over one million were issued to the British public.    In 1927, the company was restructured into a public corporation led by one of the founders John Reith.

Of course, today the BBC is more famous for it’s TV broadcasts and the BBC iPlayer, and it was about this time that the technology started to appear that would make this possible.  John Logie Baird, developed a system which would make the broadcast of TV possible.  We already had the cathode ray tube which was actually created at the end of the 19th century, however Baird’s disk scanning equipment was what brought television to the masses.

Baird’s equipment was still some way off completion however and it was when he was allowed to use the BBC’s South Bank Studios that they began to develop.  The results were so encouraging that he moved to a dedicated studio in Portland Place and it was here where the service was improved until it was capable of supporting a high definition system which could be broadcast to the United Kingdom public.  There were however other systems being developed by companies like Marconi and EMI which also offered similar potential and a committee was set up to investigate all the options.  Lord Selsdon was the head of the committee and it soon deemed that public broadcasts were indeed feasible and the BBC was was tasked with developing it.

There were some guidelines set out which should be followed including the minimum definition levels – 240 lines and 25 pictures per second.  This ensured that the transmissions would have to be high definition – both Baird’s and Marconi-EMIs system exceeded the requirements.   It was decided that both should be trialed from the BBC’s new headquarters in Alexandra Palace situated high on a hill so that the transmitter would reach both London and the Home Counties.

 

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BBC Deutschland ? Here’s How to Access iPlayer

There are many thousands of people who live in Germany who want to watch the BBC, yet unfortunately it is not currently available there.   Of course, you can watch a German news channel, however obviously your language skills need to be up to it.  Even for German speaking expats obviously the channels will focus on the Germany news headlines not those from the UK.   So people are keen to access British TV over the internet if they can.

If you access the BBC iPlayer site in Germany you get redirected to an international version of the site which doesn’t have any live TV or archived programmes in BBC iPlayer.  For those who try and bypass the international version and go straight to the UK based site to access BBC Deutschland this is what happens when you try and watch a programme:

BBC Deutschland

The BBC website looks up your IP address and checks which country it is registered to, if it’s not in the UK then you’ll get this message.   Anywhere in the UK and the video will stream normally without any problems.  It doesn’t matter who you are, even UK citizens who pay the UK TV license will get the same message and be blocked when they’re outside the UK.

In fact the only real BBC programmes you can get are the World Service broadcasts and occasionally you’ll get some live broadcasts streamed live to the BBC YouTube Channel – for example sometimes you’ll find parts of the Test Match Special broadcasts on here.

Now this is not some sort of British Brexit meanness, it’s actually fairly standard practice for most media companies.  In order to minimize copyright issues and maximise revenues the majority of online TV channels restrict access to their domestic markets only.  For example there are around 1400 German online channels and most of them are only accessible from inside Germany including ZDF and ARD.    It’s obviously the place to get all the germany breaking news and some have English language slots at specific times too. The same goes for media companies across the world, the vast majority cannot be accessed outside the country of origin.

So How to Watch BBC iPlayer in Germany?

Ok so we’ve said you can’t watch the BBC in Deutschland – but that’s not entirely true. You’ve probably heard that it is possible to watch the BBC or any UK TV channels from Germany somehow – and you would be right. The secret is regaining some control about your privacy, all these websites look up your IP address and decide what you can or can’t see. However if you can control the origin of that address suddenly all these websites can be unlocked.

Although it’s not possible to actually change your IP address, it is possible to hide your real address and present a false one to these sites. Here’s how it’s done in this short video –


As you can see the secret is to connect firstly to another server in the country you require. So if I want to watch the BBC iPlayer in Germany then I’d initially make a connection to a UK VPN server before going to the BBC website. As soon as I do this, the IP address that is checked is that of the UK server not my own. In fact while using the program demonstrated in the video, nobody can see my true location only that of the VPN server.

These services were initially limited to one or two countries but you can see that most now allow access to a wide selection of different countries.  Which means that you can bypass pretty much any region block that you encounter simply by switching to the appropriate VPN server.

This is the method that literally millions of people are able to access the BBC and other British TV sites from outside the UK. It is remarkably easy to use and the program – it can also be setup on smart phones, tablets and even on Smart TVs if you have a compatible router.

