Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×
The Internet Television Technology

How To Watch Internet TV Across International Borders 206

colinneagle writes "Living in the U.S., one of my greatest regrets is that I can't watch BBC video with iPlayer. If I were living in the U.K., I'd feel the same away about not being able to watch shows on Hulu. But, with a Web proxy or a virtual private network (VPN) and an IP address in a country where the content is available, you can watch these shows. Technically, it's easy to set your browser up to use a Web proxy or VPN software. With a Web proxy and Windows XP, for example, you just go to Internet Options, click the Connections tab, and then click LAN Settings. Next, under Proxy server you click to select the 'Use a proxy server for your LAN' check box. Finally, you enter the IP address of the proxy server and in the Port box, type the IP number that is used by the proxy server for client connections—that's usually 8080. It's usually pretty simple to do that in any browser and operating system. There are also programs, such as Proxy Switchy, for Chrome that makes it easy to switch from one proxy to another in a single session. When you use a proxy, though, all your traffic is still open to network administrators. If you want to visit another country and watch their TV in privacy, you'll need a VPN."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How To Watch Internet TV Across International Borders

Comments Filter:
  • Is that news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @03:59PM (#40921933)


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:03PM (#40921993)
    What slashdot reader is this written for?

    A: Someone who doesn't know what a proxy is, or how to set one up?
    B: Someone who isn't wise enough to google how to watch internet media that is region blocked?
    D: Gnomes
    C: Someone who accidentally stumbled onto slashdot today?
    The answer is D! Because the others are all make-believe!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by damien_kane ( 519267 )

      The answer is D! Because the others are all make-believe!

      C: Someone who accidentally stumbled onto slashdot today?

      Not entirely true; I've hit /. with StumbleUpon before, so it's possible someone could very well accidentally stumble onto /.

      • Dammit! You just ruinned a good joke. You're probably the same guy that ruinned the solar-powered flashlight joke with the rechargable battery comment.

      • But anyone who uses STumbleUpon to find /. accidentally, and had not found it before, will be very, very quick to move on to something else, I think. So the joke stands!
    • Cowboy Neal!
    • Since I like to watch UK streaming tv, I signed up with a VPS provider who along with their US datacenters, has a datacenter in the UK, and added a UK VPS to my account, along with the two others I have in their Dallas DC. An install of OpenVPN and Squid on the Ubuntu 10.04 OS and I'm off to watching UK TV. So far, its worked perfectly. I'm loaning it currently to friends who are rabid Olympics fans. Oh and the good part? The VPS is an OpenVZ 512mb container, choice of all sorts of Linux distros, and with 3

    • Interesting blog post, but you didn't say the level of bandwidth your place in Italy was subscribing to, nor the amount of money you were paying for your proxy/VPN service in New York. The StrongVPN service says it starts at $7 a month. Did you really only pay $7, or did you get one of their better packages? Also, is that starting rate $7 their true base price, or would I have to get locked into a contract for 2 years in order to get that rate?

      I'm asking because I have family in the UK, and I'd rather not l

  • by mj1856 ( 589031 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:05PM (#40922019)

    Next thing you know we'll have all the bullshit that goes along with and ehow.

    • by Meshach ( 578918 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:12PM (#40922099)

      Next thing you know we'll have all the bullshit that goes along with and ehow.

      Slashdot's official mission is "News for nerds", I think that this qualifies. During a major event like the Olympics a common complaint amongst techies and non-techies alike is that they are unable to view coverage because of their location. This is informing people that their is technology that enables users to bypass the restriction. I clicked on the story and read the comments because I found it interesting.

      • "How to configure Windows XP to use a proxy" is not news. It's a not-for-nerds tutorial.

        • by Meshach ( 578918 )

          "How to configure Windows XP to use a proxy" is not news. It's a not-for-nerds tutorial.

          Since the Olympics are such a major event an exception was deemed appropriate and it is something most of us probably did not know before reading it here on Slashdot . But I agree with both you and mj1856 in that I hope this is not going to become a regular occurrence.

          • Yes, because the world is full or sports-loving nerds who can't google!
            We call them not-nerds where I come from!

      • Slashdot's official mission is "News for nerds", I think that this qualifies.

        How? Proxies and tunneling is over a decade old, and can be one of the first results while googleing. What sort of nerd can't use google? What sort of so-called-nerd hasn't heard about VPNs or proxies?
        Also, nerds don't usually care about sports events, wherever they may be.

  • by SilverJets ( 131916 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:08PM (#40922051) Homepage

    Your mouse. How to move it left and right AND up and down on your screen.

  • ... WTF is this "story" about (beside the obvious) and how is this news for nerds?

    • by Isaac-1 ( 233099 )

      At least this is all there was to it:

      The first rule of usenet is you don't speak about usenet

  • Set up your over-the-air TV antenna close to the US border.

    Oh wait, if you are like most Canadians, you probably do that already.

    *cue rim-shot*

    • Or just buy cable. In my travels through Canada I noticed all the cable systems pick-up and rebroadcast ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW stations from Maine, New York, Michigan, North Dakota, and Washington states. (Good thing too since I couldn't find any Canadian shows worth watching... except Red Green.)

