If you're outside the UK and you want to watch UK TV on your Smart TV, then this article is for you.
In this guide I'm going to look at the most straightforward way you can achieve this letting you keep up with all your favourite British TV shows regardless of where you are in the world.
We often write about ways to watch British TV abroad and the usual solutions are ways to watch on computers, laptops, tablets or phones but if you're like me, you like to kick up your feet and watch TV on an actual TV with a decent-sized screen.
Watching British TV on a Smart TV is a little more involved than on a computer or other portable device but there are three different solutions and below I'll explore them all.
So whether you're in Spain, Australia, Thailand, the US or anywhere else, let's get started.
How to watch UK TV overseas on a TV
To watch your favourite TV while you're away from home, you're going to need one of three things:
- A VPN enabled router.
- An Amazon Fire TV Stick. *Recommended*
- A SmartDNS service.
In terms of price, they run from the most expensive option to the cheapest.
However, this also means they run from the most reliable to the least and there are caveats with each of them which I'll explain more detail for each solution below.
1. VPN Router
A VPN allows you to alter your location and appear elsewhere, this typically comes as an app you download for your phone, laptop or other devices.
VPNs are great for smartphones or PCs, as they allow you to encrypt your traffic going in and out of the device, and let you improve your online privacy.
They also hide your traffic from view, prevent leaks, and can even protect you from malware, block ads, and let you decide which apps' traffic should be protected and which should not.
Meanwhile, their networks allow you to hide your location and identity, bypass geo-restrictions and censorship, and more.
This is ideal for unblocking TV!
However, most VPN apps are simply not suitable for Smart TVs. This is why an alternative is needed and why a VPN router is where you should look.
VPN routers are like your standard internet router that are compatible with VPN technology, or they already come with an integrated VPN.
They protect your entire connection, and so every device connected to the internet via the router is automatically protected. This can be via a wire or more commonly for your TV using Wi-Fi.
Some of the best VPN routers include those from brands like Linksys, Asus and D-link. Dedicated companies such as FlashRouters and Sabai Technology sell many brands of VPN enabled routers.
The easiest we've used, however, was the InvizBox 2 and the bigger brother the InvizBox 2 Pro.
These routers are extremely fast, simple to use and secure, and absolutely packed with features. They'll let you create different Wi-Fi connections for different countries, so unblocking UK TV is a breeze.
Their only real downside is the fact that they are a bit expensive, costing around £100.
You will also need a Smart TV that already has the British TV apps you wish to use built-in.
This will often be the case if you bought your TV in the UK. If you purchased in Europe, then you may be able to download the likes of BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and more, although you would need to check.
Outside of Europe your TV is unlikely to have the required TV apps unless you brought your TV from the UK.
VPN Router Set-up
When it comes to setting up a VPN router, InvizBox 2, for example – the process is incredibly easy.
The ease of use is intentional, of course, to make the VPN available and useful to everyone, regardless of how familiar they might be with VPN technology, or technology, in general.
When it comes to InvizBox 2 router, it is ready to be used as soon as you unpack it. Simply take it out of the box, plug it into your regular router/modem, and that's it.
You'll need to set up your first Wi-Fi hotspot for the UK or configure the wired connection, but the provided instructions are straightforward enough.
All that remains is to connect any device to InvizBox 2 secure Wi-Fi, and do with it whatever you want.
It is entirely pre-configured, and each router comes with VPN credentials built-in.
If you already know about VPN services and have a subscription, they are compatible with some other providers.
2. Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a streaming device that plugs into your Smart TV.
It's one of the most cost-effective and reliable methods of getting British TV on a TV set.
It is considered the most powerful 4k streaming media stick, and it allows you to watch your favourite shows from a number of streaming services. These aren't limited to UK ones but those covered include BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Channel 4 & 5.
Sadly, they don't work with premium services like Sky Go, BT Sport or Virgin TV Go.
It's best to purchase an Amazon Fire TV Stick in the UK. However, this method will still work if you've already bought one in another country.
We also have a list of VPNs that work with the Fire TV here.
Fire TV Stick set-up
Setting up Fire TV Stick is straightforward, and all you need to do is plug it in.
It will turn any TV with an HDMI port into a smart TV, and it will allow you to stream all the services mentioned earlier.
The built-in UK apps will only work in the UK, which is why you need the additional VPN service to unlock them where you are.
Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent VPNs that you can install on a Fire TV Stick, and all you need to do is to follow these steps:
- Purchase an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
- Choose a VPN you wish to use. I recommend ExpressVPN.
- Go to its website and sign up for an account. You will have to enter data such as your payment info and your email.
- From your Fire TV Stick's home screen, select the Apps area and type in the name of a VPN you wish to install.
- Select the VPN app from the list to download and install it.
- After the installation is done, simply log into your VPN and select any server in the UK to connect to it.
- Once the connection is established, you can start watching whatever you want.
3. SmartDNS Service
SmartDNS works by editing some settings on your TV but again, you will need the UK TV apps already installed on your TV.
Not every TV works with SmartDNS so if you're unsure you should check the user manual or do a quick search of Google for the make and model of your TV with the words “DNS settings”.
For example “Samsung H8000 H8 DNS Settings” which will bring up a host of websites showing you where you can alter your DNS settings.
Once you've confirmed that it's possible to alter the DNS Settings on your Smart TV, you'll need to find a company that offers a SmartDNS service.
Not all services offer SmartDNS solutions but a reliable one I've used is Surfshark. They offer a VPN service and the SmartDNS functionality comes as an added bonus.
On the Surfshark website you should sign up for their VPN package by selecting “Get Surfshark VPN“.
This gives you access to their SmartDNS service for use with your Smart TV but also a VPN service that will allow you to protect your privacy and access British TV on your computer, laptop, tablet or phone as well.
Once you've signed up to Surfshark or another similar provider all you need to do is alter the DNS Settings on your Smart TV to match those supplied by Surfshark.
Example instructions for Samsung Smart TVs are below but they are similar on other TVs too, as said earlier just google the make and model of your TV with “DNS Settings” and you'll be able to find instructions for most TVs on how to change them.
Samsung Smart TV:
- Press the Menu button on the TV remote.
- Choose Network.
- Select Network Status.
- Choose IP Settings.
- Enter the supplied DNS settings from Surfshark.
- A connection test will now take place, press OK once it has finished.
- Restart the TV.
You will now be able to access the British TV apps, for example, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and whatever other TV service apps are available on your Smart TV service.
As you have seen, there are quite a few options when it comes to streaming your favourite UK TV overseas.
Let's quickly recap your choices.
You can simply connect it to a VPN router and have your connection completely secure at any time – not just for your TV, but for any device.
The biggest downside to this approach is the fact that routers can be a bit expensive. You will also need a Smart TV that already has or supports the downloading of UK TV streaming apps.
Consider looking at the InvizBox 2 as it's one of the cheapest and easiest to use.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Next, there is a Fire TV Stick option, which allows you to install a VPN app on the device and use it for watching whatever you want, whenever you want.
This is my favourite and recommended choice.
Alternatively, there is the SmartDNS approach. This is relatively easy to set-up and inexpensive but again you'll need a Smart TV that supports UK TV apps.
I would love to know which solution you ended up using, or if you're unsure or get stuck drop a comment below and I'll be happy to point you in the correct direction.