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.
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.