Category: TV

BBC iPlayer Proxy – Using One Abroad in 2018

For many years now, there’s been a worrying trend developing on the internet.  What was once all free and open is now hidden behind paywalls or being blocked and censored.  Sometimes it’s whole governments but more often it’s down to commercial companies.  Take for example the BBC, their wonderful iPlayer application is hugely popular but if you step outside the United Kingdom then you’ll be instantly blocked.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve a large standing order paying for your TV license, if you’re not in the UK you can’t watch it.

There was some hope, that the European Union would solve this problem as they were trying to implement a ‘single digital market” which would make it illegal to block access like this.  ye with the onset of Brexit, it’s unlikely the BBC will bother doing anything about this now.

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 proxy in the US or Japan for free, it’s not going to happen (well not without some sneakiness of course). Yep and the lovable 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 Beebs iplayer, 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.

BBC proxy

Ha Ha No IPlayer for You

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 IP 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 used to be able to use free proxies but they no longer work unfortunately.

There are a couple of free uk proxy server services but they finance themselves by inserting adware on your computer and some even share your out your internet connection, stay clear !!  In the good old days you could also use things like foxy proxy and the extremely dodgy hola firefox too.

BBC iplayer proxy chrome

Choose a UK Proxy for IPlayer

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 proxy works incredibly well, here’s what I see now.

Firefox VPN

Latest Dr Who from BBC Iplayer

Here’s a video of the process …that I hope explains it.

Instead of the warning when watching the BBC through a UK iPlayer proxy I get the play button and can watch whatever I want.  You’ll also be able to access the live TV streams when connected too. 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 run away/call police – you are having your wallet stolen – yes I did fall for it!) 

Just for the record – you can unfortunately no longer use the free proxy services for this, the BBC have blocked them all and many of the commercial VPN services too.  Any of the companies who openly advertise the BBC on their website will often find themselves targeted by the BBC legal and technical teams – it’s best to be low key which is why the best services don’t mention the iPlayer specifically.

Here’s the link for Identity Cloaker – I can recommend the 10 day . 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.  I’ve been using it for over 8 years now as a BBC proxy without a problem and it also works for ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky GO.

If you want to watch using an Ipad, Smartphone or tablet you can use Identity Cloaker too just by setting up a VPN manually on pretty much any other device.  Yes for BBC iPlayer proxy ipad too. – try this post about watching BBC Iplayer on the Ipad Abroad.

Finding an Australian Proxy to Watch Videos and Media Sites

If you’ve ever had a need to find an Australian proxy to watch videos then you’ve probably discovered that it’s not easy. Actually finding a decent free one is pretty much impossible – believe me I’ve tried. The reason I’ve tried is that I have a few friends from Sydney who are working in the UK for a little while and they really miss their TV shows and news from ABC (the Australian one). Now normally I wouldn’t be arsed about this – from what I’ve heard Aussie TV is pretty awful. However this bunch are great and I guess you get homesick so I wanted to try and help them out.

To access the shows and stuff on ABC they have a system a bit like BBC Iplayer but their version is called IView. It only allows you to stream shows not download them and unfortunately like the majority of these sites – most of the content is Geo-Blocked. Basically it means that if you connect from outside Australia then you’ll get blocked from viewing.

Australian Proxy to Watch Videos

Blocked to copyright reasons, digital rights – blah, blah, blah, which is what you’ll get for any non-Australian IP address. So you need to view using an Australian VPN or proxy to watch most of the content on the ABC site. If you want to try and find a free proxy to use then this site is probably the best chance – Proxies filtered by country. I looked for a few days and never found one fast enough to stream video unfortunately but you might be luckier.

The other free option I looked at was to use TOR and Foxy Proxy. Basically this has the same problem with finding an Australian exit node which works well _ I’d give this a miss unless you have about 10 hours a day spare (every day!).

After making some calls I discovered that one of the main reasons that Australian proxies are so hard to find is that bandwidth costs are extremely expensive in Australia and so running an open proxy will get extremely expensive very quickly. These costs unfortunately are reflected in the private companies who offer these services as well – they’re either very expensive or completely overloaded. The vast majority don’t even bother with Australian servers due to the high cost.   In fact they’re nearly as expensive as some of the residential ip providers which you only currently need for Netflix.

