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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

How To Watch UK TV From Anywhere (2024): Free & Pay TV

James Everard Updated on 6th June 2024 Fact-checked by Emma Browne Senior Writer

I’m a huge fan of UK TV, but my internet service provider (ISP) doesn’t seem to be — whenever I stream during peak hours from my home in Leeds, it throttles my speeds. That’s why I always use a VPN while I stream. Not only does it hide my streaming from my ISP, letting me watch Doctor Who in the best possible quality, but it also protects my data from broadcasters and third-party advertisers.

Choosing a VPN with servers in various UK locations makes streaming UK TV from anywhere in HD possible since there's less chance of server congestion. A premium VPN also uses obfuscation and regularly rotates its IP addresses to prevent UK streaming platforms from blocking it.

If you’re in the UK like me, ExpressVPN is my top choice for safely watching UK TV in high definition. It has plenty of local servers in the country, so you can enjoy your favorite shows and movies without interruptions. Plus, it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN totally risk-free. Editors' Note: Expressvpn and this site are in the same ownership group.

Watch UK TV in HD >>

Quick Guide: How to UK TV With a VPN in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because it’s very easy to use on any compatible device and has fast speeds for HD or UHD streaming.
  2. Connect to a server. VPNs provide a global selection of servers, enabling secure streaming of UK TV from anywhere.
  3. Start streaming. Enjoy your favorite British shows and movies on UK TV streaming platforms, like BBC iPlayer, without buffering.
Editor’s note. Our recommended VPNs all have robust no-logs policies, which means they don’t track or store what you do online. So, it’s up to you to use your VPN responsibly and abide by the copyright law, regulations of your region, and the T&Cs of the streaming platforms you use. The vpnMentor team and I condemn copyright infringement.

Best VPNs to Watch UK TV Online in 2024

1. ExpressVPN — Excellent Speeds for Streaming UK TV From Anywhere Without Buffering

Best Feature Proprietary Lightway protocol offers the best speeds of any VPN, so it’s great for watching live UK TV uninterrupted from anywhere
UK Servers 5 locations, including London, Wembley, and Midlands, so you can always find a speedy local connection
Speeds Extremely fast — you can always stream in the best available quality
Works With Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, browsers, smart TVs, Fire devices, routers, and more
Editors' Note: Expressvpn and this site are in the same ownership group.

ExpressVPN’s fast speeds allow you to watch UK TV from within the country without buffering. I got slowdowns of just 4% when connecting to the UK - Midlands server from my location in northern England. These fast speeds are thanks to the Lightway protocol — it was built for secure, lightweight connections and even saves battery when streaming on mobile devices. So, it's possible to watch UK TV securely from anywhere, even on smartphones.

Screenshot of the ExpressVPN app over the iPlayer streaming Match of the DayThe shortcuts on the ExpressVPN app mean you can skip between UK TV platforms

Its easy-to-use apps are similar across all OSs, so it’s intuitive for streaming, even for VPN beginners. To watch your favorite Brit content, just select a nearby server from the list and double-click. You can even add your favorite UK TV platforms as one-click shortcuts that appear on the app’s main screen, so you can watch Match of the Day on BBC iPlayer in just a few clicks.

I like that ExpressVPN has native apps for almost all popular streaming devices, including Fire Stick. Plus, you can configure it on your router and stream on devices that don’t usually support VPN apps, like old smart TVs and gaming consoles. It only takes a few minutes to set up, and there are simple instructions on the website.

