How to Watch NBC in UK
Updated: January 23, 2017
- Start by setting up a VPN account
- Then download and install the VPN software to the device(s) you want to watch NBC in UK on
- Open the VPN software and connect to a US-based server
- Go to your NBC account and sign in, or create an account if you have not already
- Enjoy NBC in UK
How to watch NBC in UK in more detail:
I think we can all agree that NBC is one of the US's best TV networks, hands down. Being a US resident myself, I have grown up with and shared many laughs, tears and everything in between with NBC and all the entertaining media they provide.
So when I was taking a trip to the UK to see family, I was keen to get my brother onto the glorious world of NBC's online service, since he's a big sports guy and also loves a good sitcom. It's 2016, and time for the UK to enjoy the wonder of NBC as much as I do, I thought.
When I arrive in Glasgow, Scotland and got settled into my brother's apartment for the week, I went straight to NBC on my Macbook and prepared my brother for the smorgasbord of entertainment about to come his way...
However, when I tried to access NBC I was abruptly denied and told that I was unable to watch NBC online from the UK. What?! No!!!
Not one to be told what to do, I took it upon myself to figure out why this was happening, and determine once and for all how to watch NBC in UK locations -- and I did. So here's my quick guide on how you can do it too, in less than 5 minutes.
Why is NBC not Available in UK?
To begin my problem solving, I wanted to first get my head around why NBC would block access to their online service for me in the UK.
After a bit of researching I quickly understood that this comes down to licensing rights that NBC has to purchase for each and every show/sports cast/etc that it wants to offer on the network. You see, in order to offer the awesome content it does, NBC must buy the rights to do so.
So why does this affect why NBC cannot offer its service in the UK? Because it costs a LOT to buy licensing rights for each show, and for each show you have to buy licensing rights per country. That adds up to a lot of investment, which NBC choose not to do. Instead, they purchase licensing rights for only within the US.
That explains the reasoning behind why NBC is not accessible in the UK. Now what about the actual technical process of how NBC achieves this block?
How is NBC Blocking Access in UK?
To best understand how the solution I describe below in this guide works so well, it's worth touching on the actual technical way that NBC implements the blocks on the service.
So after a bunch of research I discovered that NBC uses a common process employed amongst most commercial on-demand media streaming services nowadays. This process is called 'geo-blocking'.
Geo-blocking is a process that allows NBC to check the physical location of every user as they arrive to use the service. Based on a user's location at that moment, NBC will know whether to grant them access (if they're located within the US) or deny access (if they're located anywhere outside the US.)
The way that geo-blocking manages to get your physical location so instantly is by checking your IP address. Your IP address is linked to the internet connection you have at the moment you go the NBC service. So although your IP address will change between your home connection and your local cafe's WiFI -- it will remain accurate in that it'll show which city/country you are located in.
This means it stands to reason that if you can change your IP address somehow to show your location as within the US, you should theoretically get access to NBC, since your IP address is the key, right? Correct. So the next step for me was to research the many methods available to change my IP address.
It turns out that there are many methods to do this, however by far and away the best solution is by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), as these offer a lot of awesome benefits in addition to a super secure, stable and quick IP address change.
After checking out a whole bunch of VPN providers (there are many to choose from) I settled on using BufferedVPN, purely because it offers one of the best value services for my particular budget. Thus I will use BufferedVPN as the example while I walk your through the quick setup guide below.
How to Use a VPN to Watch NBC in UK
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
This process will take you no more than 5 minutes to setup and get done. So first thing's first -- jump over to BufferedVPN's website, select the plan that best caters to your budget and needs, then confirm payment and account details via email.
Here's a glimpse of how the process looks:
Very straightforward. So once you've done this step, you will next want to go ahead and download the VPN software onto whichever device (or devices) you plan to watch NBC on...
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
In your account confirmation email will be a link directing you to the download area on BufferedVPN's website. Follow this link, then click on the download link for whatever device you're currently using.
As you can see in the screenshot below, VPNs are super compatible with practically every device you would ever want to watch NBC on:
For example, I wanted to access NBC in the UK through my Macbook, so I downloaded and installed the OS X BufferedVPN software to my device.
Installation is simple. Just open up the downloaded software then follow the installation steps as standard.
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
Once installed, go ahead and open up the BufferedVPN software and you'll be presented with the very clean and minimal main interface. As you'll see, there really is not much to VPN software. Almost no "technical expertise" is required of you to use them, which is great.
All you need to do is select which location you want to join the VPN via. This is of course the point where you want to make sure and choose a US-based server location, as once you connect; your IP address will change to show your location as based in whichever location you chose before connecting.
Here's how BufferedVPN looks when connecting to a US-based server location on my Macbook:
Step 4: Watch NBC in UK
That's you! Once you have connected to a US-based server location on your VPN software, your IP address will now be showing your location as within the US.
So go ahead and jump over to NBC and click on any video you want to watch. You will be given complete access for as long as you like.
If at any moment you wish to change your IP address to another location in the world, it's simply a case of disconnecting from your VPN connection; selecting a new location; then connecting again. You can do this as many times and as often as you want.
So there you have it. In just a few steps you now have a fully effective and secure solution on how to watch NBC in UK locations without any hassle.
I mentioned that there are a lot of VPN providers around just now to choose from. So to give you some more variety of choice, I have listed the top five VPN service providers I personally reviewed here:
Check them out, as each offer differing levels of service at differing price points to suit all budgets.
If you have any questions on this guide, do let me know in the comments section below. I'm always happy to hear from readers and to help with your feedback.