11th Feb2021

How To Stream Your Favourite TV Shows From Any Location

by James Smith

With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever before to catch up on your favourite TV shows on the go. Whether you’re commuting to work on the train or staying abroad in a hotel, there are ways to keep watching your favourite series. Below is a guide on how you can do it and the tools you’ll need to get the best viewing experience.

Watch TV shows on these free streaming sites. The UK’s most popular TV channels all have sites that you can stream their content on for free. You can watch these on a laptop, phone or tablet. In some cases, you’ll have to sign up to the site, however there are no fees for doing this. A few of the most popular TV streaming sites in the UK include:

  • BBC iPlayer – BBC iPlayer is free to anyone who has a TV license (you’ll have to sign in to the website and prove you have a license before watching anything). You can watch it on the go once you’ve got an account. This is great for catching up on all your favourite BBC programmes.
  • ITV Hub – The ITV hub website allows you to catch up or livestream all your favourite ITV programmes. Like BBC iPlayer, you’ll have to create an account first (which is free) – but you don’t need a TV license. The trade-off is having to put up with ads.
  • All4 – If you love Channel 4 TV shows, All4 is the streaming website for you. Registering an account is free and you don’t need a TV license, but there are advert breaks to sit through. All4 is also a great streaming site for movie lovers – it has a surprisingly extensive collection.
  • My5 – My5 is the site to go if you want to stream Channel 5 programmes. Like the previous two sites, you don’t need a TV license to view it and it’s free to create an account. There are adverts.
  • Pluto TV – Pluto TV is exclusively designed for watching live TV. You can create an account for free, which allows you to choose from a variety of US live channels (including AMC, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Fox Sports and more…). You’ll have to sit through adverts, so be wary of this.
  • Plex – Plex offers access to a variety of US programmes and live US channels. Much of the content won’t be well-known to UK audiences, but it’s a treasure trove for those looking for more niche and obscure shows. Like Pluto TV, it’s free to create an account and paid by adverts.

Download the right streaming apps

On top of streaming TV shows on websites, you can also stream shows on apps. All of the sites listed above are also compatible as a free app, which can offer a more user-friendly experience if you’re watching shows on a smartphone or a tablet. There are also a variety of other streaming service apps that could be worth trying. You’ll have to pay to use these, but they’re ad-free. Below are the most popular examples available in the UK.

  • Netflix – Netflix is probably the most well-known TV streaming service. It contains a variety of films, series and documentaries, including a number of acclaimed originals. The Netflix app is available on Apple and Android devices. You’ll have to sign up to Netflix first – plans vary from £5.99 to £13.99 per month depending on whether you want to share with other users.
  • Amazon Prime Video – Amazon Prime Video offers access to an incredible range of movies, as well as a variety of series to stream. You’ll have to sign up to Amazon Prime, which costs £7.99 per month (on top of getting access to Amazon Prime Video, you’ll also get more flexible and cheaper Amazon deliveries). The Amazon Prime Video app is available for Apple and Android users.
  • Sky Store – The Sky Store app is free to download for Apple or Android users – and you don’t have to be a Sky customer to use it. You do however have to pay money per film/show. The Sky Store app does have an extensive collection of media to choose from, making it worth downloading for those times when you want extra choices.
  • Now TV – The Now TV app offers access to thousands of shows and films. The app is free to download, however you’ll need to have a Sky Cinema pass, Entertainment pass, Kids pass, Hayu pass or Sky Sports pass to watch content. The app is available for Apple or Android users.
  • Apple TV + – If you’re an Apple device user, you can also watch shows on the Apple TV + app. This costs £4.99 per month, but allows you access to a multitude of content – you can watch the likes of BBC iPlayer, All4 and ITV Hub through the app, along with various other channels. You’ll also get access to Apple original shows.
  • Disney + – If you’re a Disney fan, the Disney + app is a must-have. This gives you access to all the Disney movies and channels (which have been pulled from most other streaming services). To use the app, you need to be a Disney + customer (which costs currently £5.99 per month).
  • Britbox – Britbox is an app that gives you access to all BBC and ITV content in one place. Unlike BBC iPlayer, you don’t need a TV license to use this app. Meanwhile, you don’t have to sit through the ads found on ITV hub. The catch is that it costs £5.99 per month.

Check your data and network coverage

In order to stream shows, you need a good internet connection. While you may be able to log in to public wi-fi, this could restrict you as to where you are able to stream shows.

On a smartphone or tablet, it could be essential to have extensive network coverage so that you don’t have to rely on public wi-fi. You’ll also need the right data plan – if you’re going to be streaming from different locations regularly, it could be important to have a high data limit or unlimited data plan so that you can always rely on your network coverage. Different mobile networks will have different levels of coverage and different data plans to choose from. EE and O2 are among two of the most popular – this guide https://halfcooked.co.uk/ee-vs-o2-review/ compares the two networks and the coverage they provide. You’ll generally pay more for a high data plan.

It’s important to also consider whether your device can connect to 5G. If your smartphone was released before 2019, the highest level of connectivity you’ll get is 4G. While you’ll still be able to watch videos on 4G with minimal buffering, 5G technology offers greaters speeds – making buffering practically non-existent and downloads 76% faster.
Look into portable wi-fi

If you want total internet coverage wherever you are, you could consider looking into portable wi-fi. This could allow you access to the internet even in places where your phone network has no coverage. You simply buy a portable router that your device then connects to. Routers come in all shapes and sizes – they’re pocket sized so that they can be easily carried. Portable routers can be paid for monthly or you can look into pay-as-you-go routers. You may be able to buy one as an extension to your home wi-fi plan or as part of your mobile network plan.

Use a VPN

A VPN is worth paying for if you’re streaming shows on the go. VPNs (virtual private networks) disguise your online identity and encrypt internet traffic. When signing into a public network, they can be useful for protecting you from hackers. VPNs also have the benefit of allowing you to access location restricted content – which can be useful when going abroad. You may find that you’re unable to stream Netflix or Now TV shows in other countries. With a VPN, this is possible. You can read this guide here https://www.tomsguide.com/uk/best-picks/best-vpn to compare the best VPNs.

Stream shows offline

If you don’t want to pay extra for high data plans, portable wi-fi or VPNs, you could always consider watching shows offline by downloading a few shows before you set off. Most streaming platforms allow you to do this. The issue may be if you’re going abroad. Streaming services like Netflix don’t allow you to watch some downloaded content in other countries where it may be restricted. However, this only applies if you connect the device to the internet while abroad.

Bring a portable charger

Streaming TV shows could use up a lot of battery on your devices. If you’re streaming TV on the go and you haven’t got access to an electrical socket, it could be worth buying a portable charger. Portable chargers come in all forms. There are pocket charging stations that can fit in your pocket and portable chargers that are integrated into rucksacks and briefcases. You’ll have to remember to charge up your charger before you go – the average power bank can contain enough power to charge up a smartphone twice. Solar chargers could be a solution to this if you’re venturing into the wilderness for a few days (these are able to charge up themselves using only the sun).
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