If you’re a resident of the United States who regularly travels outside of your home country, a fan of American television who lives outside the U.S., or a U.S. expat, you may have run into issues with being able to view your favorite television shows online.
Many U.S. television networks and streaming services restrict the viewing of their shows and movies to viewers located inside American borders. This makes it tough for fans of U.S. situation comedies to follow the antics of that wacky next-door neighbor.
You’ll be glad to learn that all is not lost.
The Best Way to Watch U.S. TV Online from Abroad
Most U.S.-based television networks limit access to their shows to viewers who live inside U.S. borders and have an American IP address.
Luckily, it’s still possible to view U.S. TV online while you travel abroad by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A VPN assigns your connected devices a new, temporary IP address inside the United States. This can make it appear that you’re located in New York City, even if you’re sipping a cup of coffee in a Parisian café.
From my long-time experience with and testing of numerous VPN providers, I can fully recommend NordVPN as the best VPN for accessing American TV streams from nearly anywhere in the world.
A 30-day money-back guarantee means you’ll have plenty of time to decide if NordVPN is the right VPN for your needs.
In this article, I’ll share a detailed guide about the best way to stream American television when you’re roaming the globe.
Why Are International Users Banned from U.S. TV Streams?
Although you may have a subscription to U.S.-based TV streaming services, you’ll likely find that you are blocked from viewing the service’s shows when you’re in another country.
American television networks don’t restrict viewing to inside U.S. borders simply to be difficult. The reason comes down to one thing: the almighty dollar.
If American streaming services allowed international viewers to access their shows, they would lose revenue. American television networks, and the shows’ producers, make a sweet pile of cash by selling the international viewing rights for their shows on a country-by-country basis.
If a viewer in Italy could watch The Goldbergs for free by connecting to the ABC streaming service in the U.S., what incentive would there be for an Italian streaming service to pay for episodes of the popular TV comedy? Nessuno, that’s how much incentive there would be.
This is the biggest reason, but there can be other reasons for international viewing restrictions. There may simply be local censorship laws. Extremely controlling regimes may not want their citizens watching entertainment from the free world.
How Is Content Geographically Blocked?
When your device connects to the internet, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns it an Internet Protocol Address (IP address).
An IP address tells other computers on the internet where to send the information your device requests, much like your home’s mailing address lets your friends know where to send their greeting cards.
Unfortunately, an IP address also reveals your physical location, allowing a streaming service to tell where a viewer is located. (For a demonstration of how an IP address can expose your physical location, visit this website. I’ll wait. Oh, you’re back. Slightly scary, right?)
This means NBCUniversal can tell that you’re trying to view Brooklyn Nine-Nine from outside the United States. The network can then set its streaming servers to reject any connections from viewers not located inside the U.S.
How Can I Watch Blocked U.S. TV Overseas?
If you’re looking to access entertainment from a U.S. television provider, you’ll need to acquire an IP address from inside the United States. This will make it appear as if you are inside U.S. borders.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) has the ability to assign you a new, temporary U.S. IP address. It does this by connecting you to a VPN server located inside the U.S. This hides your actual IP address, making it look as if the VPN server’s IP address is yours.
Plus, a VPN encrypts your internet connection, preventing anyone – the government, your ISP, or a hacker – from monitoring your online activities.
WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK FREE?
A 30-day, no-risk trial subscription to NordVPN is available when you sign up on this page. This gives you access to all of the features of the #1 VPN for watching U.S. TV from abroad for one month. This is great for streaming fans who want to watch their favorite shows or films while traveling or temporarily living outside of the U.S.
There are no penalties for canceling your subscription within the 30-day trial period - simply contact support within 30 days and you'll get a refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.
What Is the Best VPN for Streaming U.S. TV Abroad?
You’ll find there are a large number of VPN providers available, and some of them do an admirable job of accessing U.S. television streams.
However, only one VPN provider does an all-around top-notch job of protecting your internet connection, while simultaneously opening the door to American TV.
