Watching UK TV in Portugal is a subject close to many expats hearts! Despite the sun, sea and sand, it seems many of us can’t quite break the habit of needing UK news, Question Time or, in our case, Eastenders.
Many expats have satellite dishes, with which to watch UK TV in Portugal. They tune into UK Freesat broadcasts or Sky TV, with questionable legality.
Unfortunately a shockwave was sent through the expat community when, late last year, it was revealed that imminent satellite replacements will probably result in the gradual loss of signal over the course of this year. Many people have already begun to lose channels, with Channel 5 disappearing first and many people losing ITV just recently.
As a result, many people are now turning to online services to watch their favourite programs, but you’re probably aware that the real sites, like 4OD and iPlayer are blocked if you try to access them from outside the UK. Other more….”shady” sites appear from time to time, but are usually quickly shut down.
There is a really simple and inexpensive answer, and I have it!
I don’t tend to advertise the fact that I’m an “IT guy.” When I make the mistake of doing so, people end up bringing me laptops to fix, often when I’m about to sit down to dinner. However, one of my recent jobs has been reviewing VPN services.
What a VPN service does, in very simple terms, is make your computer appear to be physically located in a different country. So if your computer appears to be in the UK, all of the TV websites are going to work with no problem at all.
Now, you’re probably wondering about the legality of this, and it’s fair to say it’s in a grey area. You definitely need a UK TV license to watch live BBC broadcasts – but maybe you still have a UK property and therefore HAVE a license. Advertising supports other channels, so it’s hard to imagine that they would mind more people viewing the ads, but I must say that, should you choose to use a VPN service it’s down to you to establish the legal side of things.
With that said, I’m happy to report that after laboriously reviewing MANY of these services, I’ve found one that I would happily recommend, known as Expat Telly. The reason I like it so much is that it keeps things really simple: if you can follow instructions, you will get it working. It also works on Windows and Mac computers as well as iPads and Android tablets.
Best of all, an annual subscription costs roughly the same amount as subscribing to Sky for a month! So if you’re worrying about how to continue to watch UK TV in Portugal, look no further.
This is a personal recommendation based on a good trial of the service – and you needn’t huddle over your laptop to watch – all we’ve done is purchased an HDMI cable, which gives us full-screen viewing on our TV.
If you’ve had similar success with other ways of watching UK TV in Portugal, I’d be glad to hear about them in the comments box.
Image credits: Spencer Haltaway, Wikimedia Commons