HGTV (Home & Garden Television) is owned by the multi-national Discovery family of cable and satellite TV channels and has a huge following in the USA and Canada. Why? Well, it appeals to anyone who is interested in home improvement and property – which tends to include large chunks of the population across the world.
There’s one problem: the answer to how to watch HGTV is complicated by the company’s use of “geo-blocking” – restricting access to those within Canada and the USA. But as you might have guessed, we have a solution. Read on to discover how to bypass the blocks which put HGTV out of reach.
What kind of content will you find at HGTV?
HGTV specializes in coming up with original programming themed around homes and gardens, usually with a practical orientation. So they tend to be handy for DIY fans and people who love to experiment with their back gardens.
However, a short rundown of some of the channel’s most popular shows demonstrates that its programs have broader appeal than people who need to expand their garages:
- Flip or Flop – featuring the ex-husband and wife team Tarek and Christina El Moussa, this cult show follows the real estate agents as they try to navigate tricky business conditions in California following the 2008 financial crash.
- Love it or List It – a Canadian show, Love it or List It features couples who have to make a key decision: whether to stick with their current home or pick a new one which better suits their needs.
- Rehab Addict – nothing to do with recovering from drug addiction, Rehab Addict hosted by Nicole Curtis is actually an interesting show about how to restore historic properties, instead of knocking them down.
- Beachfront Bargain Hunters – pure escapism, Beachfront Bargain Hunters follows families as they try to find coastal properties in the USA – usually with tight budgets and very particular demands.
What’s the problem with watching HGTV around the world?
As you can see, most of the shows featured on HGTV are based on purchasing or renovating homes, which is something that many of us can relate to. But as we’ve noted, accessing HGTV is often very difficult outside the United States and Canada.
That’s because the owners of the channel routinely operate what are known as “geo-blocks.” These digital barriers restrict access to online TV and movies to people in certain locations. They are commonly used to segment audiences to boost profits and to protect the interests of digital rights holders. But from the perspective of ordinary TV fans, they are a real annoyance.
Geoblocks are usually associated with multinational behemoths like Netflix, but even relatively humble content providers like HGTV become addicted to them. This causes issues for Americans and Canadians who have to live abroad, and want to catch up with their favorite HGTV shows, as well as for people around the world who want to enjoy some US-style real estate programming.
But all is not lost. Solutions to your property-based entertainment issues are close at hand. So read on if you’d like to learn how to watch HGTV outside Canada and the USA. Anyone can do it, and it takes very little technical knowledge – unlike copying the master builders in Rehab Addict.
How to watch HGTV outside North America: a guide for home improvement fans
To be able to watch HGTV outside of its core North American markets, viewers need to find ways to bypass the company’s geo-blocking. It’s as simple as that. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to do so: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and proxies.
In our opinion, VPNs are the best option to go for. Both proxies and VPNs work by anonymizing your IP address and encrypting traffic, but VPNs cover every packet of data which leaves your system, while proxies are far more limited.
VPNs aren’t hard to set up with HGTV. Here’s how to do so:
- Research your VPN options – picking the right VPN is the most important part of the process. When you’re unblocking streaming services, go for companies which have a reliable track record in handling streaming companies like Netflix (see below for a few recommendations). And prioritize speed and server choice as well. Ideally, pick a VPN with as many American and Canadian servers as possible, as you’ll be unblocking North American broadcasting sites and you will need American or Canadian IP address.
- Look for a suitable package – not everyone needs to buy a year-long VPN subscription to watch the content they love. If you’re only traveling abroad for a few weeks, short-term VPN packages will make more sense. The same applies if you have a particular series that you’d like to catch up on. And most good VPNs are flexible about their subscriptions. Don’t get tied into a payment package which doesn’t work for you.
- Download the VPN client – pick a provider which suits your devices. If you have a smartphone and laptop, be sure to go for a VPN which caters for multiple devices. That way, you can watch HGTV with your phone on commutes, and at home via your computer.
- Choose a server and log on – when the download is done, fire up the VPN client and enter your login details. Now, choose a server in North America which has respectable speed, and press the connect button. In an instant, your traffic will be routed through that server. As far as HGTV is concerned, you will then look like an American or Canadian resident.
- Head to the HGTV streaming site and enjoy the shows you want to watch.
Pick the perfect VPN for HGTV access
You can probably tell that it’s not a complex process. VPNs are very accessible and simple to use. The challenge is finding the one you can actually rely on. Here are a few elite choices that we recommend:
- NordVPN – NordVPN has a great record on privacy and circumventing geo-blocks, along with a network of 5,000+ servers. Read our NordVPN review
- ExpressVPN – right up there with NordVPN and regularly rated top 2 in industry rankings, ExpressVPN is famous for its ability to cut through geo-blocks like scissors through paper. Read our ExpressVPN review
- PureVPN – a hugely popular VPN option, PureVPN is relatively fast and excellent value – and should rip through HGTV geo-blocks. Read our PureVPN review
- IPVanish – IPVanish does what its name suggests, ensuring absolute anonymity. And it caters for almost every imaginable device – which can be handy for Linux or iOS users. Read our IPvanish review
Where can you connect to HGTV outside the USA
Now that you know the value of using VPNs to access North American TV, it’s time to fire up HGTV. But where can you actually watch the channel if you’re based overseas?
The best place to do so is the channel’s live streaming page. This is geo-blocked for anyone outside the US and Canada, but with your VPN engaged, you can breeze through.
Alternatively, you can access the channel via Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV. In those cases, if you pick a VPN that’s compatible with Android and iOS devices, you won’t encounter any issues.
So give your entertainment routine a DIY makeover and hammer away at HGTV’s geoblocking tactics. With a VPN, you can flip right over any fences broadcasters put in your path.