NordVPN is the best VPN available to enable binging sessions of your favorite U.S. television shows. The VPN provider has 5,600+ servers located in 59+ countries, with nearly 2,000 of those servers located in 15+ cities around the United States.
NordVPN’s connection speeds can easily handle the high-definition streams that U.S. network streaming services provide, and they’re well-positioned to handle the increased bandwidth that U.S. streamers will require when they make the transition to 4K content.
NordVPN also offers some of the best security and privacy protections in the VPN business. It uses the same encryption methods banks do to prevent monitoring of your online antics. It also follows a strict no-logs policy, so there will be no record of your online travels.
Check out my full review of NordVPN.
In today’s always-connected world, connection speed is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a VPN provider. But, when it comes to a VPN for viewing streaming content, it gains even more importance.
Today’s video streaming services deliver content in 1080p HD and 4K HDR formats, which require a reliable connection that provides fast speeds. Otherwise, you’ll experience long buffering sessions, and your content might not stream smoothly.
NordVPN provides some of the fastest connection speeds I’ve seen in recent testing, and they are well up to the requirements of today’s streaming content. Depending on the speed of your ISP-provided connection, HD and 4K content will start playing almost immediately, and you’ll never need to deal with stuttering and pixelated video playback.
The days of streaming only on your computer are (thankfully) long gone.
You’ll find that most streaming services are available on multiple devices. Netflix alone is available not only on computers, but also on mobile devices, smart TVs, streaming boxes, game consoles, and even a few internet-connected bathroom mirrors.
That’s what makes NordVPN’s comprehensive multi-platform support so important.
NordVPN offers native, easy-to-use apps for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS (includes native support for M1/M2 Macs), Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV devices. If you prefer to binge inside your favorite browser, extensions are available for the Chrome, Edge, and Firefox platforms. You can set up NordVPN on numerous brands of routers, meaning you can also protect and enhance your video gaming, set-top box, and smart TV viewing experiences.
NordVPN allows up to six simultaneous connections per username.
While I wish all of my readers a safe and trouble-free journey on the information superhighway, there may be a time when you’ll need to contact the VPN equivalent of the AAA Motor Club, NordVPN’s customer support department.
NordVPN provides excellent customer support, thanks to 24/7 live support chat, email support, and a searchable support library.
Global Server Coverage
When it comes to accessing streaming television content from the United States, the most important part of any VPN provider’s global server coverage is to make sure they have servers located inside the U.S. NordVPN definitely has that covered.
However, you’ll soon find that a VPN isn’t a one-trick pony. It can provide access to blocked content located around the globe, making global server coverage even more important.
Privacy and Security
NordVPN offers comprehensive privacy protection, including no logs servers and a Bitcoin subscription payment option.
In addition, the provider also owns and operates many of its server farms, keeping third-party contractors away from its customers’ personal information. Also, all NordVPN servers are run solely from volatile RAM. This means there is no data ever written to a physical hard drive, ensuring that all data is securely wiped from the servers if they are rebooted, shut down, or unplugged and moved to another location.
With all that NordVPN offers you, you’d be forgiven for expecting the provider to be rather expensive. Well, you would be wrong, sir and/or ma’am. NordVPN’s pricing is competitive with many lesser providers and much cheaper than most VPNs that are on an equal service footing.
A 30-day money-back guarantee means there’s no risk in giving NordVPN a try.
Methodology for Assessing a VPN for Streaming U.S. TV
You don’t want to get stuck with a VPN service provider that isn’t capable of accessing and streaming U.S. TV. That’s why it’s critical to assess a few important factors before choosing a VPN for U.S. TV.
These are the factors that I assessed when deciding upon which VPN to recommend (NordVPN) for streaming U.S. TV:
- Speed: One of the most important factors to consider for streaming video is connection speed. You don’t want a VPN that will make you wait through long buffering times and force you to stream in low resolution. NordVPN offered some of the fastest connection speeds I’ve ever seen in my most recent connection speed tests.
