The ITV Hub is ITV’s answer to the BBC iPlayer. Available for smartphones and computers, the site covers every aspect of ITV’s programming, including popular shows like Coronation Street, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, and Midsommer Murders.
The Hub is an indispensable tool for UK residents and foreign fans of British programming, but it has one major catch. Like many streaming services, the content available on the ITV Hub is geo-restricted, meaning that when users try to watch ITV Hub abroad, they can struggle to find the shows they love.
This article is all about unblocking ITV’s streaming service so that TV fans can maximize their viewing options. Doing so isn’t hard, and there are a few potential methods available, including:
- SmartDNS to fool ITV into thinking you are using UK-based websites
- Installing a proxy to scramble your IP address
- Logging on via TOR, which also anonymizes your digital footprint
- Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your traffic and assign a British IP address
As we’ll see, the last of those options is easily the best answer to the question of how to watch ITV abroad. But why is that the case? Let’s dig deeper and find out more.
Unblock the ITV Hub with a VPN
Before we look at other options, let’s focus on VPNs. As we noted earlier, VPNs work by encrypting the data you send and receive when online. This encrypted data is fed through “tunnels” to servers located across the world, where your IP address is re-assigned before the data is relayed to its final destination.
As far as the target website (or streaming service) is concerned, traffic could be coming from Birmingham, Manchester, or London, even if you are actually relaxing at a Mexican beach resort.
When IP addresses are scrambled in this way, the geo-blockers employed by services like ITV are much less effective. In fact, they can be completely circumvented with reliable VPNs, rendering them obsolete. And when that happens, viewers are free to watch ITV in USA cities, Germany, India, or wherever they happen to be.
Best VPN for unblocking the ITV Hub
However, before you head to an app store or Google to find the cheapest VPN you can find, wait a moment. Not all VPNs are equal, and not all of them are capable of unblocking ITV’s streaming hub.
The best VPNs combine several features which, when added together, make them ideal for times when you want to watch ITV Hub abroad. For one thing, they deliver very good speeds, and they do so reliably, with minimal downtime. They also eliminate DNS or IP address leaks, which betray user’s identity.
Good VPNs also use IP addresses that aren’t easy to trace. Poorer quality VPNs often re-use blocks of IP addresses, and streaming services get wise to their tactics. Finally, good VPNs offer a wide range of server locations. The more locations they offer, the more likely you are to be able to watch ITV in USA destinations, South American cities, or beach resorts in the Mediterranean.
To help you choose, here are 3 VPNs that never let TV fans down:
Based in Panama, NordVPN mixes over 5,600 server locations with high speeds, infallible encryption, unbeatable IP leak prevention, and 24/7 customer support that will find always respond when customers ask how to watch ITV abroad. Prices are affordable too, especially with long-term discounts.
Right up there with NordVPN on technical specs, ExpressVPN has thousands of server locations, offers speedy service, unblocks almost any streaming platform, and is very easy to use. Again, bargain deals are often available, along with a handy 30-day money-back guarantee.
Sweden’s PrivateVPN is a solid alternative to the above two providers. We’ve included it because it specializes in unblocking streaming platforms like Netflix, and has absolutely no problems with ITV’s geo-restrictions. Add in great value packages, and it’s a good option to try.
Watch the ITV Hub with SmartDNS
Now, let’s quickly assess some alternatives to VPNs. First off, there’s SmartDNS. These tools work by changing which “Domain Name Servers” your device uses, switching them from the US .com addresses (for example), to UK-based .co.uk addresses.
When it does this, a SmartDNS tool will re-route your traffic through DNS servers in the UK, potentially fooling British sites into thinking that you are based there. Sometimes this works, but streaming platforms are becoming more skilled at filtering SmartDNS users. That’s mainly because SmartDNS doesn’t change IP addresses, making it relatively easy to see that you are actually based in Chicago, not Liverpool.
There may be some benefits to using SmartDNS to watch ITV Hub programming. Speeds are usually lightning-quick relative to VPNs, for instance. But there’s no guarantee of success.
Unblock ITV Hub using a proxy service
Proxies used to be the go-to tool for unblocking services like ITV’s streaming hub, but choosing to watch a video through proxy tools has fallen out of favor in recent times.
On the face of it, proxies are like VPNs, in the sense that they route user traffic through private servers, which assign different IP addresses. With a fresh IP address, users can pose as British viewers – at least in theory.
The problem is that proxies very rarely encrypt data, and tend to have higher rates of IP leakage as a result. It’s not hard for well-designed streaming platforms to detect proxy usage, and they see steadily declining success rates.
Using proxies that let you watch videos can also be surprisingly tricky. Most work at the “app-level,” so they need to be installed into browsers separately, unlike VPNs, which can boot up automatically when you turn on your system.
Unblock the ITV Hub with TOR
The final option for trying to watch ITV Hub abroad is the most heavy-duty. TOR is a high-security privacy system which “wraps” user data in successive layers of encryption and routes it repeatedly through servers around the world. Think of it a bit like a VPN on steroids.
This ensures that web traffic is virtually untraceable, and means that geo-blocking systems struggle to identify intruders. But it comes at a major performance cost, meaning that choosing to watch videos on TOR isn’t generally a practical option. It can work with a super-fast connection, but a good VPN is preferable for most people.
Why is the ITV Hub restricted in countries outside the UK?
Before we finish, let’s recap why VPNs would be needed to access the ITV Hub in the first place. Like all commercial broadcasters, ITV wants to pay as little as possible for the programs it hosts, and make as much money as possible for its own shows.
This means limiting programming outside the UK to shows that are guaranteed to be popular (avoiding the need to pay expensive licensing fees for niche content). And it may mean selling popular shows to other private broadcasters when showing them abroad, which can make them expensive to watch.
Alternatives to the ITV Hub
If you can’t access the ITV Hub, or you aren’t a fan of what it has to offer, there are other platforms to watch British TV content. For instance, you might try to access:
- BBC iPlayer – popular across the world, the iPlayer hosts BBC drama content like Killing Eve, cookery and lifestyle shows like Bake Off, and soaps like Eastenders, which have a worldwide audience. It’s extensive, fast, but will also require some way to beat geoblocking.
- Sky – famous for hosting EPL soccer matches, Sky mixes up sports, movies, drama, comedy, and a whole lot more. As usual, content is heavily limited outside the UK, and the prices are high, but deals sometimes allow viewers to watch specific channels or shows for limited time periods.
- TVPlayer – a relative newcomer, TVPlayer hosts 25 channels from the BBC, ITV, Sky, and other broadcasters. It’s a handy tool for fans of history and science documentaries, and also hosts children’s content like CBeebies. So it’s a neat alternative to the ITV Hub.
Watch ITV Hub anonymously and defeat geoblocking
With a VPN, you can ensure online anonymity at all times. Your ISP won’t know if you are trying to watch ITV Hub abroad, which means that throttling won’t be an issue, and there won’t be any copyright worries, either. More importantly, with a good VPN, you can scramble your IP address at will, opening doors to entertainment that would ordinarily be off-limits.