UK law says you need a UK TV licence to view UK programming and, to back this, broadcasters changed satellite transmissions two years ago to make it harder to watch them in France.
Catch-up TV programmes are available via the internet but, while this is not easily monitored in France, efforts are made at network level to block access. If you have some technical skills you can get around this using a ‘Slingbox’ or similar. You will need a minimum broadband speed of 2Mb to view programmes without buffering, where screen images freeze.
If you do not have the skills or prefer a service with technical support, you will need a professional provider. One free service plays via your PC if your use is not more than 15Gb/month, with modest charges if you use more.
A more sophisticated subscription service also offers programmes directly to your TV. This can usually be suspended when you are away. You will need a special wifi router that plugs into your broadband modem and communicates directly to a smart TV to give programmes using your TV’s remote control. If your set is older you will also need a second box that is plugged into your TV.
This service is often sold with no long-term contract and a free trial, so you can see if you like it. If not, return the hardware for a refund. Once the trial is over expect to pay about €7/month.
This service uses a lot of data so is not suitable for satellite broadband services.
Both services allow you to watch any UK programming broadcast over the internet, meaning catch-up and much more. In addition you can view premium programming, such as Sky Sports, by event or a short-term contract.
There is a similar access to Netflix’s UK film catalogue on a pay-per-film service. It has many more English films than the French equivalent.
Question answered by Bob Elliott from the telephone and broadband provider, UK Telecom. See uktelecom.net for more information on their services in France
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