If you’re missing your favourite international TV shows and regular TV channels, read on for some solutions like streaming BBC iPlayer on AppleTV, from Tekkie Help.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
One of the most common ways to work around regional restrictions and watch international content is to install a VPN. This lets you connect through a third-party server, making it look, to the external world, like your computer is actually located in the UK, or indeed anywhere in the world that you choose.
When you want to watch something, you just connect through the VPN and start downloading. You can watch these TV channels on your computer or use AppleTV or Chromecast to stream the content to your television.
If you have a Smart TV or AppleTV, you may wish to connect it to the VPN – in order to do this, the VPN needs to be configured on the router or the device. One of the downsides of watching through a VPN “tunnel” is that there are often bottlenecks in the streaming path, resulting in buffering or reduced picture quality. For this reason, we advise against configuring the main household router with a VPN and instead recommend investing in a dedicated VPN router and connecting the devices to it.
There are a number of VPN services available; some are better than others, and the cost per month can vary quite a lot from free to around $10 per month.
Domain Name System (DNS)
An alternative to a VPN is to subscribe to a DNS service, such as GetFlix (highly recommended). When you access sites with geo-blocks it automatically bypasses the blocks by providing you with a local IP address.
DNS offers a more seamless viewing experience as streaming speed is generally higher. And it can be configured directly on computers, as well as AppleTV, without any impact on performance; this negates the need to connect every time you wish to watch. As AppleTV can be configured with a DNS, it means that you’re able to access the region-specific apps – BBC iPlayer, for example – directly on your TV.
Amazon Fire Stick, AppleTV & Roku
These are devices that have content apps pre-loaded. Access will be dependent on the region of your account and the location the device was purchased in. They need to be used in conjunction with a DNS or VPN service and can be used to stream content on your computer to your TV. We find AppleTV to be the most stable and reliable option.
Which solution for me?
It will depend on what you want to see and what equipment you have. You may need a combination of methods to let all the family get their favourite TV channels! Tekkie Help can provide tailored advice and set up a solution for you. It usually takes around one hour, and the cost is $160 for the first hour and $120 for any subsequent hour.
Special offer: Mention Expat Living to get a 10 percent discount on Tekkie Help’s hourly rate!
This article first appeared in the September 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!