- Streaming: Since this article is about streaming U.S. TV, it’s no surprise that you want a VPN that will be capable of accessing and streaming many different U.S. streaming services. NordVPN is superb at this, easily accessing Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
- Server network: Obviously, servers in the U.S. are absolutely necessary for streaming U.S. TV shows and movies. But you also want to consider a large server network for the ability it gives you to stream other services in other countries. Plus, it’s good to consider the number of servers that the provider offers, as the more servers the provider offers, the more likely it will be that those servers won’t be overloaded with users, slowing your speeds.
- Value: I’m sure you want to save as much money as possible when investing in a VPN. No sense in putting down a large sum for a VPN service provider that won’t provide the features and functionality you need. NordVPN asks for a reasonable price, which is commensurate with its offerings.
- Ease of use: NordVPN offers simple apps, which make it quick and easy to connect and start watching your favorite U.S. TV shows and movies. In addition, the provider offers apps for a large number of platforms, allowing you to stream on your favorite device.
- Security and privacy: Don’t forget that your digital privacy and security are important, too. You want to be protected when you’re doing anything online, as there are many hazards. NordVPN offers banking-level encryption, an automatic kill switch, DNS/IP leak protection, and more. It also never saves logs of your online activities, so you don’t have to worry about anyone requesting access to your data, as there won’t be any record of your online escapades.
The research I perform doesn’t end here. In fact, the factors above are just a small part of what I consider during my comprehensive VPN testing methodology. My data-driven approach leads to me better understanding the VPN services so that I can recommend only those VPNs that are a good fit for my readers’ needs.
Watch U.S. TV Online FAQs
How Do I Watch American TV Overseas?
It's easy to watch American TV from overseas. Just follow these steps:
- Subscribe to a reliable VPN (like NordVPN).
- Install the VPN provider's app(s) on your viewing device(s).
- Log into the VPN provider.
- Select a VPN server located inside the United States. (You may need to delete your browser's cache and cookies.)
- Go to your favorite streaming site or app and enjoy the show!
Where Can I Watch U.S. Television?
Most U.S. television networks offer a streaming service. Most of these services offer access to the network's content via a web browser or on apps for most popular device platforms. You will likely need to use a VPN to make it appear as if you are inside U.S. borders, however, as most television streaming services are geo-restricted.
What Are Some International TV Streaming Services?
There are numerous international streaming services that are available for your enjoyment. These include Telemundo, encoreTVB, Euronews, Rai TV, tagesschau, Haiti Connection, NTD Television, and many more.
Will I Be Able to Watch U.S. TV Abroad With a Free VPN?
It's likely that you'll be able to watch some U.S. TV abroad with a free VPN, but it's likely to be slow. VPNs work by encrypting your traffic and then routing it through a server in a location of your choosing. This can help you to get around censorship or geo-blocks, but it can also slow down your connection.
The best way to ensure that you can watch U.S. TV abroad without any problems is to sign up for a paid VPN service. Paid VPNs typically have faster speeds than free VPNs, and they also offer more servers and better customer support.
Is it Legal to Stream U.S. TV Abroad With a VPN?
Yes, it is legal to stream U.S. TV programming using a VPN service. There are several reasons why you might want to do this, including accessing geo-restricted content and bypassing internet censorship.
Popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video are all available overseas with a VPN. All you need is a subscription and an account with one of these services. Then, simply connect to a server in the United States and start streaming.
Can I Watch U.S. TV On Mobile Devices?
Yes! You can watch U.S. TV on your mobile device with a few simple steps. First, download a VPN or proxy app from your app store. Then, connect to a server in the US using the app. Finally, open your browser and navigate to the website of your favorite U.S. TV network. Watch live or catch up on past episodes with On Demand content! Enjoy your favorite shows while you're on the go!
Why Do I Need a VPN When I Can Torrent U.S. TV?
