There’s a very simple answer to the question – why can’t I watch ITV abroad? It’s because the ITV Hub checks your location when you try to connect and blocks access if you are not in the United Kingdom. It bases this check on your IP address, so if your IP address isn’t British, you won’t be able to watch it online.
Sounds a bit petty and restrictive. After all they still have adverts you need to watch, and it is still primarily a free to air channel. It’s likely due to various copyright and licensing issues which restrict the use to the United Kingdom. Yet the frustration it causes is huge for many people, particularly for expats and holidaymakers who expected to be able to watch all their favorite shows online using the ITV Hub.
Many years ago, ITV was considered something of an inferior version of the UK’s public broadcaster the BBC. This comparison was probably fair to some extent as ITV was often guilty of churning out lots of low quality, cheap sit coms and comedies to fill up their TV schedule. Nowadays though the focus has switched to quality probably because in an increasingly competitive market, being able to sell and market these shows worldwide is a huge money spinner. Some of their programmes like Downton Abbey, Midsomer Murders, Love Island, X Factor and Coronation Street have a truly global appeal.
UK TV Sites Are Blocked Outside the UK
Personally, I think it’s stupid to continue along these outdated models, the internet is global. These blocks, filters and restrictions are precisely the boundaries and walls that the internet was designed to break down. Anyway, however you refer to it geo-targeting, geo-blocks or geo-filters personally I think it’s a stupid system. Fortunately, although most media sites like the BBC implement these restrictions too, there’s a relatively simple way to bypass them.
First of all, a quick summary of how these blocks are implemented, the concept is the same irrespective of which site you are trying to access. So although here we’re looking at how to unblock ITV it’s exactly the same for any media site anywhere in the world. The key factor is your IP address, which is the unique network number that every device connected to the internet is assigned. When you visit these sites, your address is logged and then the location looked up from a series of databases. So, your physical location is linked to this address and is used in a variety of ways to control your access to each specific site.
So, you’ll be classified as a UK surfer, or a US surfer and so on depending on where your IP is registered. Search engines for example use this information to server up localised versions of your search queries. Large cinema chains will route you quietly to the cinema matching your location. Yet media sites will often either allow you access or simply say you can’t access the content depending on your location.
Just like this, from the old version of the ITV Hub which was called the ITV Player.
So, the solution to accessing ITV Hub outside the United Kingdom and indeed all British TV is to simply change your address. Unfortunately, this isn’t really possible however you can hide your real address and use another one instead.
You just need to use something called a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to hide your real IP address and choose one that will work. This involves connecting to a server which will hide your real location and encrypt your internet connection. You simply run some simple VPN software so you can connect, then the website will see the server’s address and not your real one then say goodbye to that hub error when you try and connect.
So, Can You Watch ITV Hub Abroad?
Basically, here’s how you can, there’s a brief video on YouTube demonstrating the method of accessing ITV abroad. It’s very simple and straightforward and you need zero technical knowledge to access everything.
Why isn’t Downton Abbey on ITV Hub?
Well, it was, and rest assured that any new series will be broadcast live on ITV Hub and be available afterwards. However, most of ITV’s archive has been moved to a new project called Britbox. This is a collaboration between the UK’s main TV broadcasters. It showcases some original material but is mainly a huge archive full of the best of British TV from the last few decades. It’s meant that many older shows have been moved to this platform, although it’s not always the case with the BBC which has maintained it’s archive.
Unlock Other Sites with Other VPN Servers
There’s no need to stop at using your UK VPN for watching ITV Hub outside the UK there’s loads more streaming platforms. There are loads of other great streaming sites which are accessible for free too. The ITV Hub will require you to setup an account, but don’t worry there’s no check. They ask for a post code for your location, same as a ZIP code in the US – but just pick any valid one from any UK address and you’ll be fine. You should also setup an account on the wonderful BBC iPlayer where you can enjoy about twelve live channels and thousands of shows stored in their archive too. There are other channels too – check out All Four and Channel 5 too.
It’s worth exploring other countries too, just click on a different country within the VPN app to try them. There are even more channels in the US if you’re not in that country, indeed many US citizens use a US VPN when travelling or abroad too. All the major US TV channels have large online presences which can be accessed outside the US using your VPN apps and servers.
Which VPN Service Should I Use for ITV
There’s lots of choices available for these services as you can imagine. It’s been estimated that over 70 million people watch the BBC from places like the USA and others outside the UK for example!! There are things you should bear in mind though when choosing VPN providers –
- Speed – streaming video especially in high definition needs a fast server. Free servers are simply too slow for accessing TV sites and are always blocked by the major sites like BBC and ITV anyway.
- Accessibility – the BBC blocks many service providers, and most VPNs won’t work with iPlayer or ITV Hub. Make sure yours does!
- Security – a VPN is primarily a security program. If privacy issues are important to you check for 256-bit encryption, ad blocking, a kill switch and that they don’t keep server logs. It can also stop your internet provider logging your activity too.
Don’t worry about the security if you’re just streaming TV but it’s essential if you want to protect your internet connection. For example, never check your webmail, bank accounts or anything with confidential information when using shared or unknown wireless connections in places like cafes, hotels or airports. If you use a VPN then your connection and data is protected wherever you are.
That’s all there is to it, by setting up a connection to a VPN server based in the United Kingdom you’ll unlock all UK only sites. It works because the websites involved will only see the IP address of the VPN server and not yours directly. We’ve tested and used hundreds of different VPN and proxy services over the last twelve years, NordVPN offers a reliable way to access all UK TV channels from abroad and is very reasonably priced.
The latest offers for Nord VPN if you want to access ITV Hub and all UK TV channels is at the following site.