Getting British TV outside the UK

One of our top questions – how can I watch UK TV overseas? Some information for travellers and ex-pats.


British TV outside the UK?

We often get messages to this site from ex-pats looking to find out how to get British TV from outside of the UK, but as with many things in life, it’s not that easy.

There are several reasons why UK TV is restricted to the UK, but it mostly comes down to broadcast rights, copyright and territories.

UK TV content producers arrange for their shows to be broadcast in certain regions, and broadcasters pay to show content in those territories… if that content could be freely viewed in other countries, then the content creators can’t charge broadcasters in other countries.

Then there’s the BBC. In the UK, we pay the licence fee for BBC TV and radio programmes to be made and broadcast. As we have to pay in the UK, licence-fee payers aren’t overly happy about people outside the UK getting those shows for free.

The same is true of satellite TV from the UK, where subscription channels are encrypted and not available to non-UK residents.

Content and copyright management is a nightmare for broadcasters, and that’s why it’s so hard getting UK TV outside the UK.

On this page, we look at some of the options open to those outside the UK looking for access to UK content from outside the British Isles.


UK Satellite TV:

In the UK, Sky Digital provides subscription TV service via satellite. There’s also a free-to-view service from the BBC and ITV, called Freesat.

Sky LogoSky Digital: You can only allowed to watch Sky subscription channels if you’re living in the UK (including the Isle of Man and Channel Islands) or the Republic of Ireland. Sky will not accept subscriptions from outside of these areas. You need a UK postal address for billing reasons, and your set-top box needs to be connected to a UK phone line.

The main reason that Sky Digital does not sell subscriptions to non-UK residents relates to content usage… If Sky buys a hit show from the US to be shown in the UK, that’s for UK only – overseas broadcasters make their own arrangements.

Astra 2D footprintThe Sky signal is available outside the UK though. The nature of satellite broadcasting means that a signal from the satellites that distribute Sky Digital can be accessed outside of the UK.

Sky Digital is transmitted on SES Astra satellites located at 28.2°E and Eutelsat’s Eurobird 1 satellite located at 28.5°E – these have “footprints” that cover parts of Europe. To the right is a picture of the ‘footprint’ of the Astra 2D satellite, which provides the BBC Free-to-view channels. Many of the free-to-view channels from the satellites used for Sky can be accessed in parts of Europe, with a suitably-sized satellite dish. We have a page of information on what satellite channels are available without a subscription on our Free Satellite TV page.

The Radio and Telly website is intended for UK residents, and we aren’t able to provide any information on how to access Sky Digital outside the UK and Ireland. If you need help on how to access UK satellite TV outside of the UK and Ireland, perhaps try asking a question in our Sky forum.


UK Internet TV:

You’d be forgiven for assuming that with so many UK TV services available online, with services like the BBC iPlayer, that accessing British TV over the Internet should be easy.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and access to UK content is restricted by IP address, so can only be watched over a UK Internet connection.

Here’s some information on what is available online outside of the UK:

  • iTunes, the software from Apple, now has a good collection of BBC shows available to purchase and download. Go to to see what’s on offer.
  • There’s also a service called JumpTV. This offers TV from over 60 countries to provide live broadcasting of TV stations from around the world. More details at

For more on Internet TV services, see our dedicated Internet TV page.


The Slingbox Solution:

Slingbox is a clever solution for anyone looking to access TV from the UK over the Internet anywhere in the world.

The Slingbox connects to a home TV setup – via a TV aerial for UK Freeview, or to a satellite receiver or cable box in the UK. It also connects to Broadband via an Ethernet lead.

The practical upshot is that if you connect one of these to a TV aerial or a satellite box in the UK, then you can connect to Slingbox from any Broadband connection and watch UK TV remotely. Slingbox lets you change channels and control a recorder too.

By default, the Slingbox solution lets you watch TV on a PC or laptop, but you can use a product called a Sling Catcher to watch the output of a Slingbox on a TV.

Slingbox Pro
The Slingbox Pro

You can get a Slingbox online from PC World and Amazon.

More information can be found on the Slingbox solution on our Slingbox page.


Other options

  • In the US?BBC America may be your best bet – they are jointly owned by Discovery and the BBC, and import a number of UK shows. Also, check out the PBS channels, as these tend to that have a lot of British stuff.
  • Republic of Ireland? See our Sky in Ireland page



Other links:


  • Amjad

    This website is great but you might wanna try this website for free British TV Channel anywhere in the world

  • Stephen

    We’ve been watching many UK channels successfully via but yesterday most of them came up as ‘not available outside the UK’. Does anyone know why? And what to try next?

