Access to British tv

Yes, check this: We have been using it eversince the BBC changed their signal setup and as we are constantly moving (as we are house and pets sitters), and it works perfectly anywhere we go, even in Australia where we are it the moment. No dish needed, just a good Internet connection and a TV screen, which everybody has.

Hope this helps,

Kate and John

Crosbie, have provided useful advice for people who want basic UK TV. The problem is your common sense advice will be looked down upon by those posters who are incapable of seeing problems any way other than their way. Thank you for your input.

Well, at least it's something to explore on a rainy day, potentially wasting time rather than money - if one is in doubt about the capability of one's low-end Internet connection (<4Mbps) for streamed TV services.

If BBC via FilmOn is acceptable (it is for me at 3.5Mbps), then I gather from yours & Simon's experience that other, superior/premium Internet based TV solutions will be of even greater quality.

And if, due to a low bandwidth connection, BBC via FilmOn is of unacceptable quality then there's a small chance a premium Internet based TV solution will be acceptable.

Perhaps one could create a list, in order of bandwidth requirement, of all the ways in which one can watch BBC1 via the Internet (from within France)?

Then people simply visit and consult the list to find out which ways they should explore first (free or not).

All of those downers here too and I say 'freezing' rather than lag, buffering problems or the like because we simply have to log off Filmon and then start all over again. That is quicker than waiting for anything up to around 20 minutes until it comes back. Resolution - well, I have see things people have filmed on the phone of better quality. Our internet speeds do not allow better, far too many people in rural France have the same and that is why a lot of us stick to satellite services and even they don't always work. We have several people in to try to get us sorted for French TV and an international service via Hotbird/Eutelsat which is on a separate dish and two receivers, but now over two years since it vanished nothing. Two of them have looked at detailed maps and said that they believe (not that they know hand on heart) that because there is a nice tall antenna in exactly the line of that satellite that blocks it. Allowing for people having any such issue is also rarely calculated into advice until after it all goes wrong. Streaming is probably top of the list.

Yep - works for me Crosbie - and, call me old fashioned but I prefer to watch TV on a decent TV screen.

As for Filmon - poor resolution, frame rate, colour, buffering - naff, and I have an average 17-18Mbps download rate.

By which time it would have been cheaper to subscribe to a satellite internet/tv provider, swallow the bullet and have a dish but have a real choice of viewing and not the general tosh and old, not exactly top in their time films. Even a proxy IP address does not always work for iPlayer, certainly did not for me but I was not listening to people who warned me not to bother. Sky is robbery for what they offer, we have the Swiss subscription Zattoo because this is a multilingual household and the offer is as good as Sky (Zattoo France is limited rubbish, almost half of it normal free terrestrial channels anyway, so do not compare) however it does not have the speeds required to watch anything without it freezing three or four times and hour, but great if someone is aan insomniac because it is as smooth as silk at 0002 through to 0004 in the morning. Also, beware Amazon eventually blocking reception where it is not supposed to be, remembering how iPlayer simply went from one day to the next...

The are as many pitfalls as clever plots.

Ok, for some, throwing some money on a setup based around a FireStick+VPN or MAG 250 (or 254), and a UK channel subscription (via various providers), may be better than finding a spare PC and the time to configure BBC1 via FilmOn.

Horses for courses.

I found BBC1 via FilmOn to be quite acceptable.

In what way do you find it 'really poor'? Resolution? Frame rate? Colour accuracy? Lag? Glitches? Idents? Compression efficiency? Compression artefacts?

I disagree completely Crosbie - anyone trying Filmon may be put off completely! The quality of their service is really poor and is NOT a good test of your internet capability.

Essentially you get what you pay for and I'm paying very little compared to subscribers based in the UK, for a top quality product. As I've already said - you need a decent and consistent minimum 3MB download speed for IPTV to work well - if you don't have that then forget it.

Getting good quality UKTV via internet in SW France is very easily solved by throwing money at it - and a lot less than those poor souls who panicked and bought huge satellite dishes alongside their ridiculous satellite subscription prices.

At least it's a 'try-before-you-buy' way of checking that the experience is good enough. Getting UK TV in SW France is one of those things that isn't that easily solved by throwing money at it (or praying).

