What is VPN and how does it affect you?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network.
As far as we are concerned it only does one thing. It hides your true IP address. Your IP address is the address of your device connected to the Internet. If you try and connect any device over the Internet to Sky, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5 from outside the UK or Ireland they will detect from your IP address that you are not in their territory and you will be blocked.
A VPN gives you a UK IP address and therefore when you try to connect to any of these channels you will be granted access.
When you subscribe to a VPN you are given 3 pieces of information. An IP address, a user name and a password.
You can create a VPN connection with your computer, iPad, iPhone, Macbook etc. When prompted you simply enter these 3 pieces of information and complete the connection set up. Then you connect to the internet by clicking your VPN connection and the world thinks you are in the UK. You can then watch programs on BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5. All for free. If you have a Sky account you can use this to log in to SkyGo which gives you a range of channels from Sky online at no extra cost. These services are known as CATCH UP TV. They are not live but are normally available anywhere between a few minutes and few hours after the program finishes. You can use this anywhere you have WiFi so you don’t need to be at home. Sky also have a service called SkyGo extra. This allows you to download programs on to you device and watch them later when you don’t have WiFi. On a plane for example. They charge £5 a month for this.
You can buy a VPN Subscription here
Sky have taken CATCH UP TV a bit further. They have a service called On Demand which let’s you use your Sky box and not a computer to download the channels over the internet on to your box. It is then in your planner and you can watch it as you would any other recorded program. The only difference is it came to you over the Internet and not by satellite. This is very important to remember. We will come back to this.
The problem is there is nowhere in the Sky box to put your VPN credentials and as you know now it wont work by connecting directly to your non UK internet.
Enter the VPN Router. This is an internet router with the 3 pieces of information I told you about earlier already in the router. So any device connected to this router will appear to be in the UK.
Connect the VPN router to your existing router with a cable and also to your Sky+HD box either with a cable or wirelessly and you have access to Sky On Demand.
You can buy a VPN Router with 1 years subscription here
Now that Astra 2E has become operational many people will not be able to receive the UK terrestrial channels. However with a VPN subscription you can watch the UK catch up services over the Internet from anywhere in the world on your computer, iPad etc.
Furthermore, with a VPN router you can watch the UK catch up services, as well as the Sky catch up services, using your Sky+ HD box attached to the appropriate dish. You must have a Sky+ HD box. A standard or Sky + box wont work.
There are 2 types of Sky+HD box. All new boxes made since August 2013 have built in wireless. All boxes made before this date don’t have built in wireless although you can buy a wireless adapter. You can buy a wireless adapter here. A word of warning though, the new WiFi boxes don’t have a modulator so if you are using your box to connect to an extra TV or more than 1 TV then you may need to buy extra equipment.
You can buy a Sky+ HD box here
So with a VPN Router and a Sky+ HD box you can get all the UK channels. You just can’t get them live. But they are on the equipment you are familiar with and you don’t need another remote control. Also you can use the VPN on another device at the same time you are using Sky On Demand.
You can buy a VPN annual subscription only or a VPN router with a years subscription here