Watch UK TV Abroad: The Ultimate How To Guide
Access every channel, on every network… anywhere in the world
The entertainment age has come a long way over the course of the past decade. With blisteringly fast internet speeds, increased bandwidths and some groundbreaking software and hardware developments, the era of watching television at set times, within a set timezone, within specified countries is over and done with. Regional television entertainment has become a global demand yet many networks are not embracing the changes in user habits due to contractual obligations, an unwillingness to change with the times and mainly, because the sheer emergence of technology threatens their very existence. Yet these very same networks and organisations that fail to recognise and move with the changes will soon be redundant and shortly afterwards, extinct.
The fact is, traditional means of receiving television signals via aerial, cable or satellite nowadays seems old fashioned and restrictive. Take a look around most households and there will be at least one device that can receive and present live streaming media. Anything from a humble desktop PC or Mac, to a laptop, tablet or smartphone. The options available to the consumer to take streaming media on the go isn’t part of a future vision, it’s here right now. And the mainstream networks know it!
With the ability to travel and move freely across numerous continents and border, the world has become a smaller and more accessible place. Business travel has never been so prevalent, migration from country to country is more commonplace than ever and the variety in tastes and demands all the more eclectic. So is it any wonder that consumers now want to dictate the television content they watch and when they want to watch it? Not at all.
The fact is, a television is a bulky and heavy object. Add to that the cables, the power demands and of course the connectivity of having to be hooked up to a cable provider or worse still, a bulky satellite dish on the roof; it already feels outdated and clumsy. Handheld technology allows freedom to move and internet streaming offers ways to watch the content we want, wherever we are; whenever we like.
Internet Streaming vs Traditional Television
Really there’s no contest. There’s so many ways to watch UK TV abroad that there’s always the perfect solution to practically anybody’s demands. As previously mentioned there’s ways to watch on your existing devices but there’s also ways to watch on your TV but with greater diversity of channel choices, languages, regions and genres. So let’s take a look at some of the options out there:
Perfect for the frequently traveller, vacation user and type who’s always on the go, VPN’s are seen as the most accessible and low cost way of getting access to foreign TV for expats and viewers who are not based within the UK, as they can use a virtual private network to gain a local UK internet protocol address and instantly unlock access to a variety of on-demand UK TV websites. The major networks such as BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five all have their own dedicated on-demand services and so too do satellite subscription providers such as Sky as well. All of these services barring Sky are free to access however, there’s a lot of service providers out there offering ways to get hold of a Sky Go account and this makes using a VPN very attractive to the type of user who is always on the go and has a fairly reliable broadband internet speed. It’s also fairly cheap too!
These little boxes are without doubt the most desirable and impressive option out there for consumers who want the world’s TV beamed straight into their living room. Costing less than $100 in most countries, an IPTV set-top box such as a MAG250 or MAG255 is no larger than your average Apple TV box yet packs some impressive features. If connected to one of the many impressive service providers out there, there’s literally no country’s TV you can’t get your hands on so if you want all the UK terrestrial and satellite television stations plus more at your fingertips for the fraction of the normal cost, this is the best option for you.
These little IPTV boxes are great because they allow users to record shows direct to a USB stick and in many cases, already have channels pre-recorded within the integrated 7-day EPG, meaning you can watch any show in any timezone, whenever you wish. A dream come true for expats is massively differing timezones like Australia or West Coast USA.
These boxes are also 1080p HD native and stream pictures at an unbelievably clear resolution so if you demand a wide variety of channels, with high quality images and sound, this is the option for you. The only downside is you have to have your box connected to a TV so in an age of portable devices, this is where this one falls down.
Seen as a best of both worlds, the humble Slingbox offers consumers a way to watch high quality UK television streams on their TV and on portable devices via an installed app. It does unsurprisingly, come at a price however!
Although less commonplace than years gone by, mainly due to the fact that Slingmedia hasn’t brought any major new upgrades out to compete with the likes of the IPTV set top boxes, Slingboxes still offer some impressive features for those who know the exact television they wish to watch. A Slingbox must be hooked up to an existing source such as a cable box or satellite receiver at which point, it converts the signal to streaming digital data which is then sent peer-to-peer to the end user and never shared. The end user can then either use their in-built app on their tablet or phone or set-top device (such as a WD Media Player, Slingcatcher or Roku) to watch the channels they wish, that their box is transmitting.
So the end result is a very tailored solution but one that is very restrictive in terms of choice. You can only watch the channels that your source can receive so whilst an IPTV box can connect to multiple sources, a Slingbox can only connect to one. But it does mean, you have complete control over your content and you are never at the mercy of an unscrupulous service provider suddenly losing dozens of channels with no explanation or support. So if you know what you want to watch and can get a solid system set up, a Slingbox is ideal for those who want reliability and security.
So all in all, it’s clear that the world is moving away from traditional terrestrial and satellite television viewing habits. Already, the world is moving towards on-demand via services such as Netflix, Amazon and Virgin Media. These trends are only set to continue so it will be an interesting few years to come as we witness a major turning point in world television entertainment delivery.