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Watching the BBC iPlayer in Cyprus (or elsewhere outside the UK).

Date: 25/03/15

The BBC was always a difficult channel to watch in Cyprus. Only available via SKY on a large dish of around 3 meters in diameter the satellite signal could be quite unreliable even with the biggest dish.


To make the matters worse, some years ago SKY TV launched a new satellite that resulted in many channels becoming simply unavailable. So what are the choices now for watching the BBC in Cyprus and specifically how can you watch TV on the BBC iPlayer?

The only sensible alternative is via the internet, of course. With broadband cost at around 20 Euro per month it makes perfect sense. But BBC iPlayer is blocked to overseas users, so what are your options?

One obvious choice is to use a VPN (virtual private network) to connect to a server within the UK, you will then be able to use iPlayer. Reliability and speed will not only depend on your connection to the U.K. server, but also from that server to the BBC sever where the content is located. VPN has some other disadvantages. On one hand it’s quite easy to set up on a full scale PC, but if you’d like to use your tablet, phone, XBOX or PlayStation for watching TV you will have to buy and set up a VPN router to share the connection.

Another option is to use a DNS masking service. This allows you to access the content server directly and use the full capabilities of your internet connection. Most devices including games consoles, tablets and smart phones allow you to use a custom DNS server which enables you to bypass the geographical restrictions placed by the BBC. Paid service like www.unblock-us.com  gives a free trial. Or if you want a free service try adding the following server for you DNS 178.62.17.123 

One notable exception where DNS cannot be changed on the device is Google Chromecast dongle. The excellent 30 Pound Sterling dongle simply plugs into the HDMI port of your TV. This clever little device will stream directly from your wi-fi and is controlled via the Chrome browser or the Chromecast App available for IOS and android. The only problem is that it comes with Google’s DNS (8.8.8.8) hard coded. Fortunately Chromecast will default to your router’s DNS if Google’s DNS cannot be obtained. So if you want to use Chromecast for BBC iPlayer you will need a router running custom firmware like DDWRT or Tomato with a firewall rule as shown below. This will block Google’s DNS and will allow Chrome to use your preferred DNS provider or 178.62.17.123 for free!

The firewall rule to use:
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -s 192.168.1.XXX/32 -d 8.8.8.8 -p udp --dport 53 -j DNAT --to 192.168.1.1

iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -s 192.168.1.XXX/32 -d 8.8.4.4 -p udp --dport 53 -j DNAT --to 192.168.1.1

Where xxx is the IP address you have chosen for your Chromecast (Give Chromecast a static IP). This will block Chromecast from using Google’s DNS (8.8.8.8 & 8.8.4.4) and will default, to your router’s (192.168.1.1) DNS which should be set to your favorite paid DNS masking service or 178.62.17.123 free.

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