Roaming Streaming TV Switches On Across Europe

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Expats can expect some tense discussions with their UK TV, movie and music providers as new rules mean they must have access to the same services they have at home while in Europe on a temporary stay.

The problem is the new regulations do not define how long a temporary stay might last and leaves that decision up to the provider.

The idea is making streaming services available over the internet discourages expats and holidaymakers from delving into pirate streams.

Although providers such as Netflix, Amazon and Sky will allow roaming in the same way mobile phone services are available across Europe, not all streaming broadcasters are covered by the rules.

The BBC has confirmed, for instance, that iPlayer will remain geo-blocked, that is limited to viewers in the UK.

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Understanding the rules

Free to air services like ITV, Five and Channel Four can take part if they wish, but they will probably offer a special login for viewers to verify that Britain is their home country.

Expats can consider subscribing to streaming services instead of setting up a VPN (virtual private network) to spoof providers with a British internet connection to illegally watch their favourite programmes.

The new regulations come into force on April 1, 2018 and apply to all European Union countries.

The specific rules are the content service must be already available in your home country and you have a subscription or a limited pass to access the service, then the content is provided free if the service provider chooses to sign up to the new rules.

Brexit warning

But the new measure comes with a warning.

Under Brexit rules, Britain will leave the single digital European market, which could see the government ditching EU roaming for smartphones and streaming for other devices.

A study by the EU found one in three Europeans subscribe to streaming services for TV, sport, movies and music.

Spending on streaming services rose 113% a year between 2010 and 2014, while the number of users was up 56% between 2014 and 2015.

But while paying for streaming services, 50% of Europeans are denied access to live sports events while travelling to a different country within the EU.

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