Updated: January 1st, 2018
How to watch ABC Live in UK Locations in more detail:
I had never been called a scholar before. I did pretty well at high school and got into a decent college, but still to be offered a Rhodes Scholarship still amazed me. But who could turn down the chance to go and study at one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world.
So before I knew it, I found myself settling into life at Oxford University. It was a bit old fashioned but I fitted in pretty well and got to know people pretty fast. I thought I’d get homesick but actually the only thing I missed was my favorite TV shows. I’m a sucker for trash TV and although UK TV does show some of favorites, like The Bachelor, Grey’s Anatomy, and of course Jimmy Kimmel, what I really needed was access to the ABC online streaming service.
But when I tried to log in, I was faced with an error message telling me I couldn’t because I was outside the USA. Fortunately, I was not the only ABC fan in Oxford, and a fellow ‘scholar’ taught me a neat trick to get round the problem, using a VPN.
Why is ABC not Available in the UK?
The error message from ABC explained that the reason I was unable to use their services was due to international rights agreements. By this they meant that the programs they broadcast sell their rights to different broadcasters in different countries.
For a while, the Walt Disney Corporation (the parent company of ABC News) tried to broadcast its content in the United Kingdom and a few other countries. In 2004, the company launched a new division to stream content in the UK and other regions.
Jason Deans of The Guardian praised Disney’s decision to offer services to UK customers. Deans reported that Disney would give UK customers a sampling of some of the most popular content from the United States, including 90s sitcoms such as Home Improvement and General Hospital. However, Deans pointed out that ABC may have trouble competing, since the media market in the UK was already so consolidated. Sky One, the market leader, was already scaling its budget to capture a larger share of the over 35 demographic at the time.
However, Disney discontinued ABC1 less than three years later. John Hardie, Walt Disney TV’s executive VP and managing director in Europe, the Middle East and Africa told NetCot that ABC1 that they had difficulty retaining interest in their content, so they announced they were dissolving the new international network. They seemed to have difficulty competing with equally large and more established networks in the United Kingdom.
Nevertheless, viewers in some other countries were still interested in watching ABC content. They protested the decision and asked if there was a way that they could access ABC from abroad. I spoke with a number of other expats from the United States that complained about no longer being able to access ABC, since it is a preferred news provider for millions. ABC World News Tonight alone is viewed by nearly 8.3 million people, making it the most popular news program in the country.
In the UK, many of their shows are on TV, but often a long time after broadcast in the USA, or at very inconvenient times of day. But for this reason, ABC are not allowed to make their online streaming service available in the UK, or indeed anywhere else abroad.
So how do they stop users logging in? It turns out they use a technology known as geo-blocking.
How is ABC Blocking Access in the UK?
Geo-blocking is a technology which enables the site to deduce where in the world you are located. It does this by analyzing your IP Address. This is a piece of data which every internet users broadcasts to every site they visit. It contains various bits of information including your geographic location.
Sites that use geo-blocking read this data and if you are not located in the right country (in this case the USA), it blocks you from using the service.
As long as you keep the same IP Address, there is not a lo you can do about this. The only way around it is to change your IP Address. And this is where a VPN comes in. Because a VPN diverts your online traffic via an external located elsewhere, and it is the IP Address of that server which is broadcast to the sites you visit.
So if you use a VPN server located in the USA, you can use ABC online streaming whilst actually located anywhere in the world. And if you continue reading I will explain exactly how to do this.
Geo-blocking is a very effective way for companies to deter people knowing how to watch ABC player in UK. The geo-blocking technology that companies like ABC are using is so effective, that it is being repurposed to thwart malware and other dangerous content. It is also frequently used by the governments of China, Cuba, Ethopia, India, Iran and a number of other countries to enforce censorship policies.
Not only this - but geo-blocking is the "go to" process used by many other huge online streaming channels (not just ABC), with such popular ones like ESPN, beIN and HBO GO all blocking UK-located users from accessing their media.
Getting around geo-blocking isn’t impossible, but it is difficult. Plenty of people have used web proxies to access restricted content over the years, but they are becoming less effective. There are a couple of problems with web proxies:
- In order to use a proxy with an IP address in another region, you would need to find a list online. Unfortunately, most broadcasters monitor these lists regularly to prevent users from accessing them from restricted areas. Netflix tends to block users that have web proxies, because it knows that many people have abused them to view their content outside the United States. ABC probably does the same.
