For anyone with an interest in UK Television, be it ex-pats, Anglophiles or just lovers of great TV programmes – Christmas can bring some great online treats. The BBC iPlayer website for instance reruns loads of fantastic shows, documentaries, comedies and biographies over the festive season. There are also some wonderful shows broadcast for the first time which you can either pick up live or from the iPlayer site for a couple of weeks later.
I’m in the bracket of ex-pat abroad, although I do still live in the UK for most of the year. I have tried English language TV in many other countries and to be honest I haven’t found anything quite as good as the BBC. There’s some wonderful stuff on US TV, Canadian and Australian TV of course but usually accompanied with adverts every few minutes – incredibly annoying unless you’ve been brought up with this. For me I’ve been brought up with mainly non-commercial TV, namely the BBC and my favorite programmes are still there. For me, I’ve never seen a better sports show than Match of the Day, a better nature documentary than those by David Attenborough and of course the best Science Fiction drama ever made – Dr Who.
Which kind of brings me to the purpose of my post – how do you – watch Dr Who Christmas Special abroad? Or perhaps you’re stuck somewhere where the TV sucks or you can’t understand the language. Then having access to unlimited BBC can be a real boon, especially if you’re away from home and a little homesick. But of course, the BBC online content is not actually accessible if you’re outside the UK – the web site checks your location and if it’s not the UK then you get blocked.
But as you may have discovered there are solutions and one of the most popular are proxies. The secret is not changing your IP address like many would imagine, but hiding it from those who seek to restrict your access. A proxy is basically a server that sits between you and the site you want to visit, so the location of that computer actually affects what you can see. A UK proxy can allow you access to all UK media sites, a USA proxy will unlock the US sites like Hulu, Pandora and HBO for instance. Check this video out for an example –
As you can see it’s very simple, and although the example is on a computer there’s similar techniques that work on tablets, smart phones and TVs and most media streamers.