You may have noticed that many of the big web sites have decided that they are not too keen on this big, free, sharing model of the internet. Not so long ago you could log in to a machine anywhere in the world and surf around with impunity – but not any longer.
The businesses involved have decided they prefer a sort of restrictive model that also makes them lots of cash. So now people get filtered based on their location - for example forget watching BBC Iplayer abroad in the US or Japan for free, it’s not going to happen (well not without some sneakiness of course). Yep and the loveable BBC have decided against the public spirited World Service model of sending out their content for free, instead they restrict it just to people in the UK. This is especially annoying for the people like me who already pay the license fee but can’t watch the BBC when they’re out of the country.
But don’t worry here’s a way which will allow you to access anything you like including the BBC, Hulu irrespective of your location. It doesn’t matter where you’re based, you can choose. The solution works in most scenarios so for an example – here’s how to use a proxy to access BBC Iplayer outside the UK.
BBC Iplayer Proxy Workaround.
Firing up BBC Iplayer outside the UK you’ll pretty soon try and watch something and be greeted with the following message.
It looks like some technical wizardry of the highest order, but fortunately for us it’s not. When we connect to BBC Iplayer, the site records your IP address and looks up which country it’s registered in – if it’s a UK address the show will start playing otherwise you get the above platitude.
Now for these illustrations I’m going to use my subscription to Identity Cloaker, you can theoretically use free UK proxies for this though. Unfortunately finding any free proxies capable of streaming video is a full time occupation but if you try it – good luck !!
I just open Identity Cloaker and scroll down to select one of the UK proxies and that’s it. From this point even though I’m connecting through the Wifi at an overpriced Spanish hotel in Barcelona – it doesn’t matter. The BBC will think I’m in the UK as it looks at the IP address of the proxy server and not mine.
So using a BBC Iplayer proxy works incredibly well, here’s what I see now.
Here’s a video of the process …that I hope explains it.
Instead of the warning when watching BBC Player using a proxy I get the play button and can watch whatever I want. In fact the IP check is at start of the show so if I need to I can just disconnect from the proxy using Identity Cloaker software and stream it directly through my Spanish connection.
Is it enough to cheer me up after just having my wallet stolen in a Barcelona bar? Well probably not but being a fanatical Dr Who fan it might just save me from an evening spent drowning my sorrows drinking overpriced San Miguel from the Minibar.
(Note to all visiting Barcelona - if some nice couple seem overly concerned about marks you have on the back of your jacket and offer to help you. Then punch them/call police – you are having your wallet stolen – yes I did fall for it!)
Just for the record – you can use a free proxy for this, the reason a legendary skinflint like me doesn’t is simple. It generally takes several hours of searching to find a fast enough UK proxy to stream from the BBC Iplayer site. That actually wouldn’t be too bad if you only had to do it once but the next day it will almost certainly have disappeared. For a one off it might be worth it though.
Here’s the link for Identity Cloaker – I can recommend the 10 day trial if you’re just away on a trip or holiday, or just to see if it works. There are loads of other services who offer something similar though, but this is simply the one I found to be fastest and best value.
If you want to watch using an Ipad – try this post about watching BBC Iplayer on the Ipad Abroad.
Updated – 07/05/2013