So I’ve highlighted two companies which offer the best deals – both offer very reasonable subscriptions and short term/trial options which don’t lock you into automatic subscriptions (which many do!). They both also include Australian servers as well as servers in loads of other countries – e.g US for American sites like Hulu, NBC and Pandora and UK for the BBC Iplayer. Lots of other countries included for free as well.

Here’s one in action from Youtube…..

It’s entitled Using an Australian Proxy if you want to watch it here on YouTube site.

Don’t sign up for a long subscription with anyone initially. There can be routing and speed problems to Australian proxies from some ISPs – you should check with a trial or short account first. Although check out the Aussie sites you need first, ABC for instance seems to change – some of the content is accessible to anyone a lot of the time. You might not even need to change VPN to Australia, check first that you are actually being blocked – you might save yourself some cash 🙂

Aussie Proxy/VPN Recommendations.

Anyway I checked a load of these services and here’s my favorite, better than everything else I looked at.

Identity Cloaker – Have now added some Australian proxies to their subscription, they have more servers but perhaps less countries (focus on UK and USA servers) than the other top services.  However personally I prefer fast servers in specific countries rather than servers all over the place.

The Australian proxy servers were very quick with the latest version of Identity Cloaker software which uses a compression algorithm to speed it up. Use the . to test, very good support.

Update -2018 – Found another one and it’s fantastic for Australian channels (and lots of other stuff).  It’s actually a Smart DNS solution and you don’t really need and Australian proxy to watch videos anymore. the advantage of this is that the entire connection isn’t streamed through another server which makes it much quicker. What’s more you don’t need to take my word for it as they have a free trial here.

 

 

How to Watch BBC Iplayer Abroad on Ipad From Outside the UK

This page is for all of those who get really fed up that the minute we step outside the UK all the online UK TV sites stop working. Especially of course the BBC iPlayer, which many of us use everyday! If you want to watch BBC Iplayer on a PC/Laptop – Try this post first – How to Use a Proxy to access Iplayer – below follows step by step instructions on using BBC iPlayer abroad on your iPad.

I’ve been using the VPN function of Identity Cloaker for several years to access the BBC abroad on my computer. However I often get emails about whether you can use it on different devices to watch BBC, ITV and other online TV players. Well you can use it on most devices, including Smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Anyway here’s simply how to set up Identity Cloaker on the iPad, the steps for an iPhone, Mac or Android Device are pretty similar too- details if you’re using Identity Cloaker are in the members area.

Accessing the BBC Iplayer (and ITV player) is actually pretty simple to do.  The reason is that the vast majority of their security servers are VPN enabled. That means  all you have to do is set a simple VPN connection on your IPad to a specific server and then you can enable it when required.   The functionality is built into the iPad so nothing too difficult is required – let’s show an example for accessing the BBC Iplayer channels abroad.

So How Can You Watch BBC Iplayer Abroad? Even From the US on Your IPad?

Right, so most of us have discovered that if you happen to be outside the UK, then the BBC Iplayer won’t work properly.  When you connect to the IPlayer site it checks your IP address to see where you are located.  If it discovers that you are connecting from outside the United Kingdom then you won’t be able to watch anything ! To be fair, BBC Iplayer is not the only media site to do this.   Hulu blocks all non-US access – the same goes for ABC, NBC and Pandora too. The great little media player from the French broadcaster M6Replay is also limited to access within France (if you know someone learning French get them to check it out – it’s great practice watching the Simpsons in French!)

The solution on the PC is very simple, you just use something like Identity Cloaker to conceal your true IP address and present one from the correct country.  The solution is actually similar on the IPad (you can use the same technique on the Mac/Iphone/Ipod as well) – you just need to connect to a server based in the UK (or which ever country you need).

For this all you need to do is to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to the country in question, for the BBC it’s obviously the UK. This video shows the steps needed, it’s called Setting up a VPN on an iPad

How to Enable a VPN on your Ipad from Neil Greenhoff.
If you prefer pictures, then here’s how you set up the VPN on the iPad it takes about a minute if  you have the information to hand.   Just set it up, enable the VPN and you’ll be watching the BBC Player outside UK borders in no time at all.

