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Books/Movies/TV Watching British TV From Outside the Country

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) produces great dramas, comedies and news shows. Every household pays a TV license (around £150 per year) which pays for the BBC, so you have public ownership of the part of the media. There are three BBC channels - BBC One, BBC Two, and BBC Four. Recently BBC Three went to online only. BBC One has the best shows. BBC Four specializes in those Scandi murder shows.

There are other channels that are not part of the BBC – ITV, Channel Four, etc.

Use a VPN to Watch British TV Shows Online

Most of the British TV channels have websites where you can watch the shows if you missed them when they were broadcast. But, you can’t watch them online if you don’t live in the United Kingdom. Unless you use aVPN (Virtual Private Network). The VPN runs on your computer and makes it look like you are in the United Kingdom, so the websites work for you. Read more about a VPN.

Other Ways to Watch British TV

Look for them on the streaming services you use - Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, etc.

@Roz posts: Acorn has a lot of variety of British shows, and is well-priced ($4.99 a month, or $50 for a whole year). We really love our Acorn subscription. Just don't buy it through the iTunes store, which adds on an extra charge.

@Kathy posts: There's a new streaming service called Britbox. It's a partnership between the BBC and ITV and offers British programs. There is a seven day trial, then it's $6.99 a month and you can start and stop at any time.

Websites for British TV

BBC iPlayer – Watch shows online (streaming) or download iPlayer software which lets you download shows to your computer and keep them for a limited time (so you can watch offline).

Channel 4 OD (On Demand) – They show a lot of US series on this channel but they also produce British series. Walter Presents is a selection of European murder mysteries or dramas.

ITV Player – They produced the very popular Downton Abbey.
 

PatrickLondon

100+ Posts
If I could amplify a bit:

BBC One is their main entertainment and news channel. BBC Two was originally (50 years ago!) the alternative/experimental/culture channel, but these days seems mainly to be "lifestyle" programming and popular documentaries. As digital transmission, and then the internet, offered a wider range of opportunities, the BBC experimented with all sorts of specialised channels, before settling on BBC Three for more edgy youth-oriented programming, and BBC Four for high culture drama and music, documentaries and foreign language drama.

Of the commercial channels, ITV was the initial competitor to the BBC, and has a range of channels, the bulk of its mainstream entertainment and drama (shows like Broadchurch and Vera are theirs) being on ITV1. Channel 4 has been through a range of incarnations from its initial experimental/edgy reputation, and is a bit of a mixed bag, with some good observational documentaries, but quite a lot of ho-hum "reality" shows. Channel 5 is cheap-and-cheerful - if you like formulaic human interest documentaries and point-and-laugh "reality" series, that's where you'd look.

But with digital TV, there are also a range of add-on channels. ITV3 re-runs whole series of popular old shows, as does the UKTV stable (I think it's a conglomerate of the BBC and some commercial companies designed to get some more value out of their old programmes, but I'm not sure), which includes the Yesterday channel of mainly historical documentaries, and the Drama channel alongside some subscription channels. Channel 4's Film4 runs both new productions that it's invested in and old bought-in movies.
 

PatrickLondon

100+ Posts
Just an update to say the BBC iPlayer has got wise to VPNs, or at least the one I've been using and rejects connections where it's not sure of the final IP address of the user. Still, one can at least listen to the radio iPlayer from abroad.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Just an update to say the BBC iPlayer has got wise to VPNs, or at least the one I've been using

We'll be in Switzerland tomorrow and I will try it with Witopia. Usually if one location doesn't work, we try another - but we haven't had to do this (yet) for BBC. Thanks for the heads up!
 

PatrickLondon

100+ Posts
I should also report occasional problems with other online apps, e.g., for Channel 4. Quite apart from annoying bandwidth problems (variable, obviously) on most of them (BBC, ITV Player, UKTV Player, Channel 4), I found Channel 4 would hang on loading up the initial adverts, and I wonder if that's because it couldn't quite work out which ads to show to whatever IP address my VPN would have been displaying.
 

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