True, its prices are a little higher than the competition. But, you can save significantly with a long-term plan; when I subscribed, I got 3 months of free service. Plus, you can try it without risk since it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Useful Features

  • Split tunneling. You can choose which apps use the VPN connection and which don't. This frees up some bandwidth so you can stream UK TV in the best possible quality with no lag.
  • Simultaneous connections. You can connect up to 8 devices simultaneously, so you can protect and stream UK TV on all of your gadgets or share your subscription with your family.
  • MediaStreamer. This is ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS feature, and it’s an alternative to the full VPN service. It offers UK DNS addresses, so it’s ideal for watching UK TV from within the country on devices that don’t support VPN apps, like smart TVs and gaming consoles.
  • Works with many UK TV platforms. During my tests, ExpressVPN worked with BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Channel 4, My5, Sky Go, TNT Sports, and BritBox, among others.
ExpressVPN Offer June 2024: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

2. CyberGhost — Specialty Streaming Servers for BBC iPlayer, Channel 4, and More

Best Feature Servers specifically optimized for UK platforms, so you never have to hunt down the best connection
UK Servers 3 locations, including London, Berkshire, and Manchester, for coverage across England
Speeds Really fast — I could watch UK TV live with no buffering
Works With Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, browsers, smart TVs, Fire devices, routers, and more
Editors' Note: CyberGhost VPN and this site are in the same ownership group.

CyberGhost makes it easy to safely stream UK TV from anywhere. It has servers optimized for various UK streaming platforms, like BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Netflix UJ, Sky Go, and Prime Video UK. The CyberGhost team monitors these servers for a smooth performance. During my tests, I only had to click the For streaming tab and type "UK' into the search bar to find these servers.

Screenshot of the specialty UK TV servers on CyberGhost's appWith CyberGhost, you can "star" your favorite servers to make them quicker to find next time

I didn’t experience any buffering when watching UK TV. Similar to ExpressVPN, I found an average slowdown of 5% on these UK streaming servers when connecting from the north of England. I also found I could stream ITVX using the regular Manchester server location, and I watched 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown on Channel 4 with no lag.

CyberGhost also offers a Smart DNS service, which lets you stream UK TV on your smart TV and gaming consoles. While it doesn’t encrypt your data like a full VPN does, this has some benefits — you can stream UK TV with no speed drops.

The only downside is that CyberGhost’s monthly plan has a shorter money-back guarantee of 14 days. But you can sign up for CyberGhost with a long-term subscription for as low as $2.03/month. Its longer plans come with the full 45-day money-back guarantee.

Useful Features

  • Wi-Fi protection. This feature helps secure your connection from potential threats when streaming UK TV using public Wi-Fi networks in British airports, cafés, or libraries.
  • Router compatible. You can configure CyberGhost on your router and stream UK TV securely on devices that do not natively support VPNs, such as your gaming consoles. However, unlike ExpressVPN, there’s no custom router app.
  • Specialty server for RTE. If you’re in Ireland, CyberGhost has an optimized server for RTE, which carries many UK TV favorite box sets.
June 2024 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 83% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

3. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Tons of Settings to Optimize Your Connections for UK TV

Best Feature Customizable protocol settings to optimize your speed and security for UK TV streaming
UK Servers 3 locations, plus a streaming-optimized UK server to reduce server congestion
Speeds Fast — episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway loaded almost instantly in HD
Works With Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, browsers, smart TVs, Fire devices, routers, and more
Editors' Note: Private Internet Access and this site are in the same ownership group.

PIA lets you optimize your connection for streaming UK TV on local servers with tons of customizable settings. You can choose to use OpenVPN with 128-bit encryption for the best possible speeds or WireGuard and 256-bit encryption for a good mix of speed and security. During my tests from Leeds, using WireGuard on a local UK server gave me a small 8% speed drop.

Screenshot of the PIA app over ITVX streaming on a browserUnlike CyberGhost, PIA's streaming servers are for various platforms

You can also use PIA on as many devices as you want at once. If you have a large family (or just have a lot of gadgets), everyone can safely stream the shows they love without interrupting anyone else. It's possible to access My5 TV on multiple devices and stream from anywhere with no change in quality.

The only issue I had is that PIA can be a bit overwhelming for VPN beginners due to its wide array of settings. That said, the app comes pre-configured, so you don’t need to change anything to get great speeds for streaming.

