How to watch UK TV Channels “BBC ITV 4oD Sky Demand5” in Spain

Being an UK expat has it’s perks. Working abroad, you get to know new cultures “mostly better weather overseas :)” and normally better pay. However, one of the downside is that you do loose access to your favourite TV channels such as BBC Iplayer, ITV,Sky, 4oD, Netflix UK and Demand5. This guide will explain how to bypass geolocation restrictions that prevent you from enjoying your favorite UK TV Channels and Soap Operas. I did create this guide based on a user request from Spain asking for help to unblock UK Channels. However, it is valid for UK expats in Dubai, UAE, Saudi, Canada, Australia or anywhere else on the globe. 
Watch UK TV Channels to Watch For Expats living overseas
Watch UK TV Channels to Watch For Expats living overseas

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Watch UK TV Channels Abroad – Intro

As an expat, you will get all kinds of location errors when trying to access “BBC Iplayer, ITV,Sky, 4oD, Netflix UK and Demand5” and the likes abroad. In order to get these channels to work you have to trick the TV channels that your  devices are actually not connecting from overseas, but locally from whithin the UK. In order to achieve that you have to choices, either VPN or Smart DNS Proxies. Both of these two solutions have their unique set of perks. So please see the explanations below.

Watch UK TV Channels Overseas : Use VPN

If you are very security aware and prefer to stay anonymous online VPN “Virtual Private Network” is your thing. VPN takes all your traffic and in this case, tunnels it through a UK VPN server. As a result you will end up being able to access all UK TV channels from abroad. There is no perfect solution though, VPN has a few limitations, as does Smart DNS. VPN does not work on Smart TVs for example or on Apple TVs “unless you have a VPN enabled router”. I personally use a VPN provider called ExpressVPN which features the following :

  • Easy to use apps for Iphone, Ipad, Ipod , Android, Mac and PC. It takes a few minutes from Signup to Watching UK TV channels from abroad.
  • Best industry level encryption.
  • All traffic is encrypted and sent to through UK servers “make sure you choose a UK server from dropdown in app when you connect to VPN” thus ALL UK content is unblocked from overseas.
  • If you want to watch US channels, all you have to do is choose a US VPN server from the VPN app.
  • If you want to connect your TV set or Smart TV you will need a VPN enabled router.

In order to watch UK TV channels outside UK, use any of these VPN services.

VPN Provider
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  • Extensions for Firefox and Chrome
  • Split-tunneling available

Watch UK TV Channels as an Expat : Use Smart DNS

Smart DNS is for the ones of you who care more about flexibility, ease of use and setup than being anonymous. Smart DNS gains it’s flexibility and speed  through the fact that it only re-routes the geo location aware parts of your traffic. Thus unblocking UK TV channels from overseas. The rest of your traffic is not affected, and local channels will still work. Unlike VPN not ALL UK TV content channels are unblocked. It really depends on your Smart DNS Provider what is unblocked. I have been using Unlocator for over a year. They do provide the following UK channels “BBC Iplayer, ITV,Sky, 4oD, Netflix UK and Demand5” on ALL supported devices. See a few more notes below :

  • All devices are supported, all it takes is to get a Free trial and then setup DNS either on your router for all devices from Smart TV to PC to be supported, or change DNS individually on each device. See Video and Picture guides for device setup here
  • If you are using Vodafone Spain, it is highly likely that Smart DNS wont work for you due to DNS Hijacking, in that case you need VPN.
  • Unlocator provides access to over 85 channels. So you can watch American Netflix, Fox and BBC UK at the same time.
  • While you dont get encryption with Smart DNS, you gain more speed due to less encryption and less traffic routing.

UK TV Channels unblocked – DNS or VPN that is the question

I would love to hear from you. Did you choose VPN or Smart DNS Proxies ? Are there certain channels or devices it did not work on ? Please have your opinion heard. Thanks for reading !.

72 thoughts on “How to watch UK TV Channels “BBC ITV 4oD Sky Demand5” in Spain”

  1. Juan Ignacio Alfonso

    I’ve had Smart DNS for several years. It worked fine in the TV browser until a recent software update. Since then, even though I am using the browser, it gives a message saying my device doestn’t support the iPlayer App. I have a Sony Bravia OLED

  2. I have nordvpn it works fine on my iPad and iPhone but when I try to cast to my new LG tv it shows the same message as if I were not connected to a vpn. My internet supply is not my own but one I have use of when I am in Spain I have the pass word ect. I also have fitted my tv with Chromecast but still the same result. I do not have any controll of the router for this internet supply is this the problem and if so how can I get around it ?

    1. Hello there. It does seem that the issue is caused by the fact that you have not set up the VPN connection on your router. In case you do have access to the router, you can use an Ethernet cable to connect a secondary router to the main one and the install VPN on the secondary router instead.

  3. Is there anyway to watch iplayer for bbc in France now that you need to log in and give a post code. I’ve tried my old uk post code but the iplayer knows where the ip address is coming from – some where in london. I need the post code for the vpn’s ip address for iplayer to work now. Is anyone providing that service?

