As an Expat, what do you miss?

by admin on April 23, 2012

I was reading an article in the Daily Mail today (don’t judge me – I strayed onto the site by mistake!) about the things that British Expats miss about the UK.

The results surprised me somewhat. Basically, the only thing that most Expats agreed upon that they miss the most (outside of family and friends) is the good old British Pub. Only 41% of people missed the TV programs and even less the food! I am probably spoilt in the fact that I live in NYC, so there is no shortage of top class bars or even authentic British Pubs when the urge hits! The things I miss the most are Marks and Spencers ready meals (actually anything from M&S!), any British chocolate especially after consuming the bastard child of chocolate that is Hershey’s and finally my beloved Leeds United. Listening on your computer to your team playing at 10am is just not the same!

What do you miss the most?


Although you may not realize it, in the first few weeks of living in a new country all of us get to a point where we miss British television shows!  Whether it be live Football games that are not on any of the domestic channels here, or even keeping up with the latest comings and goings in Albert Square, we all get to the point where we have a need to watch British TV shows.  Fortunately, as long as you have the equipment and an internet connection you can watch whatever you want for FREE.


– A computer

– Internet Connection (the faster the better)

– A bit torrent program (I recommend utorrent)


– Cables to connect computer to TV for more comfortable watching.  The cables required will depend on the computer you use and the type of TV you have.  If you have any specific questions about your setup, please ask below.


Watching Geo-locked TV (eg BBC iPlayer)

iPlayer and other similar on demand services are an easy way to access tons of content.  Unfortunately, they are only available to people who are in the UK.  Fortunately, there is a way around it for PC users living abroad…

Expat Shield is a free proxy service which assigns your computer a UK ip address temporarily while you use the service.  It is completely free and works remarkably well for  all UK Geo locked services.  The connection is not the fastest although I have used it plenty of times to stream live sporting events so it is plenty quick enough!  Even though the website looks a bit dodgy it is completely virus free and thousands of expats are happily using it!  Install and enjoy!

Downloading content to watch on your computer

Probably the best way to enjoy your UK content.  The Box is a members only torrent site for UK programming.  Download what you want to watch, when you want to watch it.  All current shows are available as well as a huge back catalog of classic shows.   Truly amazing site and will keep you occupied for days, months or even years!  It is a members only site so you will either have to get lucky and try to sign up when they have openings or manage to get an invite from someone.  I have some invites available so comment below if interested.

Another similar site is UK Nova.  Basically does the same as ‘the Box’ but with slightly less content and stricter sharing rules. Sign up here

One thing to remember about both of these solutions is that they use the Bit Torrent system.  You can learn about what this means here.  Basically, these sites operate a huge file-sharing system amongst the users and the sites themselves do not host any files.  When you download a file you are basically downloading it from similar people to you!  Because sharing is what keeps these sites going, it is important that you do the same. What that means is, once you have downloaded the file, leave your computer turned on with the torrent program running.  When this is the case, other like minded individuals will be able be download from you.  This is important because you need to upload as much as you download to keep in the good graces of these sites.  Unfortunately, uploading takes much longer than downloading so be prepared to leave your computer running overnight from now on.  If you do not keep a good ratio (of upload to download) you will be banned from the sites and your access to this content will be removed!


Watching live sporting events on your computer

If the game or sporting event you want to watch is not on one of the terrestrial channels, you will likely have to look further afield than Expat Shield in order to watch your desired event.  Now, there are lots of potential places on the Internet where you can find links to stream such events, but by far the best and most reliable is  It is fairly self-explanatory to use, choose your desired event and then choose one of the links to the quality streaming options.  I usually start with the streaming option that has the highest bit-rate, as that is usually a good indicator of the quality of the stream.  There are many nuances to getting the streams working correctly but you can learn most of it from the beginners guide on Wiziwig.

Well that about covers it, between these three options you should be able to access pretty much whatever UK content you want.  As soon as I realized the kind of content I could get on my computer I quickly came up with solutions that would make the process of connecting a computer to my TV even easier.  I now have a dedicated HTPC (Home Theater PC) connection to a HD projector and I dont pay for cable TV.  Everything I do is streamed or downloaded from the internet.





March 31, 2012

Welcome to the relaunched! was founded as a resource for all things British in Brookyn and NYC.  You can find out where you can buy that packet of Monster Munch you have been yearning for, or where the best Fish and Chips are! You can also find out information about some of the […]

Read the full article →