All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try PIA with your favorite UK TV platforms for free.

Useful Features

  • Quick Connect. PIA offers a widget that shows you the last 6 locations you used. This makes it easy to continue streaming UK content safely with just a click.
  • Server ping info. Next to each server in the app, you can find information about the ping. The lower the number, the closer the server is to you, which translates to better speeds for streaming UK TV.
June 2024 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 82% off!

4. NordVPN — Intuitive Apps to Easily Watch UK TV in HD on Any Device

Best Feature A simple VPN app that’ll let you stream UK TV securely in HD within minutes
UK Servers 4 locations, including London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, for nationwide UK coverage
Speeds Extremely fast — you won’t notice any difference from your base connection
Works With Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, browsers, smart TVs, Fire devices, routers, and more

NordVPN’s app is quick to install and easy to use, so it’s ideal if you’ve never used a VPN while streaming UK TV before. You can choose a specific UK location using the animated global map, which helps you connect to the server closest to you. Or, if you’re not fussy, simply type “United Kingdom” in the search bar and click on your chosen UK location to connect.

Screenshot of the recent connections on the NordVPN server listNordVPN remembers the last 5 locations you connected to so your UK TV fix is never far away

While it doesn’t have specialty streaming servers like PIA or CyberGhost, its speeds are a shade faster — I had a tiny 5% drop on a nearby UK server from Leeds. Plus, NordVPN's regular UK servers worked with most of the major UK TV platforms, and I was able to steam The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 in bufferless HD. Since NordVPN has servers worldwide, streaming platforms like ITVX and BBC iPlayer, can be watched from anywhere without interruption.

The only drawback is that NordVPN’s Mac app was a bit slow to launch. It took 15 to 20 seconds to open, and the app doesn’t ‘bounce’ in the dock like other apps do when launching. But, once connected, its speeds were almost as quick as ExpressVPN.

You can try NordVPN yourself for free since all plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Useful Features

  • Exclusive NordLynx protocol. This proprietary protocol is built on top of WireGuard to fix some of its security flaws. It doesn’t save your real IP when you connect, so your UK TV viewing remains private.

5. Surfshark — Stream UK TV Safely on Unlimited Devices Simultaneously

Best Feature Protect a whole household of devices for watching UK TV — no one has to log out so you can get your Broadchurch fix
UK Servers 4 locations for plenty of local UK connections
Speeds Fast — I watched Fleabag on BBC iPlayer with no quality drops
Works With Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, browsers, smart TVs, Fire devices, routers, and more

Surfshark lets you connect an unlimited number of devices at once, so everyone can watch their favorite BBC iPlayer shows without arguing over the VPN. Surfshark was used on a PC, iPad, TV, and 2 iPhones without stuttering or lag. So, shows like Have I Got News For You can be watched in HD from anywhere. NOW TV and TNT Sports also worked effortlessly.

The apps are pre-configured and offer some automatic features, so you don’t have to worry about choosing the best streaming settings yourself. For example, it chooses the best protocol for you, and you can even set it to automatically connect to a UK server of your choice.

Screenshot of the Surfshark app over the BBC iPlayer streaming on a web browserSurfshark doesn't have streaming-optimized servers but it did work with all the major UK TV platforms

A slight drawback is that its 1-month plan is quite expensive, so it’s not ideal for short-term users. However, its long-term plans are more affordable. Plus, Surfshark offers a solid 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out for free. I tested the guarantee and got my money back in my bank account in 7 working days.

Useful Features

  • Static IPs. Surfshark offers static IPs so you get the same IP address every time you connect. This offers more reliable connections for UK TV platforms, and it can even improve your speeds as you’re the only person using your chosen VPN server.

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and Expressvpn are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company.

