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All over the VPN review and informational sites, there’s lots of advice on using a VPN to access the great new UK Television streaming service BritBox. Unfortunately very few of them seem to be telling the full story in their rush to recommend a VPN program for you to use. The problem is that they’re all missing out a vital piece of information about watching Britbox with VPN services, which we’ll explain below.
First of all, BritBox is the impressive new streaming service which has been launched by the major UK Television stations. Currently they have content from the BBC, ITV, Comedy Central, and Channel 5. These will be joined with lots more in Spring 2020 as Channel 4 and Film 4 join the service. It’s being heavily promoted by the commercial channels involved mainly ITV and Channel 4 currently on UK TV.
It’s been around a while but in a trial format, but now has been relaunched. Unfortunately it’s only currently available in the USA, Canada and of course the United Kingdom. If you try and watch from anywhere else, you’ll get a polite message informing you it’s not available yet. This seems to suggest that it’s been rolled out very quickly but due to the complex world of media licensing then that’s unlikely to be the case. If you try and find out when will BritBox be available in Europe you’re not going to get a firm date for some time I suspect.
That’s ok, we have VPNs of course!
Watching BritBox with a VPN
This is normally the solution for accessing content which is blocked by geo-location. When a website like BritBox looks up your IP address if you’re connected through a VPN as long as it’s in the right country then you won’t have an issue. I’ve been watching the BBC iPlayer and ITV from abroad for over a decade using my trusty Identity Cloaker subscription. Yet there is a fundamental difference here that can cause many of us a problem.
First of all let’s clarify that BritBox is only available in three different countries –
Your IP address has to be located in one of these countries when you connect to the BritBox website to stream your programmes. Each of the locations has slightly different content, rumor has it that the USA version has the most shows but I’ve not checked this out yet. Using a VPN easily solves this as long as you don’t use one that’s blocked or blacklisted, it seems that they might be using the same lists as the BBC – so make sure your VPN works with this too.
Unfortunately as a paid subscription service, Britbox can perform another check which the free services don’t. They check the origin of your payment method, so you must use a credit or debit card registered in one of those three countries to match the service you’re trying to access. So use a UK debit card to register through the United Kingdom and so on. It’s likely you can use your account in the three different versions after that irrespective of where you’ve paid.
So What VPN Works with BritBox
This can cause difficulty as it’s much easier to hide your physical location than it is to get hold of a ‘foreign’ payment method. Most cards need a registered address in that country making it difficult for someone to apply from another country. These checks are also fairly accurate, your card location will almost certainly be detected correctly.
So don’t waste your money on a VPN for BritBox unless you have either a US, Canadian or UK method of payment to use.
For people travelling, on holiday or who have lived in these countries then obviously this won’t be an issue. You should still be careful with what VPN you use as many are blocked and filtered. It is suspected that the BBC have used their blacklist with the BritBox servers so don’t subscribe to a long service like Nord VPN and their three year deals without checking first!
It’s definitely a great service if you like UK Television, but I’m not quite convinced that it’s worth the extra subscription beyond a VPN purchase. There’s an awful lot of free ‘stuff’ on the channels own sites, for example BritBox advertise the great Hercule Poirot show from the 1980s/1990s starrring David Suchet. Yet I’ve been watching these on the ITV Hub through Identity Cloaker for months and there’s still lots left on there. Of course, there is a free thirty day trial so you can try it out first if you’re unsure.