Can watching British TV ease expat homesickness

Published:  17 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: Moving, UK, England
Moving overseas and living in an unfamiliar country can cause attacks of homesickness, depression and stress-related anxiety, but accessing the home country’s TV channels can help ease the strain.

Wherever in the world expats are located, there’s no avoiding the occasional twinge of regret for leaving the comforts of home and immersing oneself in a totally unfamiliar culture. Accessing the familiar through its TV channels has become increasingly popular since the arrival of android boxes and streaming but, for those of us who didn’t grow up with computers, the technology can be confusing at best and totally incomprehensible at worst.

British expats find themselves at the back of the queue for watching their own country’s TV whilst overseas due to all the major UK television providers’ decision to block their programmes from being shown anywhere but in the UK. It’s done by a sneaky technique which tracks your IP address to its country of origin and issues polite but infuriating messages refusing access outside Britain. The BBC actually redirects would-be viewers to their international news service pages, but refuses to share any of its other programmes or even its radio shows.

Technology being what it is and totally in denial of any restrictions, there are now solutions for Brits who can’t imagine life without Eastenders and other popular soaps and series. VPNs (virtual private networks) can be configured to show origins in the UK as well as a huge choice of other countries, and the unveiling of Netflix was greeted with howls of joy from expat communities worldwide. Netflix’s most recent offering is their very own VPN, rolled out after it blocked access to its services by commercial OP addresses including established VPNs.

For those who disapprove of the internet giant’s restrictive actions, Identity Cloaker have the answer via a host of residential servers deep in their infrastructure. Another option available in many expat hubs is the use of an android box configured to receive a long list of international TV offerings. There’s usually a choice of sellers’ websites detailing the various services available, but it’s buyer beware time as, especially in remoter Asian locations, these online businesses and their local ‘technicians’ tend to disappear as fast as they appear, leaving users out of pocket as well as bereft of their TV comfort zones.
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