BBC Worldwide are offering an international version of the iPlayer – but the content is all (g)old

Recently the Daily Mail posted an article entitled “Watch the BBC for just £52 – but only if you’re overseas“. In it, DM complains that it is unfair for people to be able to access the Global iPlayer and thus the BBC programming for considerably less than the annual license fee that you pay if living in the UK. The fact is, there is only old content – you will not be able to watch the latest ‘Eastenders’ or ‘Have I got news for you’.

Here’s what the BBC has got to say about it on the iPlayer youtube page.

The BBC iPlayer app is currently available in the following countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Please note, not all programming is available in all countries

So they keep it a bit hidden to try and get you to pay, but there it is in black and white even if they have tried to hide it under the ‘Read more’ link.

not all programming is available in all countries

Here the BBC states that BBC UK content is not available when abroad, but BBC Worldwide content is.

To sum it up, here is a comment on the article form the Daily Mail:

Typical DM misrepresentation. I am a Global iPlayer subscriber in Canada and I can tell you that the BBC is getting money for old rope, for the most part. Geez, what’s the re-sale value of years-old episodes of Graham Norton? There is some quality old stuff for Anglophiles such as myself (Porridge, That Was the Week That Was, Up The Junction, Rab C Nesbitt) but I think comparing Global subscribers to licence-payers is completely spurious. You get the current EastEnders, Jools Holland, Miranda, Luther, Match of the Day blah blah plus live telly and all that. I think the only current stuff I see is “Click” and fairly recent “Panorama” from time to time. And a lot of that is already available via BBC World, which is distributed by cable/satellite companies around the world.

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Expats Shield – can anyone get this to work?

Expat shield ( is the only VPN service I have found that is apparently free to use. I suppose they must use an advertising based business model to pay for it.
This would be great if the thing actually worked!

The installation went well enough. When you start the service, it opens your default browser with a button to connect… it didn’t! I uninstalled it and re-installed it, tried with the latest versions of four different browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE and Opera) and even installed it on an XP machine. Not a sausage! Bit of a shame really as it would be nice to able to watch the BBC and Hula for free.

Hide My Ass still seems to be the best option! Click here to go to the website –

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See how it’s possible to watch the iPlayer from any country

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How to watch the BBC iPlayer Abroad

So if you’ve read the previous two posts, you’ll understand the problem: How can I get to watch the BBC iPlayer if I don’t live in the UK, or for that matter, ABC channels if I don’t live in the US? The answer is a VPN – Virtual Private Network. When you sign on to a VPN, you essentially appear to be where the VPN Server is physically located. This could be in the UK, the USA, Australia etc.

Is this the same as a proxy? No: A proxy server is simply an address that you can set in your network settings to give you the impression of being somewhere else. The BBC and of TV streamers are savvy to this and can still tell where you really are. I tried and tried with UK proxies but none of them worked.

A VPN on the other hand, virtually transports you to the location of the server. It’s the system many companies use to allow employees to access the company network securely from any location. It is highly secure and cannot be fooled.

So how do I get a VPN? There are a number on the market, but the one I use is called ‘Hide My Ass’ dot com!! Great name! Anyway, it costs $78.66 per annum, which I think is great value. There is also a monthly option for short term trips away. I have been using it for around a year and a half now and have never had a single problem. The url is

I hope this wee blog will help you get going. Happy viewing!!

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OnSpeed Killed my PC!

I recently came across OnSpeed, which is a UK-based internet accelerator solution. It seems to use software called SlipStream, which originates in the US. It sounded good. €29.99 per year. Promised accelerated internet speeds and access to UK-based services such as the iPlayer.

Well, after installation, I didn’t see any improvement in speed, but I already have broadband, so I didn’t really expect much. It did however make the iPlayer work so I got pretty excited for a minute. However, after about 30 seconds, the picture froze and I got the annoying loading graphic. This continued regardless of browser, router restarts and general tearing out of what little hair I have left!!

After that it all started going really tits up. Chrome died. As did Outlook. Then the whole PC (Windows 7). I couldn’t click on the OnSpeed System tray icon to stop it either. After a restart, I did stop OnSpeed and everything started working again. The next time I started the computer, I forgot to stop OnSpeed and everything died again.

It’s now uninstalled and I’m asking for a refund!

I’ve been running HideMyAss for over a year now and have never had a technical problem… but you can read about that below!

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The BBC iPlayer and the ITV player

With broadband  Internet becoming the norm, the amount of TV channels being streamed is increasing daily. The BBC came up with the iPlayer and ITV with the originally named ITVplayer, both of which essentially do the same thing and that is stream TV programmes on the Internet. The big problem for those of us not living in the UK is that the Beeb know where you live! Your Internet provider assigns you an IP address when you logon and part of this address is the city you live in. The TV licencing laws only allow you to watch British TV if you are resident in the UK, so if you live in Vienna, you’re screwed!

How to watch the iPlayer when abroad

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British TV abroad via satellite

When I first moved to Austria, the only way to get British TV was via Sky. I bought a Sky box in the UK and got it set up at my parents’ address then simply took it with me to Vienna. This is still possible of course, but you can no longer get the BBC in most of Europe as the satellite signal is focused on the UK. However, if you live in northern France, the Netherlands or Belgium, you may still be in luck.

As I was not particularly willing to spend the 40 odd pounds a month on a Sky subscription I gave up for several years. Watching Rugby was only possible at the Irish pub, which, I suppose, is no great hardship, but works out more expensive than the Sky subscription! One cool trick is to point your dish at the 28.2 deg East and do a scan with your normal European receiver. At the end of the list you’ll see Stream 0, Stream 1 etc. to Stream 6. This is the BBC interactive stream, and you can tune in to big events like the rugby 6 nations as if you were watching the BBC in the UK.

Update 6th April 2012 – The BBC have moved this satellite stream. I tried to find it but it really seems to have died so it looks like to only way to watch the BBC iPlayer abroad is now over the internet.

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