How To Watch International Television From The UK
One of the major disadvantages to living in the UK is having to wait months to see our favourite US TV shows on our screens, especially when the internet is a plethora of spoilers. Some of our economist buddies might even call it ‘market failure.’ However, there are a few ways to hack the system and watch the television you want, how you want it. Here’s how to watch international television from the UK.
Warning: Security issues may exist among VPNs. Any actions taken as a result of reading information on these pages are at the reader’s own risk. Please adhere to the Terms and Conditions of all services mentioned in this article.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network, or VPN, is a means of connecting a computer to a remote network. Instead of connecting to the internet using a normal network such as broadband, users connect to a separate network and send and receive data through that network. They are thus able to benefit from the files, software and security of the private network from an external location.
What can you use a VPN for?
VPNs are usually used for people to access the internet, files and software from a different location to where these items are stored. For example, people working away from the office will often connect to a VPN to gain access to their files and functionalities stored locally on their office computers.
Television lovers will also be keen to hear that VPNs can also be used to access geo-blocked content online. Websites such as American on demand giant Hulu know where you are based from your IP address – by logging into a VPN, you can acquire that network’s IP address. If a user accesses a US based VPN, their IP address will be American and they will be able to access usually restricted content. In addition, users are virtually anonymous, with their IP masked by that of the VPN.
Advantages to using a VPN
Anonymous web browsing: A VPN changes your IP address to the IP address of the VPN, enabling users to mask their identity when browsing online.
VPNs can be completely encrypted to protect users from hackers, neighbours or nosy agencies. This is especially useful at free Wifi locations. The VPN creates a private ‘tunnel’ for your data to travel through. Even if your data is intercepted, your identity will be protected through the VPN masking your IP address.
VPNs can be easy to set up if the device has a VPN client installed.
How to set up your own VPN
Firstly, you will need to configure your device for VPN. Some devices already have VPN clients installed, whereas others will have to be connected to a VPN enabled router prior to setting up your VPN.
You will then need to obtain a VPN account, which are available for a small cost online. The details procured from your account will need to be fed into the VPN enabled router as per the router’s instructions.
Once you’ve set up your router, connect streaming devices to this router via a wireless or wired network.
All devices connected to your VPN router will now be connected to the internet using the router’s IP address.
However, if you’re not willing to set up your own VPN, there are plenty of easy alternatives for television fans to try out:
Easy hacks for the international telly fan
There are a number of browser plugins that act as a VPN, allowing users to watch international television by locating them in those countries.
The best of the lot is Hola, although some reports have questioned the security issues of this service – so use at your own risk. Hola is available to download from hola.org and is compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Safari. If you’re using Chrome, you can also find Hola in the Extensions section of the Chrome web store.
Using Hola works for Netflix US and most US on demand services. You will still, obviously, have to set up an account with Netflix US (which is a small price to pay for three times the content of Netflix UK).
There’s an easy way of setting up a US iTunes account from offshore. Simply buy an US iTunes gift card for the amount you would like to spend on eBay, then set up a US iTunes account using the gift card voucher code in lieu of billing details. This can be done from a UK based computer without need for a VPN.