When British expat Tim Fleming was living in Shanghai he found it was easy enough to find the latest blockbuster movie on DVD or online, but it was completely impossible to watch British TV abroad.
The programmes Tim and his young family wanted to watch such as BBC News and Current Affairs, Match of the Day, the Soaps, and of course Cbeebies for the kids, were just not available. The problem was that when you try to access BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub from overseas you are denied access if you don’t have a UK IP address. An IP address identifies your location and without a UK IP, you can’t watch UK TV online. This was a problem Tim and his long time friend Noel Greaves-Lord were determined to fix.
Tim and Noel soon realised that there was an existing solution to the problem, that had until then not been used for accessing online TV, but had been developed purely to offer secure encrypted access to the internet. The good news was that this VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology also gave you an IP address located in the country where the VPN servers were hosted.
The solution was to get a VPN server based in the UK for Tim and his family to connect through. With the help of developers and server providers in the UK Tim quickly had a UK IP, and therefore access to all his favourite television online in the UK. He was also a very popular Dad!!!
As soon as Tim’s expat friends and colleagues realised they could do the same, Tim and Noel decided to turn the service into a business. So in early 2009 My Expat Network was born.
We provide a piece of software that you can quickly and easily download onto your PC Mac or Laptop, that sits on you desktop, allowing you to turn on and off the VPN. It utilises your existing internet connection, but once connected the VPN routes through the My Expat Network servers in the UK.
As time went by international demand increased and it became clear that expats from other countries wanted access to online TV from home as well, so the My Expat Network VPN model was rolled out to the USA, Canada and Australia.
You can now get an all-inclusive VPN package to give you access to all four countries. Most of the English speaking world. The huge growth in sales of mobile phones and tablets led to the development of Apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub. 4OD and FIVE, and this new pattern persuaded My Expat Network to develop their own mobile App for iOS and Android.
You can now download the My Expat Network Pro App from the App Store and Google Play. The App pre-configures the VPN on your device without any need to change settings or add information. It is a fantastic solution to UK TV on the go.
It is now possible to have the My Expat Network VPN on all of your devices, PC, Mac, laptop, mobile and tablet with up to 5 simultaneous connections…perfect for the entire family to use.
Tim had moved from Shanghai to Chicago and had a business contact with a broadband router provider. The conversation soon turned to VPN’s, and there was a solution. The My Expat Network software could be pre-installed onto a router, and the end-user would be able to switch between their local provider and the VPN, simply by selecting the new VPN network. Your smart TV would then be hooked up to the VPN network and have a UK IP address.
This sensational development has really moved VPN onto a different level. It is now possible to watch British TV abroad on your smart TV exactly as you would in the UK. By incorporating a streaming device such as a Roku box, a device that hosts all of the Apps, you are good to go.
And watching on a television is much more of a shared family experience than watching on your laptop or tablet.
Since 2009 the VPN market has expanded pretty much exponentially, and demand is huge. There are many more providers in the market and there is lots of choice. There are many considerations when choosing a VPN. Some providers offer a free service, but these are always driven by advertising revenue, so your viewing experience will be seriously interrupted.
Ask if the service provider offers good tech support. VPN relies on the internet and computer technology, so having a helping hand at times is very important. How much bandwidth the provider offers is also an important consideration. Look for unlimited bandwidth deals and providers with lots of servers. This is very important when demand is high, like during the Final of The Great British Bake Off or when England play Rugby.
Many VPN providers operate exclusively in the privacy and security market. This is because a VPN encrypts your internet data making it impossible to hack. The downside with these providers is that the high level of encryption can severely slow down your connection, making video streaming difficult.
My Expat Network use a lower level of encryption, as video streaming is the main reason people use their service, and they have a policy of only running servers at 75% of capacity, guaranteeing the best possible connection speed and bandwidth.
So now, watching British TV abroad couldn’t be easier!