How To Watch TV From UK & English Abroad & Outside UK
If you are on holiday or regularly go abroad and want to be able to view UK TV abroad this blog is for you. My inspiration for this blog was because recently my cousin was on TV and my other cousin, his brother lived abroad in Australia and couldn’t watch the programme. He couldn’t watch it live because he was on ITV and couldn’t watch through the internet On Demand through the ITV Hub because of geo-locking of the access to the catch-up portal. Which got me scratching my head and doing what I do? How could he and others who are outside the UK and abroad who want to watch BBC, ITV, Channel 4 programmes etc be able to do so. Below I have suggested some ways in which this could be done, some of which will be appropriate, and others may not be. Either way one will work for you so lets get started.
Satellite Dish – English TV In Parts Of Europe
The preferred method for Expats and holiday makers in Europe over the years is to have a satellite dish installed on your property like you normally would in the UK and then connect this to a satellite receiver. This could be a Freesat or you could even connect a Sky box for programmes like Sky Sports & Movies etc. It wasn’t uncommon for people who have second homes in Spain for example, to bring their Sky box back and forwards with them and connect it up to their satellite dishes so they still watch Sky when out of the country. This could be a become a bit of an effort so instead many people just brought their Sky smart card with them instead. The problem with this being that the Sky card needs to be paired with the Sky box and I’m not sure that the satellite provider wants you accessing their services outside of the intended UK. This is what connection to the telephone line was all about. A couple points to assist you with using satellite to watch English TV abroad:
1- Unless you intend to access Sky English TV doesn’t use encryption so any old satellite receiver will be fine if you just want to watch BBC/ ITV programmes.
I do however recommend a Freesat box for this task instead of a generic FTA receiver as it will use the Logical Channel Number to store the services on the correct channel. A generic satellite receiver will store the channels on all sorts of random numbers which could see you having to go to 431 for BBC1 and 696 for BBC2. Or having to spend hours assorting the channels onto the correct numbers only to have to do it again when you re-tune the equipment!
2- Because we live on a Island there isn’t much need to bother with encryption of the TV service like other countries have to.Instead much of the signals intended for the UK are focused on the UK.
This means that although it is possible to view English TV with a small satellite dish in North France, the further you go away from the UK the larger the satellite dish you require. If you wanted to receive British TV in Italy for example via satellite which worked okay until recently you would need a very large dish indeed.
In conclusion, if you’re in France/ Spain a satellite dish could be a viable solution to be able to watch English TV programmes outside the UK. Once set up the TV will work exactly as it would do if you if you were in the UK. If you are not in this region, outside Europe for example you should try one of the other methods below.
A Slingbox is an ingenious device. There are several makes and models available but essentially, they work by plugging in and connecting at an address in the UK. This could be your home address if you’re only away on holiday or a family members/ friends house if have moved away permanently or for long periods of time. Once set up and connected to the internet at a UK address it will allow you to login to the device through the internet and watch English TV wherever you’re in the world via an online portal which can be accessed through a web browser or application.
The most common Slingbox I have come across is like a traditional Freesat+ box that allows to watch and record Freesat at a UK address and then have access to it wherever you when away from home. This are commonly used by people who work away or travel a lot as the same set up can provide you your TV at home and away.
The downside of this suggestion is that obviously the equipment needs to be physically installed at a UK address which may not be possible if you live abroad, or may not be worth the cost if you only wanted to be able to view BBC/ ITV & Channel 4/5 for a few days while you’re away. In which case you may want to try the next suggestion.
A VPN service is a Virtual Private Network that allows an internet connection to be routed in a way that it otherwise wouldn’t. You maybe familiar with a VPN as they are most common for internet privacy with the likes of Google/ Facebook all collecting so much data on us. But the reason they have been included in this blog is because that a VPN service can be used that will provide you with a UK IP address wherever you’re on the planet. This will allow to get around any geo-locking that will otherwise prevent you from accessing services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, 4OD & Demand 5.
There are numerous VPN’s that can be used. If you’re confident and competent with networking set ups and router installations it’s possible to set the VPN on your router, if you’re not however you could subscribe to a VPN service. Some of the most popular VPN services for watching English TV abroad are:
I advise doing a bit of investigation to find the best VPN for you to watch TV from the UK outside the UK as each of them has their own pro’sand cons and different price points. Once set up you will be able to access BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, Sky Go, ITV Hub & BT Sport all outside of the UK,including many others. You may find watching live TV slim pickings though unless you’re subscribing to Sky Go as most of the applications and websites that can be used for watching English TV abroad are catch up services only. You can access BBC Three through iPlayer now though.
When you have this set up you will be able to login to your apps, pretty much all of which require an account to login with. Although BBC iPlayer now asks if you’re a licence payer it still allows you to access the application. Expect this to change in the years to come. You will also need something to to login to the VPN service with so remember to bring your laptop,tablet etc to be able to view UK TV abroad.
Can I point TV Aerial To UK To Get Freeview?
You could try pointing an aerial at the UK and then tuning your digital TV. In all likelihood it is very, very likely that you will get nothing. A high-gain aerial and masthead amplifier may help but again I wouldn’t hold your breath. I had a customer in Brighton in the UK who had pointed a high-gain aerial with a very high gain amplifier and was dragging in some French TV which they wanted to access. This was very temperamental hence my visit. I didn’t even try to improve things and advised that they used a satellite dish and Fransat instead which he has been very happy with ever since. I don’t want to dismiss aerials altogether though whilst still not recommending them. Because of the ducting effect which can carry signals hundreds of miles before dumping back to ground again,you may get lucky. Also signals travel further in high pressure so you may be able to use this to your advantage.
English TV Abroad Questions
If you have any questions of receiving English TV & TV from the UK abroad, please do POST YOUR QUESTIONS IN THE BLOG COMMENT SECTION below. I will get back to you as soon as I can, so I appreciate your patience. Please note in recent years that it has become more difficult to get services like BBC outside the UK in places like Italy, Spain etc. In which case you will be better off with one of the other suggestions. That or install a huge 3m satellite dish. Please DO NOT CALL OUR TELEPHONE LINES, these are reserved for customers only and we only serve Sussex and parts of Kent, honestly I do not have the time to provide over the phone technical support and never give my mobile number out. Thank you also for not filling out the website contact forms ore-mail us, again these are intended for customers only and you will either not receive a response or will receive one asking you to put your question and/ or comments into the blog comment section of the blog that you have read. This means that everyone reading the blog in the future will get the benefit of the question asked and the answer given.
Until next time
What Is Signal Polarisation?
Signal polarisations used with TV aerials, satellite, & wireless telecoms. Inc info on different polarity types & how to align correct.
UHF/ RF Modulators For TV Systems Explained
Read this for info on UHF/ RF Modulators for TV Systems. Inc Tips, advice, & instructions on how to install a modulator. Create TV channel.
Broadband/ Internet Without A Telephone or Landline
Read this for info on how to receive broadband/ internet without a telephone or landline at your property. Inc help, advice, pro's & con's.