Location-locked content sucks.
Although I can, at times, understand the thought process behind locking away content, I’m also a product of the “I Want It Now” generation, spoiled by Amazon Prime 2-Day shipping and a wealth of information at my fingertips at any given moment. If I think about or seek information or content, I want to have it immediately, with as little fuss as possible. In this instance, and due to my lack of willingness to pay for cable television (a whole story unto its own), I was unwilling to wait for January 19th to arrive to watch Sherlock here in the US. Knowing that the fine folks at the BBC stream whole episodes on their site, and that it is location-locked, I decided to devise the easiest way possible to view Sherlock, even if it does mean spending some money (in this case, a measly $5).
A quick Google search of “BBC VPN UK streaming” resulted in quite a bit of information to sort through, but after browsing Lifehacker and Engadget for a few minutes via the indexed search results, I came across Tunnelbear. The service allows you to VPN to various sites around the world so you can dance right around a location-lock and enjoy content that you might otherwise not have access to. The website looks well-maintained and well-written, which is the briefest of tests for something reliable and trustworthy nowadays. Another quick Google search for reviews of the service turned up extremely happy people all using adjectives such as “easy,” “painless,” and “affordable.” To top it all off, they offer a free version of their product (although limited to 500MB) that would allow me to see if it was worth it to pay $5 to get unlimited data for a month. For that same price, you also get to use the service on not only a computer, but also two mobile devices, which works out great for me as I also have a tablet (Galaxy Note 8) and my cell phone (Galaxy S4).
Suffice to say the test went great, and the reviews were spot on; within 10 minutes I had downloaded the program, created an account, verified my email, connected to the UK via VPN, and was watching the opening scenes of Sherlock’s Season 3 premiere. Knowing that 500MB wouldn’t be enough to stream all 3 episodes, I wasted no effort forking out the cash for unlimited data. For those who may be intimidated or confused by the process, there’s no worries – I’ll walk you through it all.
- Head over to Tunnelbear.com and download the application.
- Install the program on your computer, then create an account and verify your email (this can’t wait – the program WILL check to make sure you’ve verified).
- Since we want to watch Sherlock from the BBC, go ahead and select United Kingdom in the drop-down box.
- Once that is done, simply click on the power switch on the left-side now to turn your VPN to the United Kingdom on. The program may take 10-20 seconds to connect, but it will notify you when it does. The end result is something like this:
- Now, we go over to our favorite web browser and go to bbc.co.uk, and click on the iPlayer.
- We’ll select our program to watch, and then, like magic (after some loading) … VIDEO!
Now not only does this work for other countries (check your handy dandy drop down!), but it also does something else awesome – Netflix will now show different content! Feel free to watch other awesomeness there as well. This is also great for traveling, as one of the options is to look like you’re in the United States, which is handy if you’re around the world and happen to want to catch up on Hulu Plus or something similar.
For Android users, the app functions the same way on your mobile device – however, one problem you may have is that it’s difficult to find the BBC Media Player app you’ll need to make use of the streaming content on mobile for this specific application. No problem! I’ve already done the research, and I’ve got the APK for it, which you can get by clicking right here. You will need to tell your Android device it’s cool to install 3rd party applications before you run this, but once it is installed, you can simply go to bbc.co.uk in the browser, then select something to watch, and enjoy it streaming right to your device.
Questions? Found something awesome on Netflix or somewhere else? Let us know about it in the comments below!