  • Bob

    We’re using to watch UK TV outside UK. We watch all our favourites on BBC iPlayer and ITV Player and all for absolutely free. We just pay a very small fee about £2.50 per month for the VPN service. We find we can watch the X Factor, Downton Abbey and I’m a Celebrity as easy as it would be back in UK.

  • My mate told me about the Pommy TV site he was using in Sydney to watch BBC & ITV on, seems to work fine for me in Duabi aswell.

  • Julie

    The best option by far is Works great in the middle east. No VPN. Watch from the laptop or through their apps for smart phones. Simple setup. You can pay for recording and HD if you want. Its fantastic. I cancelled my digital subscription for the tv. This is all i use now. I watch on ipad or use spple tv to send it through to the tv. My son uses samsung phone and sends the picture to the tv with chromecast dongle

  • For UK Free Online TV channels I couldn’t find better website than this one they recently upgrade their website and it is really easy and fully working now with most UK TV channels which can be watched abroad enjoy guys and don’t forget to share.

  • jo lyle

    we always watched uk terrestrial channels in northern Italy until about 3 years ago,I have been told its because satellite was changed,so now do I buy a smart tv,(I have uk sky)or how else can I access uk tv,I am fairly technically challenged,is there something fairly simple?

  • I would recommend a VPN to unblock overseas Tv while abroad.
    It can be a cheaper option.

  • Miakoda

    I live with a girl who watches UK TV. She doesn’t WANT to “steal” it and watch for free, but there isn’t even an option to pay for it. She insists “region locking cultures” is hindering people from understanding the cultures of others. I agree with her on that. When she got connected and watched some UK news, she was shocked to learn about issues going on over there that we never hear about in the US. I really just don’t understand why you can’t just pay for and watch whatever you want from whatever country you want – assuming you know the local language. She has said more than once that she’d happily subscribe, if they let her, instead of bypassing everything.

  • We’ve been watching uk tv in Mallorca with no trouble at all , all the channels and stable viewing .

  • Joy

    We have moved to a rental property that only has an Aeriel. We cannot get a signal to watch uk tv. What can we do ?

  • Steve E

    If I am a UK TV licence payer and resident and born in the UK, I should be able to watch the TV I pay for wherever I am. I think it is wrong that there is not a secure way to allow people in my situation watch the TV they pay for when abroad.

  • Chris

    Steve E Says:
    April 2nd, 2016 at 9:25 pm
    If I am a UK TV licence payer and resident and born in the UK, I should be able to watch the TV I pay for wherever I am. I think it is wrong that there is not a secure way to allow people in my situation watch the TV they pay for when abroad.

    There is, it’s called Slingbox.

  • John Wilson

    We were on a French caravan site in Grand Mott trying to get Free view on a 1.1 dish. We could get a really good signal from Astra 28.2 with a 90% and 72% quality but only get BBC World News. Along comes this motor Home with an 80cm roof mounted Auto dish – the guy said he knew nothing about satellites but promptly switched on his TV and said what do you want to view – BBC, ITV, Channel 4, channel 5, you name it. Do these Auto things have a subscription to view these channels and how do we get one?

  • Julie Alsaady

    You can watch UK tv abroad, no vpn, no fiddly settings. Use the app for filmon free or their website I have been using it for 2 years with no problems. I live in the middle east. Its completely free, no adverts and pop ups etc. I chose to pay as I wanted the recording feature $199 a year for 300 hours recording a month. I’m very happy with it

  • In my opinion, one of the best solutions is vpn. It is cheaper and at the same time safer. Besides, it helps to bypass blocked sites and make them accessible. By the way, it not only allows using the sites but also encrypted your data making it more secure.
    But actually what about the reason that American channels are blocked in Europe. I think this is not only because of copyright. In most cases the presentation of the same information is quite different, it changes depending on somebody’s interests. So you may be surprised facing with not coincident news.

  • Bob

    Why am I unable to received UKTV and catchup on my freeview play recorder.
    If you are going to answer me please make it as simple as possible

  • Bob


  • Julie Alsaady

    I would highly recommend
    No vpn needed. Its completely free. You can pay, I chose an annual package of $199 for their recording facility which gives me 300 hours a month. I cancelled all my local tv packages because of this and its all I use now.

    I cannot recommend it highly enough. Theres a website or an app.

  • Sally

    Personally we use Filmon, however, the menu is horrible and overloaded with too many channels that we would never watch. We found this site, that has all of the UK channels arranged in a really easy menu. The site is totally free of advertising, just click the channel and enjoy! We live in Spain and all of the channels work perfectly, even on our slow rural internet connection.

