Those of us who spend a lot of time online often choose to view TV and films on the computer instead of on their TV. In fact, often these days the computer is the TV. Sadly though, some of the world’s best content is restricted to certain countries, without the option of allowing citizens elsewhere to just pay for access. Instead they seem content to allow third parties to profit by offering perfectly legal hacks.
So, if you’re a fan of Internet TV, but not a fan of “Sorry, you can’t view this content in your country” notices then read on. Here’s three great (mostly free) ways to get access to your favourite content worldwide, particularly the BBC iPlayer.
The first method most people try to use is by using a proxy. Proxies can work really well for some sites, but not at all for others. Plus, active proxies come and go all the time. Sometimes you can spend quite a while just trying to get things to work – and even then it can leave you with a flaky or slow connection!
However, if you’re going to give proxies a try, here’s some cool tools to help you:
Some starting points for proxies:
- Xroxy.com – List of proxies by reliability and country
- Free Public Proxy Servers List
- CoDeeN Princeton Proxy Servers
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Using a VPN will usually work for accessing most video sites. However, the downside is that you’ll usually have to pay for access or convince a friend in the desired country to host a VPN server for you.
Here’s a few articles on VPNs you might like to read:
- Secure Your Internet Activity with ibVPN [Giveaway]
- 7 Completely Free VPN Services To Protect Your Privacy
We won’t go into too much detail on generic VPN access, since if you know how to use one you probably don’t need more information. There are also a few specific tools (mostly based on VPNs) which are free, easy to use and they work!
Expat Shield is a free program for Windows users (Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7) which gives you a UK IP address. It does all the fussing about for you and simply works. Because it gives you a UK IP address, it will allow access to sites as if you are in Britain, but not allow access to country-specific sites from elsewhere. In order to pay the bills, Expat Shield asks you to pay a small amount for Elite Access to watch BBC iPlayer.
Tunlr is a simple, free tool designed to give you access to any video sites anywhere. They do the hard work at their end to ensure that you have access to Netflix, Hulu, MTV, CBS in the US, plus BBC iPlayer and other great services from various countries.
As a user, all you need to do from your end is to change your DNS (Domain Name System) servers to use their addresses. It’s easy to set up and once you’re done it just works. Now, you can’t go leaving your DNS settings like this though, as they have a lot of people to serve. In order to remind you to change back to your own ISP’s DNS servers for everyday use, they artificially slow down any network traffic that isn’t video streaming.
TunnelBear is a free tool for Windows and Mac users, which uses a simple switch to give you a US or UK IP address whenever you want it. The only catch is that the free account is limited to 500MB per month, so you’ll need to be sparing with it if you want to keep your access free. Read more about how to Access US-Only Websites Internationally For Free With TunnelBear.
Mix It Up For Free BBC iPlayer Access
So, you’ve tried all these services and you want to keep your access free? Here’s a plan of attack: Use Tunlr, ExpatShield, a VPN or a proxy in order to download your BBC iPlayer shows. You could choose “Series Record” for all your favourite shows and leave the computer downloading them all while you’re busy elsewhere.
Then when you want to watch your shows and authenticate iPlayer, use TunnelBear to quickly switch you to a UK IP address while you watch. To keep TunnelBear free, ensure that you’re not using any data while you’re watching.
More About Watching BBC
If you love the BBC, check out these articles too:
- BBC Launches International iPlayer iPad App With Subscription [News]
- How To Watch TV On The Web With BBC iPlayer [Mainly UK Only]
- How can I access BBC iPlayer outside the UK?
- 5 Channels To Visit When You Reach BBC Online
- 8 Of The Funniest BBC Comedies Of All Time [Stuff to Watch]
Note: If you work for the BBC and you think this is unfair, please consider simply letting us pay a monthly/yearly BBC fee for access. There are a lot of us who would pay you! The iPad application is a good start.
What’s your favourite way to get access to BBC iPlayer?