Want to watch F1 on BBC iPlayer from outside the UK? It’s not going to be easy

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Live F1 is coming to BBC iPlayer in 2009
Live F1 is coming to BBC iPlayer in 2009

With F1 moving to the BBC in 2009, fans in the UK should be able to use the iPlayer to watch live F1 action next year.

But anyone trying to watch F1 on iPlayer from outside Britain may find it more difficult than when ITV first broadcast F1 online this year.

The BBC’s contract to show F1 only gives them the right to show it within Britain. That includes online broadcasts, and the iPlayer has restrictions built in to stop people overseas watching F1 and other programming on it.

Inevitably since iPlayer was launched (one year ago this week) it has been subject to repeated attempts to hack it. As F1 is not broadcast live in many other countries, and most have to watch it with frequent advertising interruptions, there is likely to be a great demand for iPlayer hacks among F1 fans next year.

Last year it was not difficult to find sites re-broadcasting ITV’s F1 coverage online for foreign viewers. But iPlayer seems to be a tougher proposition from a technical point of view – and that’s before one considers the legal and copyright implications which may make

How can I watch BBC F1 outside the UK?

British F1 fans heading abroad who want to be able to watch live F1 on the BBC have a couple of options.

The most dependable would be to purchase a Slingbox. This allows you to broadcast your home television directly to another computer across the internet.

Providing your home internet connection upload speed is fast enough (at least 256kbps) this is probably the most reliable solution available. It’s not free, of course, a basic Slingbox will set you back around ??70.

There are dedicated services such as Thetelly which claim to offer subscription-based access to British television programmes from abroad. But I’ve no experience of using them so I can’t vouch for their quality or reliability.

How can I watch iPlayer outside the UK?

BBC’s iPlayer seems to be a much more sophisticated solution to whatever ITV were using to limit online F1 coverage to the UK only. But there are some ways around it.

Using remote access

If you’re a British fan heading abroad you could leave your home machine on and connect to it from abroad using a remote connection service such as LogMeIn or GoToMyPC.

Using a UK proxy

You can use a UK proxy to view iPlayer. Sites listing UK proxies can be found easily on Google, and you will then have to configure your internet connection to use the proxy – here’s how to configure a proxy using Internet Explorer. Here are some more details on how to achieve this using Firefox.

Dan D, who’s helped out on the Grand Prix Live Blogs this year, offered these thoughts on using UK proxies to watch iPlayer abroad:

UK proxy server sites (like this one) can be used but they appear to be pretty sketchy, in terms of the security risk you take on if you use them. Not only do most require membership and thus some degree of personally identifiable information, but potentially they will harvest more of your info once you are connected. Some are undoubtedly more trustworthy than others, but it’s hard to know which are which.

Free, smaller-scale sites (like this one) could also work in theory, but this one explicitly excludes the BBC iPlayer. It seems users used to be able to view iPlayer material but it consumed too much bandwidth so they cut it out. Likewise, this one is free and seems reputable but does not handle streaming content.

Any more?

Got any more tips for using iPlayer while abroad? Share them in the comments below.

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Read more: How can I watch, listen to and follow F1 live online?