- Proxies are not encrypted in any way. They often pass the user’s real IP address to the site they are connecting to. Therefore, even though you may be trying to mask your real IP address, ABC News may easily be able to tell that your data requests are actually being made from a computer in the United Kingdom.
- Web proxies have their own traffic patterns, which can be easy to recognize. Even if they can’t detect your real IP address and haven’t seen the proxy on a list, ABC may be able to distinguish it from web traffic from a regular device and block it.
Unlike Netflix, ABC hasn’t specified what steps they take to keep people from using web proxies to access their content. It is better to err on the side of caution and use another method.
VPNs are much safer than proxies. According to a guide from Jason Fitzpatrick of HowToGeek, there are a couple reasons that VPNs are preferable:
- They encrypt the entire network, so it would be nearly impossible for ABC to tell that you are located in the United Kingdom.
- The traffic mirrors the entire network connection of your device, so your content will look very similar to any other device.
For these reasons, most people prefer using a VPN such as ExpressVPN over a web proxy to access ABC while they are located in the UK.
“Virtual Private Networks, like proxies, make your traffic appear as if it comes from a remote IP address. But that’s where the similarities end. VPNs are set up at the operating system level, and the VPN connection captures the entire network connection of the device it is configured on. This means that unlike a proxy server, which simply acts as a man-in-the-middle server for a single application (like your web browser or BitTorrent client), VPNs will capture the traffic of every single application on your computer, from your web browser to your online games to even Windows Update running in the background,” Fitzpatrick explains.
How to Use a VPN to Watch US Netflix in UK
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
We have discovered that most guides on accessing geo-blocked content focus primarily on Netflix, Hulu and other video streaming services. Surprisingly few services focus on using VPNs to access ABC News content, despite the fact that ABC is the third largest news network in the United States.
We created this guide to fill that void and help all of the people that are want to know how to watch ABC in UK locations with ease.
So to use a VPN to watch ABC’s online streaming service, you will first have to sign up for one. I will explain how to do this using the example of ExpressVPN which is the one I used, and which having tested many others, I am convinced is the best in the market for this type of streaming.
First, you will need to visit the ExpressVPN website, which you can do by clicking any of the links in this article. Then you will have to choose from one of the various packages offered by ExpressVPN, which will of course be dependent on the length of time you need to use the service and your budget.
Once you have made your mind up, you will be diverted to the payment processing page, where you can pay in one lump sum, or set up a monthly payment as you prefer. The payment process is very straightforward and all you need to do is follow the onscreen instructions. If you are unsure, ExpressVPN offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can change your mind at any time in that 30 days.
You will need to confirm your account via an email, and you will then have the opportunity to download and install the software.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
This next step couldn’t be easier. ExpressVPN will provide you with a menu of almost every type of device and operating system you can think of. You just need to choose the right one for your device, and then follow the clear onscreen instructions to download and install the software onto your machine.
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
Once this has finished installing, it should open automatically, and you will be faced with their very user friendly interface. The only thing left for you to do with the VPN is choose which server you want to connect to. There are a variety of different options available, and for how to watch ABC live stream UK locations, you will need to pick one of the US-based servers. It doesn’t matter much which you go for.
You will have to wait a few moments whilst ExpressVPN establishes a connection, and then you are ready to go.
Step 4: Setup an ABC Account
And that’s pretty much it. You can now visit the ABC website and they will believe you are in the USA, and allow you to log into your account with them as usual.
If you don’t have an account you will need to sign up for one. I haven’t done this myself for obvious reasons. I believe you will need to get a subscription to a US Cable service to watch ABC abroad. This is relatively straightforward to do, either through the assistance of a US friend, or through one of the various dedicated online services. (A quick Google search will give you all the assistance you need).
That's it! You have just successfully solved the issue of how to watch ABC live stream UK locations in less than 5 minutes. Good job.
Since 2007, UK residents have been unable to access ABC content. The only option is to mask their IP address to bypass the country’s geo-blocking technology. Fortunately, using a great VPN can make it a lot easier.
And once you have signed up, you can watch ABC catch-up TV as you have time for. I loved my time in Oxford, but I can’t imagine spending that long in the UK without keeping up with my shows and being able to chat online with my friends back home about them.
I used ExpressVPN which is an excellent provider for online streaming, but if you are not certain it is the right VPN for you, there are of course many others. I have reviewed a lot, and you will find below my pick of the top 5 VPNs that solve the issue of how to watch ABC live in UK locations.
Do feel free to share any comments or feedback with me using the comment section below, and I hope you enjoy indulging in ABC in the UK as much as I did.