FilmOn gets you the basic BBC/ITV/Ch4 type selection and a few more, and that's good enough for a test. Some may even find it ample.

If it demonstrates watching UK TV via the Internet is feasible, then you can get the wallet out and look for correspondingly better equipment and providers.

Wow - and then sit down with a stiff drink!

Filmon is ok as a free standby but the quality and selection is pretty naff for any kind of decent TV 'experience' - even their HD paid service is pretty basic.

I believe some people pay Sky in the UK something like £80+ (110€) a MONTH (!) for their TV - barmy! :-)

Before going for a 'non-computer' set-up, it may be best to test things out with a computer before you buy such fancy equipment as Fire Sticks or pay for channel subscriptions, or VPN services. So try this first:

0) You have a TV and a broadband Internet connection (>2Mbps).

1) Put a Windows PC near the TV and hook it up (VGA/HDMI, audio, Internet/Wifi).

2) Check you can browse the Web and watch videos on it, e.g. YouTube.

3) Visit FilmOn- to ensure you have enough bandwidth to watch TV, e.g. BBC 1.

4) Subscribe/sign-up to FilmOn (the bog standard, free account).

5) Install the 'media-centre' front-end - with a large font interface designed for remotely controlling the PC, e.g. via a wireless/USB keyboard/mouse/touchpad with the TV screen several feet away.

6) Install the FilmOn Kodi add-on (by adapting the instructions How to Install BBC iPlayer Video Add-On). There's also an ExpatTV Kodi add-on that uses FilmOn but presents just the basic 8 BBC/ITV channels.

7) Sign-in to the FilmOn add-on.

8) You should now be able to watch UK TV free, via your PC & broadband connection.

Depending upon your bandwidth you may get occasional pauses or stutters, which may be due to other uses of the Internet connection, but if they are absent or bearable, you can then consider more expensive, more compact equipment, with premium subscriptions, etc.

NB VPN or UK IP address work-arounds are not required for FilmOn, but are for iPlayer, etc. Apparently TunnelBear is a popular choice (free for low consumption).

Hi Stephen - I use which is an internet TV service using a small box (MAG250) attached to my TV. I have 222 channels (increasing all the time!) with all the main UK ones (including all Sky Sports, Sky Movies etc...). They also currently include around 800 recent movies - the library is updated monthly. Actually their website hasn't been upgraded to reflect recent changes and additions. Prices vary but I pay 22€ / month - pretty good when I hear what some expats pay - just for SKY!!

You'll need a minimum of 3MB internet speed - test it using

It's a brilliant service and I've been using it for just over 18 months - happy viewing!

In fact, use at least three different speed tests, there are literally dozens of free ones available. I find there is a bit of a discrepancy. On the speeds, as far as I know large parts of Bretagne have far higher speeds than down here, we are often only getting around 1.3Mb which means email is OK but even YouTube 'staggers' a bit. We do not know anywhere within probably 30km of Bergerac, including parts of the city, that are consistently better. Other areas further south seem even worse.

Amazon UK won't sell Fire Sticks to a non-UK address, so it needs a proxy such as a family member in the UK. It also depends where you are in SW France since many of the internet speeds regionally are sad. We could not use one because it is up and down too much. We have a Zattoo subscription, not the French service that is limited, but the Swiss (home country of the service, Orange Switzerland) that would be fantastic if we had speeds to deliver, so hardly ever use it. You need to speed test at different times of day, especially peak internet use times from about 1600 on to see if you have 2Mb minimum but preferably more.

Thank you. Not being 'tech savvy' - are they easy to use? What exactly would it give us access to? We don't have a tv at present, so any advice on what might be best?

You have ruled out the only options although with a recent smart tv connected to your livebox (or whichever you have) you do not need to use a computer.

H'mn i don't think so.

What is your internet speed ?

Chris Iles

Try on line free Normally good for all ITV BBC and gives Russian, French (France 24 News in English is in my opinion the best world news channel), USA etc etc.
Our internet speed staggers to 2mb on a good day and as low as 800Khz sometimes, but normally the picture is OK

Best of British?

Try They offer a 1 hour a day forever free trial. They currently have only UK channels, but they come in HD and with 7 days catch up. And if you want to go premium, it is only 48 euros for the whole year. Plus they are a legal company with great customer support.

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