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.
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.