How to Stream Video Outside the UK Using VPN and SmartDNS
Have you ever been outside the UK, tried to access BBC iPlayer and got the message; “BBC iPlayer is not yet available in your region?” On other restricted websites, you’ll be told, “Sorry this content is not currently available in your region.” Even if you’re currently an iPlayer subscriber, if you were to travel outside the UK, try accessing your iPlayer account and you’ll get the same message.
This is called geo-blocking. In fact, a quick check of the iPlayer website will tell you that iPlayer is currently only available in about 13 countries, most of them located in Western Europe except Canada and Australia.
Is geo-blocking legal?
The short answer is YES. Copyright laws give content owners a series of rights over the material they create, which includes the right to copy or broadcast the material.
Take a look at the Terms of Service (TOS) of most websites that geo-block content, for example. You’ll find that they have clearly stated that certain content is only accessible to consumers from selected regions. Some even have additional checks such as demanding a zip/post code or a credit card billing address from the particular country, and others demand phone number verifications before granting access to certain content.
Geo-blocking regulations dictate that if iPlayer is blocked in China, then attempting to access the iPlayer website from China would be in breach of the iPlayer TOS. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a UK citizen. The fact that you’re currently in a geo-blocked location means you shouldn’t be watching iPlayer. Even if you’re currently subscribed to iPlayer, you cannot legally access the website from a geo-blocked location. Often, this could lead to termination of access to the service or a liability under the TOS.
Whether or not the laws will change remains to be seen.
Fortunately, you can still watch iPlayer outside the UK!
Even with geo-blocking in place, you can still watch your favorite UK channels, easily and conveniently. All you need is a SmartDNS or VPN.
VPN and SmartDNS are both popular methods of bypassing restrictions to access blocked content. Subscribing to a VPN service will allow you to watch even other services such as Netflix movies and Roku on BBC Sport. However, SmartDNS is just as effective.
The best 3 VPNs and best 3 SmartDNS products in the UK
Since Britains discovered that they could easily watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other blocked content using VPN and SmartDNS, the conversation has shifted drastically. People are no longer worried about missing out on “House of Cards.” If anything, Netflix and Hulu lovers who reside in the UK can now look forward to Friday night movies with excitement. Why not when you have so many VPN and SmartDNS providers to choose from?
Unfortunately, that’s where the problem lies; with so many providers, how do you go about choosing a VPN or SmartDNS? In the UK alone there are more than a dozen SmartDNS providers and at least two-dozen VPN service companies. How do you choose the best one?
Well, first it’s important to appreciate that all VPN and SmartDNS providers try to achieve the same thing – internet freedom. The services often only differ in terms of; price, connection speeds, and customer experience. For instance, if you’re more concerned about speed than encryption, you may choose a SmartDNS with very fast speeds and no encryption. On the other hand, if your connection has to be totally secure, then you might choose a VPN with 256-bit encryption even if the speeds are slower.
However, everything considered (speed, encryption, number of servers, server locations, support for mobile devices, number of devices supported at once, P2P bit torrent download support, and so on), here are the best 3 VPN and SmartDNS products available for UK users.
Best 3 VPNs for UK
- Company Location: British Virgin Islands
- IPs: 15.000+
- Countries: 78
- Money Back Guarantee: 30 Days
- Company Location: USA
- IPs: 40000 IPs
- Countries: 60
- Money Back Guarantee: 7 Days
Best 3 SmartDNS for UK
- Countries: 16
- Money Back Guarantee: 7 Days Free Trial + 14 Days
- Countries: 14
- Money Back Guarantee: 14 Days Free Trial + 30 Days
VPN vs. SmartDNS: Which is better for streaming video outside the UK?
Well, Smart DNS is a protocol that is used to re-route traffic used in identifying your location. Unlike VPN, SmartDNS does not hide the user’s IP address nor does it encrypt connections. If you want to try SmartDNS – check out Free Smart DNS.
A VPN service on the other hand creates a tunnel that changes or masks your IP address so that websites tracking you will see as if you’re accessing the internet from a different location. This is very different from SmartDNS which functions as more of a “trick” by changing your DNS so that websites think you’re eligible.
These differences often extend to connection speeds. With SmartDNS, packets don’t have to travel long distances to reach a server location. Therefore a SmartDNS service router will give you most of the services a VPN can offer including unblocking websites, and watching Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Pandora, without the potential disadvantage of slower speeds.
- Easy to setup – you just have to sign-up, get a username and password, and follow the instructions.
- All your traffic is encrypted and masked – basically speaking, no one can eavesdrop on you.
- Also nobody can see what Websites you browse – Tor Marketplaces, VR Porn, Dating Sites – noone will know.
- VPN has apps for iOS, Android, and Mac – this makes it usable on just about any device.
- Unblock unlimited websites – as long as you use a VPN server located in the UK, you can access just about any website and watch streaming videos from the UK without restrictions.
- Slower connection – though most VPN providers promise fast speeds, connections are generally slower compared to SmartDNS
- Use on any device – all you need to do is change the DNS IP on your devices or your router.
- Easy to set up – you simply have to sign up, authorize your IP, and change the IP.
- Internet speeds not affected – compared to VPN, SmartDNS speeds are much faster.
- Supports many devices – these include the iPad, Android, Smart TV, PS 3&4, Xbox One & 360 and many others.
- Not all sites work – for instance, Unlocator doesn’t support Netflix, Pandora, and Amazon Instant Video. among others.
SmartDNS in particular is very good for streaming video and watching blocked content outside the UK. This is because unlike VPNs, setting up the SmartDNS merely involves changing your DNS IP. It means you don’t have to connect to a server located in the UK in order to access UK content. This often leads to faster speeds which is invaluable when streaming content. In fact, compared 1 v. 1, SmartDNS is the better option if you’re just interested in streaming content online.
As you can see, content owners are actually allowed to restrict access to whatever they create. If iPlayer feels its content shouldn’t be accessible from outside the UK, they have the legal right to block such access.
However, that shouldn’t stop you from watching iPlayer and other UK channels outside the UK. Just set up VPN or SmartDNS on your router and you can start enjoying your favorite UK channels again! And yes, you can use the same router to access as many geo-blocked websites as you wish.