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BBC iPlayer France – How’s it Done?

For many UK citizens, particularly those with a love of fine food, wine and with a little disposable income to spare France is a great place. For years lower property prices have meant you can pick up some wonderful bargains especially for those brave enough to use the auction market. A decent exchange rate, slightly better climate and loads of simple, cheap ways to get there provide an obvious attraction. All across France many people have transitioned from holidays, to moving and living there.

It’s usually good advice when you move abroad to try and adapt to the local way of life and not create some sort of expat community isolated from the locals. However there is one exception to this, and it leads to the subject of this post – How do I get BBC iPlayer in France? Of course it’s best to try to adapt into your new home’s culture, but all this cultural assimilation can be quite hard work initially, so maintaining this connection to your home certainly helps.

BBC iPlayer France

Many of us have experienced the disappointment of trying to access the wonderful BBC site online from France and discovering it’s all blocked. The corporation don’t single out the French though, try and watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere outside the UK you’ll get redirected to a rather rubbish International version of the site. It unfortunately includes no BBC iPlayer, no Live TV streams or access to all the local and national radio stations. If you try and force your computer to visit the UK TV version and try and watch anything you’ll just get a screen similar to this:

bbc iplayer watched

All very polite and friendly but the implications are huge, no News at 10, no Match of the Day, no wonderful documentaries. The same happens with other UK based TV channels and if you try and watch ITV player abroad too. Not having BBC iPlayer abroad means losing a host of other TV programmes that you won’t realise you’re going to miss until you can’t watch them! It seems counterintuitive to restrict a site which is most useful for travelling when you leave the country. There were moves afoot to force BBC to allow UK license fee payers access from anywhere in Europe as part of creating a digital single market. However much to the disappointment of more than a million people or so that’s probably not going to happen now thanks to Brexit. So forget legitamate methods internet users it’s back to the vpns or proxy servers I’m afraid.

So I’m afraid some sneakiness is required – here’s the solution.

How Do I get BBC iPlayer in France?

You have to convince the BBC website that you’re actually in the UK which you can do by bouncing your internet connection through an intermediate server called a VPN or Proxy server. Nothing complicated you simply hide behind a UK based server and then everything web based will work as if you were in the UK including the BBC website, iPlayer etc.  You should be able to watch British TV that is online and also any subscription channels that you are a member of – it’s useful to watch Sky Go abroad for example too.

Here’s a quick demo video that demonstrates some of the options, unfortunately now all the free ones illustrated here don’t work anymore.  However fast forward to about 4:30 and you’ll see a VPN program in  action, it’s certainly the fastest and easiest option that still works in 2017 for watching the BBC iPlayer outside the UK:

As you can see it’s quite simple, you merely make the VPN connection to a British based server before logging on to the BBC website and you’ll have access to all the functionality of the site including live TV and the iPlayer archive. Interestingly enough it used to be possible to use a free proxy server to watch the BBC from France or Germany but unfortunately those no longer work. The BBC started blocking proxies late in 2015 and subsequently have increased their detection of these programs.

It’s not a popular move, as for years the BBC have been fairly relaxed about programs that allow you to watch from outside the United Kingdom. Especially in places like France where many people actually pay the UK licence fee anyway using these services to access UK TV from their holiday homes or holidays. They have actually been a little more aggressive than some of the stations although ITV player ask you to register using a UK postcode as well, although you just need to use a legitimate one from anywhere.  It’s hardly surprising though as many Brits are now living in France and enjoying the advantages of French family life whilst accessing iPlayer on any device they own.

Update on BBC iPlayer VPN 2017 Issue

In the Summer of 2016, the BBC actually started actively targeting VPNs too and hundreds of services were blocked.   It’s wasn’t that the BBC iPlayer detecting VPN  programs, nobody has figured out how to do that, but they can investigate IP addresses with multiple connections and track through advertising. They realised just how much BBC was watched in these areas and how it perhaps affected their commercial revenue from people watching the BBC like this.  There are a lot fewer of these services now, but the majority that remain still work – always get a short trial account though before paying for a longer subscription to make sure.

Here’s our recommendation working now in the Summer of 2017 – .

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