  • X-Forwareded-For (Score:5, Informative)

    by andydouble07 ( 2344014 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:12PM (#40922117)
    Of course sometimes you can just set the X-Forwarded-For attribute in your browser to an IP address inside the country. A fair amount of web servers are set up to blindly trust it. A lot cheaper than a proxy when it works.
  • If you're going to steal BBC Video (since you never paid the TV tax), then you might as well do it the easy method and just do a torrent download.

    To be honest though I've not really found much on BBC I wanted to watch. "Doctor Who" and "BBC News" is the only thing that comes to mind and both of those I can get legally (via Syfy or PBS). Plus there are other alternatives like France24, NNK-japan, and RT which come free through my antenna.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      You should checkout Sherlock and TopGear.

      • I watch TopGear as often as I can thanks to BBC America (the original BBC version, not the wretched, bastardized, hillbilly, neck of red American version). I'm a fan of Jeremy Clarkson on the show, love his wit and overall disdain for American cars.

      • You should checkout Sherlock and TopGear.

        Question: Can you stream Wheeler Dealers? It airs on Discovery UK, if that matters...

        I love that show.

      • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

        Second vote for Sherlock, it's awesome.

        Nerds would probably also appreciate QI (is that on BBC?), there have been an assortment of fabulous UK shows over the years including, but not limited to, Ultraviolet, Edge of Darkness, Jekyll, Coupling, Hustle, Spooks.

    • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:24PM (#40922301) Homepage Journal

      There are *a lot* of people, expats and otherwise, that would be absolutely fine with paying for some sort of international license for the BBC. I see this "you're stealing BBC" crap from Brits, but they are not giving an option to us and we're asking for it.

      • Are governments allowed to assess a tax (or fee) outside of their own territory?

        • Are governments allowed to assess a tax (or fee) outside of their own territory?


          Long Answer:

          The US routinely assess taxes on its citizens everywhere in the world (it is one of the only, if not the only, country to do this to its citizens). When I lived in the UK I had to file returns in both countries. Had I lived in Hong Kong or Switzerland, I would have had to pay the difference between their tax rate and the higher US tax rate to Uncle Sam.

          As far a fees go, just about anyone who has applied for any k

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        they are not giving an option to us and we're asking for it

        The BBC lack international broadcast rights for much of their content.

        The olympics is licenced to the BBC for UK broadcast and Internet distribution. It's licenced to someone else in North America. The BBC can't legally transmit it to America.

        Similar constraints apply to almost all of the content they don't create in-house, and they create remarkably little these days.

        Of the content they do create, international sales (e.g. Top Gear and the output from their Natural History unit) are a significant source of

        • Yes, but what about Dr. Who? Sherlock?
          Also, I haven't heard of any company streaming the olympics in Argentina either.

      • I'd gladly pay for plenty of UK shows. But I can't, even if I want to. They don't actually loose any revenue, since there's no way for me to give them money, so how can I feel guilty about it?

    • There are countless BBC documentaries mostly of good need to torrent, you can just watch them on You Tube. Not perfect but waaaaay better than the brain dead US stuff.
  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:13PM (#40922131) Homepage Journal

    finding a decent open proxy. They go down all the time with no warning. So pay up and get a commercial account or be prepared to make open proxy hunting a part of your daily/weekly routine.

    I used to play a MMRPG that banned my entire continent's IP... I still remember the feeling of joy upon finding a fast open proxy outside my banned zone!

    • finding a decent open proxy. They go down all the time with no warning. So pay up and get a commercial account or be prepared to make open proxy hunting a part of your daily/weekly routine.

      I used to play a MMRPG that banned my entire continent's IP... I still remember the feeling of joy upon finding a fast open proxy outside my banned zone!

      How do you feel about sharing the details of that proxy? :-)

    • We obviously need a p2p solution to this problem. Almost like using TOR, but with the only exit connections allowed going to the streaming service in your region. So if you live in the UK you can access Hulu by being a proxy for other people accessing the BBC.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Are there good updated lists to get free open proxies?

  • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:14PM (#40922137) Journal

    Some people might find this useful, so let's not get too carried away with our technical superiority. If you don't find the story informative, don't read it.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people on messageboards will weight in on a topic that they're not interested in just to say "I'm not interested in this topic." On /. we seem to have people who do nothing but post inane comments about how they're not interested in a particular story, usually in the Idle section. I find it amusing because clicking two buttons to post a reply was an even bigger waste of their time than the few seconds they spent reading the summary.

  • Personally I have a VPS in every country I want to get content from. I have a US VPSs, for Netflix, Pandora an whatever else. I have a UK VPS for BBC iPlayer, Channel4 and so on. Cheap as chips generally. I think my UK one cost $30 a year! Sell the service to my friends, and bingo I've made my money back, and I don't have to worry (too much) about some third party stealing all of my traffic
  • by Anonymous Coward is what I have been using. They have a free trial and the experience has been pain free. Long term cost would be $4.99 / mo
    I'm not sure exactly how it works, but it just does! (Can someone chime in on how they do it without a VPN??)



