Saturday, November 22, 2008

An alternative to the big dish

Watching television programmes over the internet has taken off in the past year since the introduction of the BBC's catchup service, the iPlayer

The corporation, which already makes digital channels such as BBC Three and BBC Four available online, announced yesterday that it would complete the picture by making BBC One and BBC Two available from next Thursday.

Critics said that although viewers would still need to buy a licence to watch programmes on their computers, it would become harder to ensure payment. There are also questions over whether the telephone network could cope with the expected rise in internet traffic.

A television licence is required “irrespective of what device you are using – television, computer, laptop, mobile phone or any other – and how you receive programmes, whether by satellite, cable, via the internet or any other way,” according to TV Licensing, the body that collects the fee. It also pays for BBC radio. However, existing rules mean that any website can transmit the two BBC channels, plus ITV1, Channel 4 and Five, if they have the right technology.

Online broadcasting is likely to be a boon for technologically sophisticated expatriates and other viewers who do not pay the licence fee. Although the BBC, like other broadcasters, tries to ensure that its content can be watched only in the United Kingdom, it is possible to buy software that covers up your location, making it appear that you are in Britain even when you are not.

Far be it for me to suggest that you should do something illegal; however, a quick search of the local English press will find companies here on the Costa Blanca that offer access to a proxy servers with a British IP address. Or alternatively, a quick search on Google will find you the software to change your IP address to a UK proxy.

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