Hey BBC, stop being stingy.
May 10, 2009 6:04 PM   Subscribe

How do I watch streaming video from the BBC 4 site in the US?

Is there a way to spoof or use a proxy to circumvent country restrictions on streaming video from the BBC?

I thought this video from this MeFi post was funny and so I did the google thing and found the show on the BBC 4 site. I tried to watch the streaming video and I get the "this service is not available in your area" message.

I know the Beeb is tax payer supported but it sucks they don't want us yanks to watch.
posted by photoslob to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a way to spoof or use a proxy to circumvent country restrictions on streaming video from the BBC?

Yes, but it usually requires having a VPS connection to a UK IP. Free proxies are rarely reliable; reliable ones are rarely free.

Most of BBC FOUR's original output ends up torrented (i.e. downloadable, not streamed) on UKNova. Since much of the documentary material won't show up on US television or DVD (and UKNova forbids torrents of content that's available to buy) you might find the ethical call easier to make. The day the BBC offers an "expat's licence" with access to the iPlayer, sign me up.
posted by holgate at 6:19 PM on May 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

What you need is a VPN -- one located in the UK. This will route all traffic and make it appear that your IP is a UK IP. You can find free ones, but generally, in order to stream video, you'll need something fast, which means you'll probably have to pay for it.
posted by nitsuj at 6:20 PM on May 10, 2009

Response by poster: Doesn't sound like there's a quick and dirty way of doing it. Guess torrents are the way to go.
posted by photoslob at 6:41 PM on May 10, 2009

Ah, you're after Outnumbered. On DVD (R2) and a bit old, so no chance of it being on UKNova.
posted by holgate at 6:51 PM on May 10, 2009

Although well seeded at TheBox.
posted by daksya at 11:32 PM on May 10, 2009

Tian covered this very well back in 2006 for fans of The IT Crowd, and I used the method successfully back then.

1. In Firefox, under Tools, select Options…
2. Under General, click on Connection Settings…
3. Type in “” in HTTP Proxy field, “80” in Port field, and check Use this proxy server fro all protocols.

Follow the link for more proxy IPs. Also, be very careful about using this method - these proxy IPs have laissez faire to do whatever they want with the traffic routing through them, so remember to undo this for regular web use, especially anything involving passwords et al.

That said, I usually torrent current shows. And yes, TheBox is an excellent source of British TV, but requires an invitation and maintenance of a polite ratio (which they make pretty easy actually). I have an invite or few to spare if you want to check them out.
posted by Billegible at 1:33 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Dude, I'm a UK tax payer and licence fee payer. Stopping nicking our stuff :)

That said, for stuff that isn't likely to be imminently available on DVD, uknova is the best of the torrent sites.
posted by unsliced at 5:11 AM on May 11, 2009

Actually, I think thebox has caught up. They don't age off old torrents, and their rules are a bit less strict on content. For instance, uknova will take stuff down if there is a DVD out, while thebox will put up a DVD rip.
posted by smackfu at 5:43 AM on May 11, 2009

Technically, the services (that includes web streaming) of the BBC are funded through a television licensing fee and not "tax payer supported" as you contend. If they had a licensing scheme for international viewers, I'd be all over it!
posted by kuppajava at 8:02 AM on May 11, 2009

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