The BBC’s website is one of the most popular destinations on the entire web. It’s not really surprising as the BBC is renowned for producing world class television programmes and you can watch all of it online. Most programmes are streamed live and also stored on the huge BBC iPlayer archive, most of it for about 30 days but often a little longer.
IN fact for many people the BBC is all they need for their television, as there’s so much to choose from. There are about 12 channels online covering everything from current affairs, drama to comedy and even kids programmes. All of this is broadcast without any advertising breaks whatsoever although you will see some trailers for other BBC programmes before each one starts.
Millions of course watch the BBC both on their TV sets and online in the UK, but it’s when you try and watch from somewhere else that the disappointment begins. Due to a variety of reasons, the BBC doesn’t allow you to watch any of their programmes from outside the UK. It sounds stupid, after all the internet wasn’t supposed to have an geographical boundaries but it’s true.
As soon as you visit the BBC website, your IP address is checked. This is the unique internet number which is assigned to you when you connect to the web. If it’s registered in any other country than the UK then you’ll get redirected to the ‘International’ version of the UK web site. This is pretty good, but it has none of the TV and radio streaming at all. If you do bulldoze your way directly to the BBC iPlayer site, then you’ll just get blocked every time you try and stream a programme.
However the simple fact is that millions of people do get access to the BBC from all over the world and they have been doing so for years. It just takes a little tweak to hide your real location, covered in the following section.
Bypassing the BBC UK IP Restrictions
So what’s the secret? How do you watch the BBC abroad, well it’s actually quite easy and can be done by virtually anyone. Probably the easiest way to explain it is by watching this video.
It’s basically a technical version of hide and seek, all you have to do is hide your real location and pretend that you’re in the United Kingdom. It’s possible by two main methods currently, firstly by connecting via a VPN server based in the UK. This means that the BBC never sees your real address only the IP address of the UK server.
The other method is to use something called Smart DNS which is demonstrated in the video. It works in a similar way but instead of routing your entire internet connection through the VPN server, only a small proportion of your traffic is changed. This has the huge advantage of hiding your real location but then streaming the video directly to your client. Not only is this much cheaper for the provider as the bandwidth used is much less. It’s also much quicker as there’s no extra step your traffic has to take, the impact a VPN can have on your internet speed can be significant.
Well there it is, that’s all you need to do. It does cost money, which many online seem horrified by the concept of. However if you think that someone needs to pay for, support and maintain the servers involved. Plus they need to finance the bandwidth used and keep the servers running properly doesn’t seem unreasonable. After all wouldn’t it seem a little strange for someone to spend all that money and effort to provide it all for free. Why should anyone go to all that trouble for complete strangers to download stuff for free.
Most of the Smart DNS services are pretty cheap anyway, mainly because of the points mentioned above. However you will pay slightly more for a VPN simply because of the bandwidth that it uses, which obviously has a cost assigned to it.