On your iPad –

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select General
  3. Select Networks
  4. Select VPN

This should bring you to this screen –

how to watch bbc iplayer abroad on ipad

You can see in this screen I’ve already set up a US VPN which I use for Hulu and Pandora.  Here you just need to select Add VPN Configuration and you should reach this screen.

Identity Cloaker ipad

It looks complicated but honestly it’s not.

You just need to leave it set to L2TP at the top and then put the following details in.  You’ll need to get the details from Identity Cloaker for section 2 and 6 which you can find in their members area.  If you’re using a different VPN provider it’s likely you’ll have to do the same (although a couple publish the information I think)

  1. Description – Give it a name like UK VPN, US VPN then you can select quickly which country you need
  2. Server – Get the enabled VPN server names from the members area.
  3. Account Name – Your IDC Username
  4. RSA SecurID – Ignore this
  5. Password – Your IDC password.
  6. Secret – Get the VPN Secret Name from the members area.
That’s the tricky bit over with, next click Save from the top right hand corner.  The next step is to enable your VPN connection.
Connecting to the UK VPN
To do this you simply select whichever VPN configuration that you need, so if you’re in the US and want to watch the BBC then create and enable a UK VPN.  In this screen just select enable and it will turn on your VPN – this will route your connection through the UK VPN servers.
The status will change to connected and in the top left hand side of your Ipad it will show that the VPN is connected like this.
UK VPN Connected
When this VPN is connected, all your traffic is encrypted and routed through whichever server you are connected to.  It’s best to disconnect after watching unless you want all your browsing routed through the UK.
Be careful when you’re choosing a service to use on your iPad, if you search online you’ll see many posts about a BBC iPlayer VPN not working.   This is because most of these services have been blocked by the BBC and other channels so you won’t be able to watch any UK TV abroad on iPad if you use these.  Pick a proper security service like Identity Cloaker not one the TV streaming vpns, they’re easy to detect and don’t work anymore.
If you haven’t got Identity Cloaker yet – I can definitely recommend it, it’s probably best to try the . to see how you get on with it.  They have a very professional set up and the servers can cope with streaming video without any issues .  They have many UK and US servers plus ones in France, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Sweden, Australia to name but a few – all included in the subscription.  It’s also one of the few services which allows you to watch Sky Go abroad too, but you’ll need a valid subscription first.
Here’s the link for Identity Cloaker – I can recommend the 10 day trial subscription here to try it out first.
This method may work with other VPN providers who have set their servers up properly though – just ask them.   I have just discovered another interesting alternative for those of us looking on how to watch bbc iplayer abroad on ipad. It’s called Smart DNS, it’s arguably easier that using a VPN especially on devices like iPads.  It’s called Smart DNS and only takes two minutes to set up, if you follow the instructions – what’s more they have a free trial which you can test here – ..

BBC Block VPN Connection Services

It was a move greeted by shock, disbelief and to some extent even despair suddenly the BBC started to block VPN connections from across the world.     Just to roll back a little, for years the BBC had insisted that all it’s media content was only available to domestic viewers i.e those who were physically located in the United Kingdom.  However although this was official policy, the BBC did very little to actually enforce this other than a basic IP check which blocked anyone accessing from a non-UK IP address.

BBC Block VPN Connection

This IP blocking method although effective was actually extremely simple to bypass, all one needed was a way of hiding your location.

Initially this could be achieved by using a simple proxy server although in 2016 BBC started to block these following the lead of most global media companies.   There was another method left, using something called a VPN which stands for virtual private network which also allowed users to hide their physical location and IP address.

A VPN connection is virtually impossible to detect and so these have continued to work and many have switched from using proxy servers.  Unfortunately VPN services are more expensive to run and therefore these are almost always require a paid subscription.  The free ones are filled with advertising, share your internet connection with strangers and are all frustratingly slow to use which means that everything involves extensive buffering.

Here you can see in this video, a demonstration of a VPN program being used to access the BBC from outside the UK.

