There are several legitimate reasons why you might want to stream and watch American TV from outside the US. Obviously, US citizens want American news and sports when they’re travelling or living elsewhere, and if you pay for US streaming services such as Disney+, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video or Netflix then you probably want to be able to keep up with your favourite shows when you’re abroad.
The most reliable way of watching and accessing US-based streaming services – or American versions of international streaming services that you subscribe to – is to subscribe to a good VPN service such as ExpressVPN.
It’s worth noting that while some of these services – like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ – are now available in most countries worldwide, their US library has many more movies and TV shows compared to the one in your country. This is generally due to licensing laws that favour the country the streaming service is based in.
Aside from that, many residents of the UK and other nations might want a way to watch American news or sports such as the NFL or NBA. Finally, there’s no getting past the fact that the US has some fantastic video streaming services that non-US residents can’t access, including Hulu and HBO Now.
The problem is that most US broadcasters and streaming services restrict streaming to within American borders. They do this by using your IP address to determine your location and block the stream if your PC’s location is determined to be coming from outside the US. There are a couple of ways around this, though, with the most reliable being to use a VPN service to disguise your actual location.
First, some caveats. Some US streaming services require you to sign up for the service before you watch. This might require you to have an American or international credit card, while some may even need you to sign up using a US address. Others want you to sign in with details of your US cable subscription, which isn’t a problem if you have one, but not so great if you don’t.
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How to watch American TV from the UK, Australia or Europe using a VPN service
There’s no shortage of websites and services for watching American TV, including live online broadcasts and catch-up services. CBS, NBC and ABC all offer free live streams and catch-up TV, but only to viewers connecting from within the US. A few channels don’t have this restriction, so you can watch live streams of CBS News or ABC News from the UK, Europe or elsewhere, but generally speaking viewers from outside the US will be blocked. The easiest way to watch US TV services from abroad is via a VPN.
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ExpressVPN is our favourite VPN service for streaming because it works across a range of devices, has a wealth of US servers, 24/7 customer support and a strict no-logging policy that’s independently verified by one of the Big Four auditing firms worldwide. You can install and use it on up to five devices at the same time. When we last tested it, the service worked well with all the free and paid-for American streaming services, including Disney+, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO Now.
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How to watch American TV from outside the US on Windows or macOS using ExpressVPN
Setting up and using ExpressVPN is easy on a Windows PC or in macOS. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.
- Go to the ExpressVPN page and click any of the Get buttons to see its three payment plans. We recommend the 12-month plan because it’s the best value for money and our readers get three months free.
- Create an account when prompted and install the program on your PC or Mac. Remember, you can use it simultaneously on five devices at the same time.
- Open the VPN client on your desktop, click the three-dot button in the country field and select United States in the second window that opens.
- Now close any open browsers. Click the power button at the top to turn on the VPN and wait until you see that it’s connected.
- Now go to the website you want, log in using your personal details and browse as you normally would.
- ExpressVPN has the fastest speeds and doesn’t have any bandwidth limitations, so you can use it for as long as you want.
- To browse the web safely in your own country, simply change the country from the VPN interface. Similarly, you can virtually browse the web from almost any country in the world using ExpressVPN.
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How to watch American TV from outside the US on Android or iOS
ExpressVPN also works on Android and iOS. Its interface is the same across platforms, so there’s no learning curve.
- Install the ExpressVPN app from the Google Play store if you have an Android device, or the App Store if you have an iPhone or iPad.
- Open the app, log into your account when prompted and accept any permissions (VPN apps sometimes need special permission on mobile devices).
- Open the ExpressVPN app on your device, tap the three-dot button beside your country name, select United States and wait until it’s connected.
- You’ll see a notification when you’re connected to the United States. You’ll also notice a VPN icon in your device’s notification area.
- You’re now free to launch your browser and open any US website, or simply use any other American TV apps you have installed on your phone or tablet.
- To browse the web safely in your own country, simply set it to your home country from the VPN interface. Similarly, you can virtually browse the web or use apps from almost any country in the world using ExpressVPN.
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How to watch American TV from outside the US using other good VPN services
Even though there are many VPN services, not all of them let you watch American TV abroad. Two other VPN services that we can confidently say unblock US TV and streaming websites are NordVPN and Surfshark VPN. Both these VPNs are cheaper than ExpressVPN.
The process to install the VPN apps on your PC, laptop or mobile devices should be more or less the same. Both services also have 24/7 customer support should you need more help with regard to installing the VPN client/app or finding the best US server to unblock content.
NordVPN: Our favourite all-round VPN, NordVPN, shares many of the same features as ExpressVPN, including thousands of servers spread generously across the globe, an independent audit, simultaneous usage on six devices at the same time, and a 30-day moneyback guarantee. Its PC client has a nice map-based interface, from which you can choose the US and simply browse the web as you would normally to access whatever American TV or streaming service you want to watch.
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Surfshark VPN: Surfshark VPN is one of the newer VPNs on the block, but it’s our best-value pick and one subscription covers unlimited devices – something that none of our other top VPNs offer. Following a recent update, Surfshark now lets you access a variety of American streaming services, including Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and DAZN.
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