The first reason that comes to mind is that torrenting copyrighted materials (including U.S. TV content) is illegal, which can lead to legal issues if you are caught. While we don’t encourage the use of a VPN for torrenting copyrighted materials, you should use a VPN when torrenting any files, even for legal uses, such as sharing business documents and other legal files. This is because many Internet Service Providers will throttle or ban users for any type of torrenting activity.
How Do I Get American TV On My Firestick?
You can use a VPN to connect to a server based in the United States, which will open up access to American TV series and movies. You may need to have a U.S.-based Amazon account to be allowed to download the American TV apps required for viewing.
Is American TV Free to Watch?
I can answer that question with a resounding, “it depends.” While many American TV providers require that you pay a subscription fee, there are some streaming services that offer free streaming of American TV content. These services include Tubi, FreeVee, Pluto TV, YouTube, and many others.
How Does a US TV Channel Detect My Location?
Every connected device has a unique IP address. Since IP addresses are assigned on a country-by-country basis, your IP can be used to determine your location to at least the closest major city.
Will a Streaming Service Block Me From Watching Outside of the US?
Due to their contracts with film and television content producers, streaming services are obligated to prevent viewers from watching content from outside of designated viewing areas. However, a VPN can make it appear as if you are located inside the US, allowing you to view your favorite shows and movies, no matter where you're physically located.
Which is better for streaming U.S. TV online, SmartDNS or a VPN?
The short answer to this question is that a VPN is generally preferred to SmartDNS because it offers more protection and works with more streaming services. However, both technologies have advantages and disadvantages; choosing one depends on your preferences.
Unlike SmartDNS, a VPN acts as an encrypted tunnel between your device and the Internet. This cloaks all activity from third parties such as government agencies or ISPs who want to monitor what type of data you’re downloading/uploading, and where it’s coming from/going to.
In addition to protecting privacy, this also means that any restrictions imposed on certain types of content, based on geographical boundaries will be bypassed since all traffic passing through the VPN connection appears as domestic traffic rather than foreign data passing through restricted paths overseas.
The good news is that NordVPN comes with SmartDNS service along with its excellent VPN service, so you get the best of both worlds from one provider!
About U.S. Television
While television networks have come and gone over the years, the four major broadcast networks today are CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX. The upstart CW network is popular with younger viewers. Other channels with online streaming services include HBO and ESPN.
All of the broadcast networks – as well as most cable networks – offer streaming services, where their programming is available to internet users.
All of these streaming services are restricted to viewers whose connected devices have an IP address located inside American borders.
If you’re currently touring the world, but are jonesing for a bit of home cooking TV-wise, NordVPN is your best bet for reliable access to your favorite television content back in the states.
The provider delivers powerful content-unblocking power while delivering plenty of speed to quickly and smoothly stream your favorite American shows.
For more information or to give NordVPN a try, visit the NordVPN website.
- The Best Way to Watch U.S. TV Online from Abroad
- Why Are International Users Banned from U.S. TV Streams?
- How Is Content Geographically Blocked?
- How Can I Watch Blocked U.S. TV Overseas?
- What Is the Best VPN for Streaming U.S. TV Abroad?
- Methodology for Assessing a VPN for Streaming U.S. TV
- Watch U.S. TV Online FAQs
- How Do I Watch American TV Overseas?
- Where Can I Watch U.S. Television?
- What Are Some International TV Streaming Services?
- Will I Be Able to Watch U.S. TV Abroad With a Free VPN?
- Is it Legal to Stream U.S. TV Abroad With a VPN?
- Can I Watch U.S. TV On Mobile Devices?
- Why Do I Need a VPN When I Can Torrent U.S. TV?
- How Do I Get American TV On My Firestick?
- Is American TV Free to Watch?
- How Does a US TV Channel Detect My Location?
- Will a Streaming Service Block Me From Watching Outside of the US?
- Which is better for streaming U.S. TV online, SmartDNS or a VPN?
- About U.S. Television