How to Stream TV Shows with a VPN

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Every country has its own TV show licensing restrictions. Although these rules are intended to allow the copyright holders to get their fair share, they also can cause some people to miss out on viewing these shows. For example, the BBC in the United Kingdom only allows people from the UK to view their shows. Likewise, many American networks disallow people visiting their sites from other countries from viewing their content.

While some users just pirate (or steal) such content to get around stringent regulations, there is a better way that still allows anyone to view shows in any country, regardless of licensing restrictions. This is using a Virtual Private Network, or “VPN” for short. For those unfamiliar, you can think of this as an encrypted tunnel through which all of your Internet traffic flows.

Every website you visit while connected to a VPN will show the site an IP address that matches the country of the VPN server rather than your actual IP address. An added benefit is that VPNs offer “end-to-end encryption“. In short, this means that all of your traffic is not visible to anyone, even your Internet Service Provider (ISP)! Most of the time, sites that offer legal TV shows will not be able to tell the difference between a visitor using a VPN and a visitor not using a VPN!

Those looking for a VPN to watch TV shows hosted by content providers in different countries should look for VPN companies who offer multiple servers, preferably in many countries around the world. These VPNs will offer you the most value, as you will be able to appear as a visitor from almost any country on Earth! Check out this link for a side-by-side comparison of two such providers, as well as more information on what you can expect from a VPN.

Now, let’s delve into an example of streaming a TV show over a VPN. First, you’ll need an Internet connection fast enough to stream content (typically around 2 Mbps or higher). Next, you’ll need to know the country where the content is hosted. Please note that you may experience some “lag”, or delay, if you are streaming content from a country that is very far away from you (such as being in Australia and streaming media from the United States).

Next, you will need to install the “VPN client”, or the program that automatically connects to the servers owned by the VPN provider. After you fully install the program, you will need to select a server in the country that hosts the content. In this example, let’s say you are in Canada and trying to stream Netflix offered to residents of the United States. You would select a server anywhere in the United States, but try to select the server that is closest to you to avoid that “lag”.

After you verify that the connection is completed and secured, the next step is to open up a web browser and connect to the site (in our example, Netflix.com). You should be able to access it just like if you were physically in the United States. Note that some providers may ban IP addresses that they have associated with VPN providers, since they generally do not like users connecting via VPN. If that happens, keep trying servers until you find one with an IP address that has not yet been identified as a VPN IP address.

When you do this, please check your local laws and the laws of the country that hosts the content. Ensure that you are not breaking any of them by “pretending” to be from a country where you do not reside. Another good idea is to research providers before choosing one. VPN providers are in a diverse range of countries that have very different Internet privacy laws. Make sure that you choose one that aligns with the level of privacy you expect.

Remember, you don’t need to use your computer to stream content. Most VPN providers also offer phone apps for Android and iOS that let you stream from your phone. There are also various Android-based appliances that allow you to use your VPN as you watch shows on your physical television! 

In short, whether you want to watch shows on your computer, your phone, or your TV, you’ll be able to! Regardless of what country you are in, what country you reside in, and where you’ll travel, a VPN will let you access content safely and legally. This is an excellent alternative to illegal piracy. Even with regional restrictions, you will be able to properly compensate content creators and support your favorite TV shows and movies!

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