  4. I am using express vpn in Cyprus. BBC iPlayer working fine but STV only able to watch live streaming. Unable to watch catch up – message Oops! Something has gone wrong appears on screen. also unable to access skygo.
    Am considering using film on.

  5. Hi, a number of us ex’pats watch filmon via Raspbery pi boxes or Sony, Philips android TV with Kodi. we recently had to change the quality to Low to continue to watch the SD free version. However those of us watching on Andorid TV are now experiencing very bad buffering. It plays for a few seconds then freezes or we loose sound. I understand that the andoird Tv don´t support flashplayer so we are unable to download the filmon app. Any suggestions on how to improve this. Thanks as ever for your guidance.

  6. Hi – I have a place in Spain that has a smart TV and I’ve got wifi that gets me many of the channels from the UK. I’ve been told that I should get an Amazon Box and have Kody put on it so I have more to choose from. Two questions: 1. Would I have to pay a subscription to anyone (Amazon) and 2. I think I’ve read online not to buy it from Amazon itself (locked?). Bit confused…please can anyone explain.

    1. You don’t need a Prime account, just a regular Amazon sign-in.

      I’ve been happily using Kodi and Mobdro on my Amazon Fire TV Stick (v1) in Egypt for 18 months now.

      1. Hi Lee. Did you need to set Kodi up in any particular way to use it in Egypt or is it the same settings as for the UK? Cheers.

  7. Hi there. I have downloaded ExpressVPN onto my iPad tablet in preparation to moving over to Portugal. We currently have a service offering from Caboviso Portugal which gives us broadband, phone and TV. The service gives us 143 channels from various countries but we will have to have individual “boxes” for each tv/room to utilise the service. However, I hope that by using ExpressVPN over the broadband connection we will be able to watch UK tv without having to have more individual boxes.
    Am I correct in my assumptions? Sorry to have been so long-winded but I have tried to be as clear as possible.

  8. Hi I have a lg smart TV in Spain, I want to watch British tv at moment I use filmon, but are you saying I can install unlocator to my tv. Do I just add it as an app sorry yo be so thick

        1. Hi Lori. You get the “Got a TV license?” warning when watching BBC iPlayer outside UK using Unlocator. But then you can just click “I have a TV license.” and continue streaming.

      1. Hi we have just bought an apartment in Spain. We have a Samsung smart tv. Can we access uk tv direct from the tv eg via the film on app or otherwise? I have no idea what a von is or dns. Sorry for being such a tv dunce! Terry

        1. Hi Terry. It all really depends on whether the channels you intend to watch are available outside UK or not. If the channel is geoblocked i.e. can only be watched within the UK, VPN or Smart DNS allows you to spoof your online location. Thus, practically unblock the channel in Spain.

  9. The BBC has announced that it will not allow people to use the iplayer if they don’t have a licence. Does that mean I won’t be able to access it using my con network? I live in italy.

    1. Hi Julia. Right now, it is still unclear how the license requirement will affect BBC iPlayer online streaming.

  10. This sounds like the solution to my rugby problem! I live in the US but would love to have access to Rugby – like on Sky or Premier in the UK. I’m just not familiar with those service. Seems like thru the VPN, I could subscribe to Sky or Premier Sports and watch here via my laptop?? I’d just have to indicate that I’m in the UK when subscribing to Sky/Premier, correct?

    1. Hi Jay. Try signing up with Now TV instead of Sky while using VPN. Basically, both offer the same content, but signing up with Now TV is easier from abroad.

  11. I want to turn smart DNS off when not required and revert to my current DNS settings, how do I do this quickly and simply, This is a simple question but so far I have been unable to get an answer from anywhere

    1. Hi. To do that, you have to remove the DNS server addresses you are using and switch back to the original ones or use Google DNS (, instead.

  12. Wow how come your so clever found you by accident glad I did now I don’t no now to keep you not bin long learning how to work my new tablet ueslies comes to mind still done realys spelling comes up iam dislicsic can’t spell that other good luck to you and thanks for your information may need it soon of on hols can’t live without TV take in tablet may need you in Spain hope I can get you back

  13. I brought back Apple TV from USA which my son gave me and which is full of USA channels etc, currency dollars. Is it possible to change it to receive UK channels? Also I live in France but shortly going to Spain for a while and would like to be able to use it.

