The United Kingdom’s television industry is one of the most productive and well-respected TV industries in the world. The industry produces excellent series and movies, which are appreciated by viewers around the world.
U.K. television content, much like the content in other countries, is licensed for broadcast and streaming only to residents of the U.K.
While U.K. television streaming content is easily available for viewing by residents of the United Kingdom, most of the streaming services are blocked to viewers in other countries.
Viewers outside of the U.K. are met with a polite message (these are the Brits, after all), telling them that the content they’re trying to access is only available in the U.K. due to rights issues.
The Best Way to Watch U.K. TV Online From Abroad
U.K. television providers limit access to their streaming services to viewers residing in the United Kingdom. This means that if you want to view your favorite BBC iPlayer shows, your device needs to have a U.K.-based IP address.
The best tool to pull this off is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN can temporarily assign a new IP address to your connected device(s). That means that although you’re sitting in a Tim Horton’s in Toronto, the rest of the world will believe you’re sitting comfortably at home, in your London flat.
I have years of experience using VPNs, and I feel secure in recommending ExpressVPN as the best available VPN provider to help you unblock your favorite British sitcoms and detective series, no matter where you’re located.
A 30-day money-back guarantee provides plenty of time to decide if ExpressVPN is the right VPN for your viewing needs.
In this article, I discuss why international viewers are blocked from accessing British television, and what you can do about it.
About U.K. Television
Television in the United Kingdom began as a free, no-ads public service in 1936. Currently, there are over 480 channels of free-to-air, free-to-view and subscription services available in the U.K, plus on-demand programming.
Today, U.K. viewers enjoy hundreds of networks, including the BBC, BBC News, Sky, Sky Sports and many more.
Most all networks based in the United Kingdom offer their shows via streaming services. For instance, the BBC makes their content available online through BBC iPlayer, and Sky offers a service called Sky Go.
All of these streaming services restrict their content to users whose devices have an IP address located inside the U.K. (more about that later).
Why Are International Users Banned From U.K. TV Streams?
If you’re a subscriber to a U.K.-based television streaming service, you have likely discovered that you cannot access the service when you are traveling abroad.
United Kingdom-based broadcasters block access to their content from outside the U.K. due to licensing restrictions and possible loss of revenue.
British television networks, and the shows’ producers, make a good bit of cash by selling the international viewing rights for their shows on a region-by-region basis.
If viewers in the U.S. could access these shows for free on the internet, why would an American or another country’s streaming service pay to offer the episodes to their customers?
Another reason why certain shows might not be available in other regions is local censorship laws. Many countries are extremely strict about what their citizens are allowed to view.
How Is Content Geographically Blocked?
When your devices connect to the internet, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns them an Internet Protocol address (IP address).
An IP address lets other computers on the internet know who sent them information and where they should send the reply. This is similar to how the post office uses your home address to send and receive snail mail.
In addition to virtually identifying your device on the internet, an IP address can also be used to detect a user’s physical location. You can see your location by visiting this website.
By detecting a viewer’s IP address, the BBC can detect if you’re attempting to watch the latest episode of EastEnders from outside the United Kingdom. They can then instruct their servers to reject any connection attempts by IP addresses not located in the U.K.
How Can I Watch Blocked U.K. TV Overseas?
If you’d like to view your favorite shows from U.K. television networks while outside of U.K. borders, you’ll need to acquire an IP address located inside the U.K. This will make it seem as if you are located inside the United Kingdom.
The best way to acquire an IP address in the U.K. is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN assigns your device a new, temporary IP address by connecting it to a VPN server stationed inside the U.K.
This hides your real IP address, making it appear that the VPN server’s IP address is your device’s IP address.
A VPN’s IP address-“spoofing” feature not only opens access to U.K.-based television streams, it also helps open the door to other types of streaming content, gaming content and services from other regions.
A VPN also helps protect your online activities from the prying eyes of others by encrypting your internet connection, ensuring that no person or entity can observe your activities.
Which VPN Is Best for Streaming U.K. TV Abroad?
There are more VPN services available today than there have ever been, and many of them do an adequate job of unblocking U.K. streaming content.
Yet, there is only one VPN that does an excellent all-around job of unblocking U.K. television streams, while also delivering top-notch protection for all of your internet-related activities.
ExpressVPN is your best option for opening access to your favorite U.K. television shows and movies. The VPN service has servers located in the United Kingdom, providing reliable access to U.K. content.
ExpressVPN delivers connection speeds that can easily handle the high-definition video streams that television streaming services in the United Kingdom offer. The provider is also well-positioned to handle the 4K content many streaming services will be providing in the near future.
Security and privacy are never an issue when using ExpressVPN, as it uses military-grade encryption to protect your connection. The provider also follows a no-logs policy, so no records of your online travels will ever be available.
Here’s a breakdown of ExpressVPN’s most important streaming-related features. For more information, check out my full review of the service.
1. Connection Speed
Connection speed is one of the most important factors when considering a VPN provider, as on the internet, faster is always better. It’s of even more importance when considering a provider for streaming video.
Most popular streaming services deliver content using a 1080p high-definition format. Many of those service either already do or are planning to offer 4K HDR content.
Both formats require fast, reliable connections. If a provider’s connection speeds are too slow, content could take a long period of time to begin streaming, or the content might not stream properly.
ExpressVPN’s connection speeds are fast – more than fast enough to handle streaming video requirements. ExpressVPN does an excellent job of delivering smooth-playing video streams.
2. Multi-Platform Support
If you have a connected device, there’s a good chance you can view streaming video on it.
Most streaming services are available on numerous devices, including computers, mobile devices, streaming boxes, game consoles, smart TVs and more. This makes native app support an important factor to consider when mulling over VPN providers.
ExpressVPN delivers apps for the Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Amazon Fire and Chromebook device platforms. If you do your streaming via a browser, Chrome, Safari and Firefox browser extensions are available for your protection.
If you do your bingeing on an Apple TV, Roku box or game console, you can take advantage of ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer DNS service, which offers access to foreign streams. (Be advised that MediaStreamer does not encrypt your connection like the provider’s VPN service does.)
Up to 3 devices can connect to ExpressVPN’s servers at once while using the same login. If that’s not adequate for your needs, you can take advantage of the provider’s excellent router compatibility.
3. Customer Support
If anything can go wrong, it will, so although ExpressVPN provides highly reliable VPN service, there may come a time when you’ll need assistance.
ExpressVPN provides top-notch customer support, with 24/7 live support chat, troubleshooting guides, an easy-to-use support library and a trouble ticket system.
4. Global Server Coverage
Global server coverage is vitally important when you’re considering a VPN for its content roadblock-busting abilities. In addition to multiple locations inside the U.K., ExpressVPN also has servers located in strategic countries around the globe.
ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers in 94 countries around the globe. It has servers stationed in 6 cities in the U.K. Your entertainment possibilities just became endless.
You’ll find that ExpressVPN is priced a bit more dearly than many other VPN services. However, you’ll also find that you’ll be getting an excellent value for what you’ll pay.
A 30-day money-back guarantee will provide plenty of time to run ExpressVPN through its paces and decide if the provider is the right one for your needs.
Just because you’re outside of the United Kingdom, it doesn’t mean you should miss your favorite shows. ExpressVPN provides the best way to open access to your favorite shows from back home.
The provider does an excellent job of unblocking access to U.K. content, while providing top-notch connection speeds. It also provides excellent security and privacy protections.
For more information or to give ExpressVPN a try, visit the ExpressVPN website.