    • by heypete ( 60671 )

      If I understand correctly, for the vast majority of traffic they provide ordinary DNS resolver service.

      When you attempt to access something on their list of stuff-that-needs-to-be-proxied (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, etc.) their DNS servers don't return the canonical result, but instead point toward proxy servers run by unblock-us. Data is then automatically proxied as needed.

  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:24PM (#40922309) Homepage

    Dear Slashdot,

    I've been doing exactly this for, oh, I dunno, 8 or 9 years. I even have several fellow /.ers as clients on my VPN/proxy/privacy service. Thank you, Soulskill, for this lovely little time capsule from 2004.

    Stay tuned for our next story, where a young startup named Apple plans to change the world with a new kind of graphic calculator, tentatively called "Newton".

  • There are also programs, such as Proxy Switchy

    Proxy switchy gets angry on my desktop linux box, recently it starts whining because its not on gnome or kde and refusing to work, for not apparent reason other than it would be fun to complain. Too bad, before they put that detection code in proxy switchy it worked perfectly.

    Anyone have a suggestion for an alternative that is less buggy, or at least does not have that bug?

  • When I spent some time in Japan, I didn't watch any American TV and nothing bad happened. The USA was still there when I came back, and it turns out that I didn't miss any shows worth watching (and most of what I would have watched is on Netflix anyway).

  • by zerosomething ( 1353609 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:30PM (#40922403) Homepage
    Wouldn't this have been a better post if it included a list o open VPN and Proxy services for each country?
  • by javakah ( 932230 ) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:42PM (#40922541)

    2 years ago I decided that I wanted to view stuff through the BBC's iPlayer, forgetting that most of the good stuff from the BBC makes it here, and what doesn't make it here tends to be the dregs. Anyway, I found an open proxy in the UK and was barely able to get video across it. That was just the starting point. From there I looked at all of the HTTP communications (with Live HTTP Headers) and using FoxyProxy was able to just have certain pieces of data going through the proxy. I narrowed it down to just a few small HTTP communications that were being checked for location, and just proxied those. I got good streaming video after that because the actual video was being served up by Akamai. I wound up being served BBC video content from a server in Arizona.

    Given that BBC America has most of the better stuff from the BBC, I haven't bothered messing with that kind of thing in several years.

    This kind of thing may not work now, but it's worth checking to see just how much data really does have to be proxied/vpned if you are doing that kind of thing.

    • most of the good stuff from the BBC makes it here

      You forgot the qualifier of "eventually". Also acceptable would be "maybe". There's plenty of good shows I've found on netflix that won't see the light of day on BBCA.

      Given that BBC America has most of the better stuff from the BBC

      Like Star Trek: TNG? Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves? Battlestar Galactica? Gordon Ramsay cursing at people?

      Add in that it's only available with a giant expensive bundle of crap cable/sat subscription, and is not even HD for most providers. And then the biggest insult, having to watch the few good shows cut down and defaced with horribly ta

  • but geo-location blocking by the NHL is pretty much my last hurdle before cutting the cable cord.

    The NHL offers a service called Gamecenter Live that allows you to stream live games to a computer or certain STBs. All games except those from within your broadcasting region. For me, it's the Canucks as I live in Vancouver.

    I can't watch the Canucks live over this service because of the blackout restrictions imposed by the NHL. And they even have terms in their contract stating that if you use technical means t

  • by Rydia ( 556444 )

    Wait, there is a slashdot article on the front page detailing how to violate various broadcasters copyrights? I mean, I know it's preaching to the choir, but I'm astounded this is an actual article.

    IPlayer in particular isn't region-locked because the BBC hates foreigners; the service is paid for by television licenses, which people outside of England (obviously) aren't paying. It's much more than just defeating a region-locking scheme, it's basically piracy. Seeing it front and center is crazy.

    • Until the BBC offers television licenses to foreigners or finds some other way to sell the access, then I have no choice but to pirate BBC - and since they wouldn't be getting revenue from me anyway they cannot claim that I have caused them any damages, so my "crime" is nothing other than victim-less piracy. If I live in Canada but can tune in American TV and radio stations, am I stealing their content since I most likely won't be visiting the sponsors of their programs?

      That said, what about UK citizens wh

    • I pay my TV licence (ok TV tax) in the UK gladly.

      The BBC is one of the few things I think we do well in the world - the journalism and news reporting is beyond world class - it's world beating. Impartial reporting, truly global coverage. That can be hard to believe sitting in England, but as soon as you spend long enough abroad to try any other country it makes you appreciate how good the Beeb really is. Just try any southern-mediterranean broadcaster, Chinese state television, Russian state television, Fox

  • I have been using vps's for a very long time. Recently I added 2 new ones, one in the UK and one in Germany, in addition to my existing US one (which I will be switching soon to a cheaper one).

    The US one I have been using for years is somewhat pricey, at around $25 a month, as an early adopter one gets to pay a premium. However I have looked recently and found much cheaper ones (I only need a basic VPS).

    I run openvpn on the US based VPS, with the UK and DE ones connecting to it as a client (In addition to

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn