TV here is not good. My internet subscription comes with Dutch TV, BBC One & 2, and a few other mostly dire channels like MTV, Discovery, etc. So, I’ve been gradually improving our access to decent TV in a way which is less troublesome than torrenting files. Here’s my current setup:
- unlocator.com - this is the key ingredient, it masks my IP address to bypass the geographical restrictions on all of the services listed below. Unlocator costs $5.99 a month, and can be used from any device which lets you set your own DNS. In my case, I manually set my apple TV DNS to run through unlocator, and I have a second wifi network which allows me to connect via unlocator on any other device in the house without fiddling with DNS settings on iOS devices, which is a bit more convoluted than elsewhere.
- A US iTunes account - I have an iTunes account connected to the US store. This gets you broader programming not only in the store itself, but also brings a whole bunch of extra apps to my apple TV (a nice side-effect here is that I can now also install iOS apps which for whatever reason only get released in the US).
- iTunes US Giftcards - in creating an account in iTunes, you need to provide some form of payment info. The only option which works without a US credit card is to buy iTunes gift cards. I use mygiftcardsupply.com to buy cards and keep my account in credit. I looked at lots of other options here and this one seemed like the most reliable option. The cards are sold at face-value and you get the voucher code generally within ten minutes of completing the transaction.
- With iTunes credit, I am now able to subscribe to Netflix and access the US content catalogue (which is much, much broader than the Dutch offering), and I’m also trailing HBO Now which just came to apple TV. I’ve never experienced problems streaming content via unlocator DNS, except with HBO Now, which seems to still be suffering from some teething problems.
That covers accessing US content. unlocator is smart enough to decide on an ad-hoc basis which country to present as my origin country, so I’m also able to use my Playstation 4 to access British TV content. I do the same DNS trick on the PS4 and have the BBC & SkyTV apps installed. For Sky, there is no easy way to get a subscription from outside of the UK, but thanks to an enterprising network of British emigrants, there are ways to get a subscription and access Sky Go via the Playstation. This gives me access to all of the standard Sky TV channels, but what I use it for is mostly watching Football and Cricket.
In my 7 years of living overseas, this is the best setup I’ve found for getting access to proper television. The only downside, of course is the cost, here’s a breakdown of what this setup costs per month:
HBO Now: $15
Total: $69 (£45/€63)