Tips on Choosing the Best VPN for Watching UK TV

All the VPNs on my list offer fast speeds and are great for safely streaming British TV in the UK. Still, if you want to test these out yourself, here’s the criteria to observe:

  • Servers in the UK. I only chose VPNs with many servers in the UK to minimize server congestion. To access UK TV from anywhere, a VPN must have servers in the UK to provide a UK IP address.
  • Fast speeds. I only shortlisted VPNs that offer fast local speeds so you can stream UK TV without buffering.
  • Easy to use. I looked for VPNs that have straightforward and easy-to-use apps so you can quickly connect to a nearby UK server and start watching UK TV.
  • Reliable customer support. I made sure that the VPNs on my list have knowledgeable customer support via live chat so you can quickly get answers to all your questions. Email or contact form support is also available if that’s the way you prefer to chat.
  • Trustworthy money-back guarantee. I made sure to pick only VPNs with a reliable money-back guarantee so you can try them with your favorite local UK streaming platforms without risking your money.

How to Watch UK TV on Different Devices With a VPN

Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS

The following method can also work for other operating systems and streaming devices like Linux, Fire Stick, and Android TV, provided that your chosen VPN offers apps for them.

  • Download the VPN. You can download your device’s native app from the VPN’s website or from the device’s official app store.
  • Connect to a nearby server. Once installed, launch the app and find a UK server from the list.
  • Start watching UK TV. Open your favorite streaming platforms, like ITVX and My5, and start streaming.

Smart TV, Roku, Fire Stick, and More

Devices like smart TVs and gaming consoles don’t typically support VPN apps. So you’ve got two options here — you can either install a VPN on your router or use a Smart DNS service.

I recommend installing a VPN on your router to watch British shows on your smart TV. This also allows you to simultaneously secure all your devices without needing to install the VPN on each.

It’s a slightly technical process, but it’ll be just as reliable with UK TV platforms as it is on your PC, tablet, or smartphone. Every VPN on my list is compatible with the most popular routers. Plus, they offer step-by-step guides on how to configure your router.

  1. Check your router. Not every router can support a VPN, so the first step is to determine which brand your router is.
  2. Sign up for a VPN. Choose a VPN that supports your router brand. A native router app and firmware are ideal, but manual installation isn’t too tricky if the VPN provides detailed step-by-step instructions.
  3. Configure the VPN on your router. Look for the setup guide for your VPN and router, and follow the steps to set it up. Once complete, all the devices connected to the router will be using the VPN.
  4. Connect to a nearby server. The process might vary depending on your router and VPN — check the guide for instructions.
  5. Start watching UK TV. You can now avoid ISP throttling and safely stream any device, like your smart TV.

The other option is to use a Smart DNS service, but it’s not the most reliable. A Smart DNS might give you faster speeds for streaming, but it’s not secure since it doesn’t offer encryption. To use it, you just need to change the UK DNS address your device uses to the UK Smart DNS address.

FAQs on Watching UK TV Online With a VPN

What can I do if my UK TV VPN stops working?

First of all, it’s crucial to use a reputable VPN that works reliably with UK TV platforms. Once that’s sorted out, there are a few other easy things to try:

  • Switch servers. Streaming platforms may block IPs they suspect are from VPNs. This is really frustrating when you’re connecting from within the UK and just using a VPN to protect your data or avoid ISP throttling. Try changing your server or reconnecting to get a new IP.
  • Try a different browser. It’s possible that your browser is the issue. Switching to another one might resolve it. Alternatively, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies.
  • Restart your device and router. This can fix a number of issues if you’re having trouble connecting to your VPN or UK TV platforms.
  • Update your software. Check if your browser, UK TV VPN, or even your OS needs updating. Updating your software to the latest versions can fix bugs and improve functionality.
  • Contact your VPN’s customer service. They may have a fix or workaround for your UK TV issue.

Can I watch UK TV without a TV license?

It depends on what you’re streaming. You need a TV license if you’re watching live broadcasts in the UK or you want to use BBC iPlayer. That said, you can watch any other UK streaming service from within the country without needing a TV license — you just can’t watch live broadcasts.

If you're abroad, you can watch UK TV shows on other platforms available there. For example, in Ireland, RTE hosts tons of UK favorites on its Player, such as Kin, Killing Eve, and Happy Valley. RTE’s own content, like The Tommy Tiernan Show, is available to watch globally, but most of the UK imports are only available from within Ireland for rights reasons.

Is it possible to watch UK TV for free?

Yes — many UK TV platforms, including ITVX, Channel 4, and My5, are free to watch or have free content. If you’re planning on watching with a VPN, you can try any of my recommendations risk-free for some time with their money-back guarantees.

How do I watch UK TV abroad in the USA, France, and Spain?

UK TV platforms like BBC iPlayer and ITVX are only available in the UK. But you can watch some UK TV in the US with BritBox or on Hayu in France, Spain, Canada, and many other countries. Plus, you’ll find tons of UK content to stream on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video.

Other subscription services like Teeveeing allow you to live-stream UK TV abroad. But, they operate in a gray legal area and may break the terms and conditions of UK broadcasters, so I don’t recommend using them.

How can I watch the English Premier League from abroad?

There are various platforms available for watching Premier League football, including NBC Sports in the US, DAZN in Japan, Canada, Spain, and Italy, and Hotstar in India. Sky and NOW TV deliver the Premier League in the UK, and those services are also available in New Zealand and Hong Kong, respectively.

What devices can I use to watch UK TV with a VPN?

UK TV is securely accessible from anywhere on various devices with a VPN, such as

  • Desktop PCs. Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Mobiles and tablets. iOS, iPad, Fire tablet, Android, Kindle, and more.
  • Streaming devices. Chromecast, Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire Stick, Fire TV, Kodi, Roku, smart TVs, Sky Q, TiVO, Xfinity, and more.
  • Game consoles. PlayStation, Switch, Xbox.

Is it illegal to watch UK TV from abroad with a VPN?

It’s complicated. If you watch a UK TV platform like BBC iPlayer abroad, you’ll be breaking the platform’s Terms of Use. It could also be considered a copyright violation, which does carry legal penalties. So, it's your responsibility to adhere to all relevant streaming rules and guidelines when you use a VPN to safely stream UK TV in HD.

However, if you’re watching an alternative streaming service like BritBox in a country where it’s licensed to show UK TV, then that’s perfectly fine.

Can I watch UK TV abroad without a VPN?

You can only watch UK TV abroad on streaming services that aren’t exclusive to the UK. BritBox is available across the US, Canada, Australia, and many EU countries, and regional Netflix or Prime Video libraries may be licensed to show UK content.

Can I use a free VPN to watch British TV abroad?

Potentially, but you’d need to use a platform that’s not exclusive to the UK and carries some British content, like Netflix or Prime Video. Even then, most free VPNs don’t work for streaming because they’re too slow, and you don’t get enough data to watch more than an episode or two a month. Instead, I recommend using a premium, low-cost VPN for UK TV.

Watch UK TV in Minutes

Most UK TV is available only in the UK. A VPN can allow secure access from anywhere since it can provide a UK IP address. Still, a VPN with fast servers is needed for uninterrupted streaming.

I recommend ExpressVPN. It has multiple server locations in the UK, and it works reliably with UK TV streaming platforms. Plus, you can try it completely risk-free since it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

To summarize, these are the best VPNs to watch UK TV from anywhere in HD…

Rank
Provider
Our Score
Discount
Visit Website
1
medal
9.9 /10
9.9 Our Score
Save 49%!
2
9.7 /10
9.7 Our Score
Save 83%!
3
9.5 /10
9.5 Our Score
Save 82%!
4
9.4 /10
9.4 Our Score
Save 72%!
5
9.3 /10
9.3 Our Score
Save 86%!
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The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

James conducts rigorous hands-on research and testing to evaluate dozens of VPNs for his articles. He's an advocate for digital freedom.

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