    • Julie Alsaady

      I agree the menu is overloaded somewhat. I only use the app which is much easier I have a star against my favourites. I love it though because I record what I want and then they all appear in a separate menu. $199 for a year I didn’t think was too bad for 300 hours a month. I’ll check out your link too although I don’t really watch ‘live’ tv that much.

  • I’ve tried many sites and apps but I think this one is really easy to use! It’s just what I need!
    I would recommend it for sure :)

  • I use a site that works brilliantly on my iPhone and Android tablet. Navigation is amazingly simple and you get most UK TV channels for free. The website is actually a web app but you can access it here Although built for mobile, it also works great on my laptop and iMac.

  • Tracy is great but over the last few months first Dave and now Quest have ‘disappeared’ so we are looking for other ways of watching these channels

  • Denny

    I use this website to watch british channels online outside Uk
    They have clean design and do not have too much ads.

  • Craken

    The best VPN I have used so far for viewing british channels outside UK is Pure VPN

    Works really good and they have an extension as well which makes it easy to use.

  • Stephanie

    I am unable to get onto this site anymore, it says cannot reach the page, does anyone have any ideas?

  • Ryan Stevens

    When I want to access the 4D Videos outside the UK then it is impossible for me to access without using VPN.
    But which VPN is the best to access the geo-restricted websites of 4D Videos? The difficult thing to answer but fortunately I found ExpressVPN as it is the best VPN service to access restricted websites and also able to secure your online activities. If you want to know details about ExpressVPN then here you will get authentic reviews about it: reviewsdir(dot)com/expressvpn-review/

  • I would recommend you to read this article: which will give you some great idea how to unblock blocked streaming site!

    Good luck with it !

  • stephen

    Is there a way to watch UK TV in the US for free – as in say freeview, through a TV, NOT through a computer connection?

    Thank you for any help you can offer.

  • Nolan

    Stream Faster UK TV Channels outside of United Kingdom with Best VPN Service Provider

  • Eric

    I have a great way to watch UK TV in the USA. All you need is android device with an HDMI out socket with the correct cable (usually micro usb to usb), iPlayer, itvhub and all the other on demand apps installed, and you can install any free VPN from the play store, there’s loads on there, such as turbo VPN. You will also need wi-fi in the location you are wanting to watch TV, and obviously access to a TV. Plug the hdmi into the device and the TV, select the correct HDMI input on the TV, you should see the tablet screen mirrored on the TV. Make sure your are connected to the WiFi. Open the VPN, somewhere in the VPN you can select with country where you want to connect to, select the UK. On turbo VPN you will see this as a union flag. Then open your on demand app of choice, for instance iPlayer. Then play.

  • Eric

    You can also use Chromecast, but it’s not as simple because as the tablet is needed to be on a VPN, and the Chromecast is not, the tablet will not connect to the Chromecast as it seems like it is on a different network due to the VPN. The way around this, at least for iPlayer, is to connect to the VPN and download the programs on iPlayer, then disconnect from the VPN to connect to the Chromecast, then play the download.

  • Thanks for a great article! Such a shame when filmon stopped ;(

  • peter

    I m pretty sure I should be able to watch all my netflix show from abroad

  • Geppo

    I had the same issue when I was aways from USA and couldn’t watch Netflix USA, then I finally discovered the solution! Magic happened ;)

  • Tony


  • Eric


  • ryna jones

    Everyone I know uses now to view the UK channels here in Spain. You get BBC, ITv, 4 on demand and 5 player and then you can add Sky channels on a pay as you go basis.

  • Chris

    To View some of these services you need an internet connection so if you’re in a rural area you can use Satellite Broadband from if you are in the UK you can also receive 4G.

  • lgeorgehsv

    Try this new service:

  • Katie Wilson

    I currently have FastestVPN on my main desktop PC for safe P2P connectivity for my PLEX server with the Kill Switch enabled. Since my desktop PC pretty much runs 24/7, this feature is a must as I do not want file sharing to resume outside of my VPN in the event the VPN ever fails.

  • Deryck High


  • In this digital age getting access to any region can make it possible quite easily, you can use VPN(Virtual Private Network) gives you the secure platform to access any region in no time through VPN, I recently subscribed Fastest
    VPN if anyone wants please check it out

  • sop

    Get a VPN for the UK streaming sevrices e.g iPlayer.
    Get a satellite dish for the Freesat UK telly.
    Job done

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