Watching TV hasn’t been confined to the box for a long time. There are numerous websites out there that allow you to watch live television broadcasts from numerous countries.
Although there are plenty of great VOD (video on demand) services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, not everyone’s prepared to sit by while the new Game of Thrones or Walking Dead is airing in the States. Sports fans might prefer to stream international football as it happens, without having to settle for the highlights, and followers of current affairs may wish to digest their news through foreign sources.
Many of these services, however, are region-specific – meaning they can only be used by people located in the same area as the website’s servers. If you’re looking to get around these restrictions, you’re going to need a VPN. A VPN (virtual private network) allows you to connect to a private network over the public network. It provides access to all Geo-restricted websites and will secure your browser from being tracked by your ISP, as well as any hackers. If you’re looking to access a blocked Internet television service, just choose one of your VPN’s servers which is based in that region. It really is that easy.
There are several great websites out there, many of which are not mentioned in the list below, but here you’ll find some great platforms for keeping up to date with all your favorite shows; whether you’re an expat missing home, or just looking to tune in from abroad.
Best Website for Watching Live Television
If you’re looking to watch free-to-view British television, then TVCatchup is for you. It retransmits channels from many of the major broadcasters, like ITV, Channel 4, and BBC, and is also available in app form for iOS and Android. Aside from some advertising on the website, more than 10 million people use it to keep up with UK sport, drama and news.
With more than five million tuning in each month, Pluto.TV has become a popular online-based TV provider. It works across AppleTV, Roku, and PlayStation – as well as several other platforms – and is funded through advertising, just like TVCatchup. With more than 75 different content partners, it now offers 100 channels to pick and choose from. They vary between movies, news and sports, as well as TV shows. It’s also the place to go for Hulu’s free video content.
Although YouTube may not be a conventional means to watch typical television, it’s a great place to stream live content. It just recently allowed its users to live stream straight from the webcam, which has opened viewers up to newer concepts of live viewing. It’s become a much more popular service recently, and viewers can now view everything from live gaming and music performances to footage from the International Space Station.
With its paid service, YouTube TV, you can browse and record a vast catalogue of content from major networks, with something for everyone. And after just recently securing its position as the first ‘Presenting Partner’ for the NBA finals, no doubt this will lead to more broadcasts transferring online.
Although they’re not used for streaming live TV, VOD services are worth mentioning. They haven’t just grown in popularity for their convenience. Many of these services, like Netflix and Amazon, work alongside senior and junior filmmakers to offer their own high-budget, original productions, which can only be legally accessed through a paid subscription. Also, much of their content is exclusive to certain regions, which you’ll need a VPN to access.
Some other popular on-demand services include BBC iPlayer, Now TV, All 4, and Sky Go.
Best VPNs for Streaming
NordVPN is one of the most effective VPN providers for streaming because of its Smart Play technology. Like other VPNs, it allows users to bypass Geo-restricted web content. However, it differs from others because it automatically routes your request to the correct server. This features ia available across all of its apps, and more than 400 streaming websites.
It has approximately 3000 servers based worldwide, and as for security, it offers a 256-bit encryption, a kill switch feature and a no-log policy.
Cost: 1 month plan - $11.95 (billed monthly) / 12 month plan - $69.00 (billed annually) / 24 month plan - $79.00 (billed biannually)
Even though VyprVPN has around 700 servers worldwide – compared to NordVPN’s 3000+ – its total control of its networks means it can deliver lightning speeds. If you’re using streaming services like Sky Go with 4K streaming, this would be a good choice for you.
It comes with the industry standard of 256-bit encryption, multiple protocols and a no-log policy. VyprVPN also has its own security technology called Chameleon. To deliver a high level of output consistently, the technology combats VPN throttling and blocking.
Cost: Standard 12 Month Plan - $60.00 (billed annually) / Premium 12 Month Plan - $80.00 (billed annually)
ExpressVPN is the more expensive service of the three, but certainly one of the most robust and reliable. It’s supported by more than 1500 servers, located across more than 90 countries, so it can offer fast and dependable speeds for streaming. Not only is it secure, with a 256-bit encryption, zero-logging, and a kill switch feature, it’s also highly effective on mobile devices, including the Blackberry.
Cost: 1 Month - $12.95 (billed monthly) / 6 Months - $59.95 (billed biannually) / 12 Months - $99.95 (billed annually)