How to Get British TV Channels in USA


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One of the biggest things that many of us have to get use to in the USA is the number of adverts on television.  If you’ve come from the UK for instance, they can come as something of a shock although many European countries actually have more adverts.  First of all, you should remember that the advertising is what actually pays for US TV shows, so if the level drops it’s likely the quality of programming would to.  However for anyone who has seen the quantity of adverts rise over the last few decades it can be quite surprising.

Of course, most US citizens have grown up with adverts on TV so it’s likely they don’t find them as intrusive.  Also bear in mind if you offered the UK model of TV – paying $200+ for a license which removed the need for them – most would probably turn you down.  This is based on an extensive straw poll of five people I asked in my office today!  I found that surprising as it’s a cost I’d be happy to pay as I increasingly get frustrated watching shows which suddenly stop for breaks several times an hour.

How to Get British TV Channels in USA

The number of adverts is also increasing, the approximate proportion of advertising in US TV in 1952 was about 13%, that’s about 8 minutes an hour.  However research has shown that in 2018 that has now risen to something like 32% which is nearly a third of the airtime (20 minutes an hour).  These figures are an average though and some popular or expensive shows will be much higher than this figure as well.  This also doesn’t include the increasing use of product placement advertising where you’ll see some character waving around a soft drink or other product.  This can also be very distracting when you start looking for it, although I’m assured by a Spanish friend that Spanish TV is just as bad if not worse for the amount of advertising breaks.

If you can’t get use to the adverts of course you do have some options.  The obvious one and a tactic used by many Americans is simply to not watch any of the shows live.  There’s plenty of Tivo style recorders with hard disks available which can record shows.  Then you can replay and skip through each advertising break without having to watch them.  However it’s still a break and it’s still rather annoying to have to skim through the adverts even at super fast speed.  The other option which is particularly attractive to expats and anglophiles is to watch British TV channels instead.

How to Get British TV Channels in USA

Now virtually every large media site in the world broadcasts over the internet.  Most of the UK ones broadcast all their programmes live then archive them so you can watch them later too.  Sites like the BBC iPlayer archive have literally thousands of top quality shows which you can watch online or even download to watch later.  However there is a catch, all these shows, all this free TV is only available to the domestic market and it’s not directly accessible in the USA.   Although it should be pointed out that the same happens in reverse as US online TV stations like Hulu and HBO are not available outside the US also.

Yet there is a work around, and it’s one that millions of people all over the world use every day.  To watch British TV online then from the USA you simply need to hide  your IP address and present a UK one instead.

Here’s how it’s done –

What happens is by using a VPN or proxy server then you can effectively hide your true location.  So when you visit the BBC website for example, it will see the IP address of the server not your real address.  So as long as you ensure you click on a UK server then everything in the UK will work perfectly irrespective of where you actually are.   Your location is completely hidden and so you can watch whatever you like from all the British TV channels.  This includes all the major channels like BBC, ITV and Channels 4 and 5 all of whom stream most of their shows online.

What’s more if you choose a server in a different country then you can unlock the channels there too.  So for example if you pick an Irish one you can enjoy the Irish National broadcaster RTE or perhaps choose some Canadian or French channels too.  Remember though while you are connected to another country then US sites will start blocking you, so remember to disconnect or choose a US server for those.

Here’s the software which you can trial without obligation for 10 days. It only costs a couple of dollars here — Identity Cloaker 10 day trial — try it first to check out how it works for you.