  14. Iam a tablet virgin thinking of a holladay in Spain can’t live with out TV don’t no this letters mean if I take this tablet can I watch TV and wat do I do and is it free r how much do I need thanks for your time in this matter

  15. Hello I have a Samsung Smart TV UE48HU7500LXXH bought in Cyprus it is a 2014 model which I have recently updated.
    Because it does not have and will not accept flash player we are having a lot of problems.
    I am using smartdns with the dns in Spain but we are having problems getting live TV.
    We are having to resort to Filmon through the web browser, which has poor picture quality our internet speed is now 8Mgb and will soon be 16 Mgb through ip Cyta.
    Is there an economical solution that would give us live UK/USA TV at a good performance level and picture resolution.
    All of the access to programs is muddly we had been used to a Sony 100hz with Cytavision and before that in UK by just having terrestrial channels and channel numbers which was easy to use. The Samsung TV has an app for Filmon which fails due to” technical problems” after about 5 minutes of a clear picture and easy access to channels. Thank you

  16. Hi, I have been using a VPN to watch British TV whilst in USA. For a few weeks I haven’t been able to connect to BBCiPlayer, the reasons for which I’m aware of. However, I now can’t get 4OD to play. I can select the programme, hit play but then nothing, no message, just nothing at all. It’s been 2 days now. Any ideas?

  17. I have Golden Frog on laptop & windows eight chinese tablet in france. For the last few weeks with vpn on have been unable to access progs through bbc iplayer – have cleared cookies, history et all. No joy. I just can’t see how it’s possible they can detect I am outside uk when vpn shows I am routing through a Uk server. Any ideas please, gratefully received !!

  18. hi

    I used Overplay in spain by amending dns settings to allow sky catch-up but that no longer works.Can you advise if Unlocator can be used to configure the Spanish movistar router

    1. Thinking about Sky Catch Up. Is that the same as Sky Go? We had to change browser from Google Chrome because it no longer supports Microsoft Silverlight which Sky Go needs. If you try a different browser, Internet Explorer or Safari this might solve your problem.

      1. Sky Catch Up is different to Sky Go. Sky Go is n your phone or tablet whereas Catch Up is n the TV. It’s excellent. With Ethernet cable in to the router and Unlocator on to our iPad we can get all the catch up services.

  19. i have an LG smart TV, Fiberhome router and an VPN + SmartDNS account. I am living in Thailand and when I try to watch Netflix it tells me they haven’t come to the region yet. Can somebody please tell me if I can set up my Smart DNS on this type of router and if so, a quick rundown on how to do so? Or alternatively, the best option?Cheers.

    1. Hi. Whether you setup Smart DNS directly on your Smart TV or router should not make a difference. You should be able to unblock and watch Netflix on LG Smart TV in either case. However, your ISP might either be using transparent proxies or DNS hijacking which are preventing Smart DNS from working properly.

  20. Can watch BBC in Australia using a VPN but not ITV. It also requires a UK email address and postcode. I created uk email and code but still ITV just asks to login (tried to reregister and it said already registered). Somehow it seems to be able to see past the VPN etc.

  21. I have run Unlocator with great results on Kodi installed Nexus Player, but not been able to get a decent iPlayer app.
    When I tried it on Sony Smart tv, everything (5 on demand, Sky news etc) works apart from iPlayer. Any suggestions
    Based in Canada on a North American

    1. Hi. Sometimes the Smart TV itself is not completely compatible with certain channels such as BBC iPlayer and hence it does not work as it should.

  22. hi above you say unlocator ublocks sky go but on their site it is not listed in the sites they unblock is this just an oversight on their part. does it unblock sky go ?

  23. I am considering buying a Smart TV for in Spain. I presently have a VPN for using on my PC and wondered if it is easier to link it up with a Smart TV to get English programmes? An LG TV is advertised with WEBOS and seems to suggest that you enter your language and location and it automatically installs the preferred settings. My router is provided by Telefonica/Movistar. Can you advise?

  24. Wonder if u can help with this problem. I had Sky On Demand catch up on TV with an Ethernet cable connected from router to Sky HD box as I live in Spain. Great. Then last week it failed. Not just us but some others as well. We were using Overplay. They first if all said it was due to an update now they are blaming Sky.

  25. The only way I receive English TV in Spain is through Film On via my computer and internet. My internet company is recommending the sale of a Blusens Smart Box for receiving UK TV. After a year I would pay 6 euros per month for the DNS Proxy.
    I looked into Roku 3, but have been advised that this is for use in US and UK at present, hoping to extend further in future. Can you advise, or have you heard from anyone using the Blusens box and their views. Also are these boxes only useable in conjunction with internet service suppliers (ie supplying them with my IP address) or do they have a DNS Proxy automatically installed meaning the boxes would work the same if bought privately.

    1. Hi
      To be honest, that is the first time I hear about this, what is your ISP ? And if you want English TV, any Smart TV with region support would unblock BBC, ITV, 4oD and Channel 5, are there other channels you are looking for ?

  26. Pingback: How to watch UK TV Channels "ITV,BBC,4oD,S...

  27. I am in Spain using smarty DNS on a Samsung smart tv. I could get live ITV from the browser but now I am being asked fo a geo location and it wont recognise my uk postcode.

    1. Hi
      If it asks for geolocation in browser try to deny access or use one of many location spoofing plugins for your browser

      1. I have tried to deny without success. The button lights up but doesn’t move me on to anything else. I will have to do homework on location spoofing? What is it?

        1. Simply a plugin that does change the geographic area your browser appears from “GPS that is”, I must say I do not have any issues with Unlocator though. You might want to test their trial to see if you face the same issues.

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