Although the move to paid services was upsetting to a lot of people, these subscriptions where relatively inexpensive and as they opened up all the UK TV channels are still extremely popular.   However during the second part of 2016 and into 2017 the BBC started to attack these services too.  In fact during specific times, literally thousands of people found themselves blocked almost overnight – one day they were happily watching the BBC the following day they were blocked. It almost seemed that suddenly they had figured it out, BBC iPlayer detecting VPN services – was it possible? Well no, they can’t detect them but it’s true that for many their BBC iPlayer VPN not working had suddenly occurred.

So if the VPN connection is virtually undetectable, how did the BBC manage to block so many of them?

How Does BBC Block VPN Connection Services

As mentioned, a properly configured and well run VPN service is almost impossible to detect.  Even the Chinese have thrown huge resources at identifying and blocking VPNs in order to control the huge use of them to circumvent their filtering and censorship.  They have not been completely successful and many Chinese routinely use VPN services to bypass the Great Firewall of China and indeed retain their anonymity in one of the most oppressive internet states in the world.  Other media companies have all tried in various ways too, most seem to settle with a partial success of blocking the simple proxies.  Nearly all media companies now block the easy targets so for example you can’t use a simple French proxy for M6 Replay either.

So obviously the BBC do not have anything like the technical expertise or resources to match this, however there are other options which can be fairly effective.  Firstly although the actual type of connection cannot be easily identified, they can identify when thousands of concurrent connections come from specific IP address ranges.  VPN servers will have limited numbers of IP addresses and when the BBC detects thousands of streams all being directed at the same ones then it’s likely they are some sort of proxy or VPN.

Secondly, many of these VPN services are easily identified by a little detective work.  Many of them openly advertise or display their TV watching services on their websites.  Type ‘BBC iPlayer abroad’ or ‘watch UK TV abroad’ into a search engine like Google and you’ll see some paid adverts for various websites.  All the BBC has to do is look up these services and block them manually, anything that looks like a TV watching service and not a proper security based VPN will be fair game. So there are some truth to these rumours, but it would be wrong to say that BBC iPlayer not working through VPN anymore

So in essence a little detective work and monitoring incoming connections can be a pretty effective way of blocking these VPN connections.  There is no real BBC iPlayer vpn workaround, merely selecting the right sort of VPN service.  Fortunately the older legitimate VPN services don’t advertise these facilities and also have large infrastructures with lots of servers to spread their connections. They have made little additional effort in blocking these services since the BBC iPlayer VPN 2017 purge, so the remaining companies should be fine – certainly I’ve been using Identity Cloaker for over a decade now without issues.

Companies like idc still work with all the UK TV stations despite these blocking efforts because they remain primarily security services not ‘TV watching’ proxies.

How to Unlock More Movies on Netflix

One of the problems with Netflix is it’s just too big! Much is made of of it’s super clever algorithm which is designed to guide you to your favorite shows, however the reality is that most of us will never come across thousands of the shows and movies stored on there. Most of the versions of Netflix are the same but the US version has even more content with some estimates suggesting tens of thousands more films and TV shows. Here’s how to unlock more movies on Netflix using a simple hack.

So how can we browse all these films more easily, well some clever chap has discovered a way to break out of Netflix’s suggested movies mode and dive straight into specific categories.

It turns out that you can go straight to thousands of pre-defined categories on Netflix just by using the correct URL. For instance, here’s a few.

Classic Comedies – http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/31694
Music Documentaries – http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/90361
Sports Dramas – http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/7243

You can access them by modifying the end number of the URL and you’ll be directed straight to that category if you’re logged into Netflix. There are in fact 76,000 different categories some of them extremely specific – for instance there’s a category of ‘Witty Movies by Woody Allen’.

Fortunately someone has produced an incredible list of all 76000 categories which you can find on this link. Just have a browse and you’re bound to find a few categories of interest that you’ve never found.

What’s more if you switch to another version of Netflix then these categories still work but you’ll see different movies and shows depending on which country. SO for example you could use one the Netflix VPNs such as this and switch countries before clicking the URL and see loads more. That means you can go directly to very specific genres under each country variant armed with this list and a Netflix working VPN.

It’s definitely worth trying and of course the Netflix algorithm will pick up on your choices after you watch and rate them to update your standard auto-generated menu’s too.