UK TV in Italy
Trying to get UK TV in Italy is a challenge, to say the least. However, it is possible, and there are several options depending on what you want to watch, and how much you want to spend. The first thing to note is that to access UK programs from abroad you need to be able to trick the transmission into thinking you are in the UK. Looking at the different scenarios:
- Sky plus On Demand
- Terrestrial e.g. BBC, ITV etc.
- Watch on the TV
- Watch on the PC
- Watch on a combination of TV and PC
As you can see, it can get a bit complicated. Sky is available in Italy but don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll get the same as in the UK. Many of the channels are in Italian so it’s probably not an option most people would choose.
If all you’re looking for is to watch Sky channels live, then this is the simplest way to do it, all you need is a dish and a receiver. The size of the dish will vary from region to region, but a 1.2m one should cover most areas. One issue you may come across is that some communes only allow a maximum of 1m dishes to be attached to a house. If this is the case, then you’ll need to look into setting the dish on a pole in your garden. This can get a bit expensive, plus you’ll quite likely need to bury a cable running to the house. Any Sky receiver will do the job, even one brought over from the UK. If you don’t have one, then think about buying a second-hand one from EBay or Amazon. Even with shipping costs from the UK it’s often cheaper than the alternatives.
As well as the above you’ll also need a subscription. There are a couple of ways of doing this. You can either use a UK address, telling them you have everything set up and just need it switching on. They will then send you a card to that address that you will need to get forwarded on to your Italian address.
The other way is to use a European subscription service. The first thing to dispel is that this is perfectly legal; it does, however, break Sky’s terms and conditions. The one company that I know of that offer this service is SkyEurope. There may well be others, but they will probably operate in a similar way. You will still need at least a dish, but you can get this installed locally. SkyEurope will sell you a viewing card for 99 Euros per year, you then choose what sky package you want to subscribe to.
So, in summary, what you need is:
- Satellite dish – can be obtained locally
- Skybox – can be ordered from online supplier, or bought from the Internet
- Viewing card – ordered from your supplier
Sky+ (On Demand)
This option is a little more complicated. You’ll need everything from the above option plus a configured internet connection. It’s the internet connection that can appear to be a bit confusing, especially if you don’t know your way around computers. There are two ways of getting On Demand and we’ll go through each one.
This is the simplest way to connect to the internet and your Skybox; however, not surprisingly it’s also the most expensive. What you need is a specially configured router that is set to a UK IP address. Don’t worry, all the techie type stuff is done for you, and all you have to do is plug it in. One thing to note using this method is that when you are just surfing the internet on your PC everything will be as though you were based in the UK. Again, SkyEurope offers this option for you to buy.
This is the cheaper alternative, but it does have its quirks. I use this option because I’m cheap J. Without getting too technical, it works by having a table of IP addresses matched to different services/websites and the corresponding countries. It is mainly for using your PC; however, you can put the settings into your Skybox as well. When you go to a website, it checks where you’ve come from by looking at your IP address, as each country has its own range of addresses. What SmartDNS does is it checks which website you are going to and then changes your setting, so it appears as though you are in the country of that site. You can change these setting to suit what you need. For example, if I want to watch BBC iPlayer it looks as though I’m in the UK, but if I want to watch Netflix I am now situated in the US (or whatever country you wish to set it to).
So, how do you get your Skybox to think you’re in the UK? It’s easy enough:
- First go to your set up menu and choose Network Settings
- Press the Red button to Reset
- Highlight the IP Address and select Manual Configuration
- Scroll down to where it says DNS and enter the Primary DNS address your provider gives you
- Press the Green button to save
Now the problem with this is that I’ve found that the Skybox will often forget these settings, and you’ll need to go back and re-enter them again. Sometimes you only need to do this once a day, other times it can happen every 5 minutes, which can be a royal pain.
If you need any help, or just have questions, then feel free to drop me a line or place a comment.