The world of TV has changed from its early dawn. The Internet now can stream TV shows from all over the world in the blink of an eye, but there restrictions that may prevent you from watching what you want. To understand what TV’s current state looks like and why geographic restrictions are put in place, let’s first start with an understanding of exactly what TV is and why its global audience is new.
A Brief History of TV
The technology behind the first TV sets was invented in 1873 and the world’s first TV system viable for production was created in 1907. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, many major countries like the U.S., United Kingdom and France started regularly TV broadcasts.
Early TV was very primitive and faced many difficulties we no longer consider. The first baseball game broadcast only used a single camera angle. Actors in the first TV dramas actually wore black lipstick and heavy green makeup because cameras had a hard time capturing white colors. They were also less likely to melt off under the incredible heat generated by lighting.
TV shows got their start with news programs and some situation comedies or story-type dramas that were spinoffs of radio programs. In the 1950s, TV shifted away from some of these radio programs, such as “Gunsmoke,” to well-known shows such as “I Love Lucy” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
“I Love Lucy” is a great example of the early TV mindset. It was the most popular show on TV in its second season, the 1952-1953 season, and this prompted CBS to create a pilot for a radio version of the show. The radio pilot episode was created by simply editing the soundtrack for an existing TV episode, but it was never aired. This can be seen as the turning point for TV overtaking radio.
TV in the U.S.
The first regular TV program broadcast in the United States was on July 2, 1928. The medium experienced slow growth for the next roughly 20 years.
In the late 1940s, TV began to take off in the United States as big radio broadcasts began to create TV counterparts and new shows took to the medium. NBC, CBS and ABC were national networks, but most content was prerecorded and created in New York City. Americans had only 6,000 TV sets in 1946, but this rose to 12 million in 1951 and reached more than half of all American homes by 1955. In 1964, color broadcasting finally reached prime-time television.
No technology before or since has become a standard of the American home faster than black-and-white TV sets.
Broadcasting in the U.K.
Baird Television used the BBC radio transmitter to make the first U.K. TV broadcast in September 1929, and Baird provided minimal programs five days each week through 1930. Two years later, the BBC launched its own regular service using two new broadcast systems.
The BBC slowly ramped up content until World War II. The BBC suspended broadcasts on Sept. 1, 1939, at 12:35 p.m., directly after a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Broadcasts resumed on June 7, 1946, and even showed the same cartoon. At the end of the 1940s, there were more licensed TV receivers, which included sets in bars, in the U.K. than there were in the United States.
The French TV Connection
France did not begin testing TV broadcasts until the 1930s with the first public broadcast happening in April 1931. The first official French TV channel launched in February of 1935, and later broadcasts were given a larger range thanks to a broadcast transmitter located atop the Eiffel Tower.
In 1939, France entered the war and stopped its broadcasts. The transmitter on the Eiffel Tower was also sabotaged that year. In 1940, the German occupation seized French TV stations and began to broadcast their own content. French-controlled TV broadcasters returned with the liberation of Paris in 1944 and the Eiffel Tower transmitter was repaired in 1945.
It wasn’t until 1964 that French television added a second channel and the country continued to struggle with private- and government-run monopolies until the early 1980s.
What’s Popular Today?
Television of today no longer faces the same broadcast limitations that the initial television technology had. Broadcasters have transitioned to digital signals and send these signals across entire countries through local affiliate stations and deals with major TV service providers. The advent of the Internet has also allowed consumers to stream TV shows from all across the world, meaning that many popular TV shows in one country may also be popular shows in another.
For example, the U.S. TV show “Vikings” has gained wide popularity in Canada and Ireland.
Television has become so popular that it’s easy to look at any country and determine what the most popular content of the day is. So far for 2014, popular TV shows around the world include a variety of new content, such as recent episodes of “Game of Thrones,” and children’s programming from the early 1980s, such as “The Smurfs” and “Fraggle Rock.” The TV show “The Killing” has picked up a large following this year in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
When looking at some of the largest TV markets, it is interesting to note that countries tend to have their own home content that is popular as well as their own personality for the content citizens watch. Small amounts of crossover exist, but many foreign TV shows gain a cult following.
One show with a strong following outside its country of origin includes “The Big Bang Theory.” This show was the most popular comedy TV series in the world in 2012, with roughly 42.9 million fans across the globe. The U.S. show has also become so popular in France that the country’s digital streaming service LoveFilm (now a part of the Amazon Prime family) has made it available for streaming.
“Breaking Bad” has found global popularity, especially with Australians who flocked to BitTorrent services to download copies of episodes as soon as they were posted. According to TorrentFreak and The Guardian, Australians make up roughly 16 percent of those who download “Breaking Bad” episodes, followed by the U.S. at just under 16 percent, Canada at roughly 10 percent and the U.K. at 8.5 percent.
The popularity of many TV shows overseas depends on the delay from their broadcast in a country of origin to their broadcast in new markets; these windows are typically set by agreements with content creators and major pay-TV providers.
However, if consumers watch TV shows with a VPN, a service that will mask one’s physical location, they can still legally pay for services and watch content that has existing geographic restrictions.
Broadcasters pay for TV shows or the rights to show them and then sell their broadcasts to pay-TV providers such as cable and satellite companies. Because companies are willing to pay more for exclusives, many deals restrict how and where TV content can run. The largest type of restriction is a window that prevents TV content from showing up in countries outside of its origin.
These native-country restrictions are popular all across the world. Broadcasters who restrict where their content can be shown or services that have regional restrictions include:
Restrictions vary for these services and the easiest way to figure out what isn’t allowed is to try to stream content from any source. Netflix, for example, is available throughout the Americas but has limited availability in Europe. People in the U.K. can subscribe to the service and watch to their heart’s content, but French consumers are presently shut out.
Getting Around Geographic Restrictions
The easiest way to watch TV and movie content that is region-restricted is to use a virtual private network (VPN) service. A VPN will allow you to access a server in your country or another, so you can appear to be located in the country of origin for the show you want to watch. Legally watching movies online with a VPN still requires you to pay for the content or the service that delivers it, so you may not be violating any terms of service by using a VPN to appear to be located in another country.
When using a VPN to circumvent geographic restrictions, remember that you’re not safe from conducting illegal activities. Your VPN can and will report you to the authorities for breaking laws of the country it is located in.
A VPN will give you a secure connection for all of your operations and it presents you with an IP address. You can access the VPN from wherever you are, which means a U.S. customer can still legally watch Netflix content in France or a British traveler who heads overseas can still watch BBC and iPlayer content without breaking any rules.
The best option for you is to pick a VPN service like Le VPN, which has servers in 114 countries and is now including a Smart DNS service with our VPN subscriptions. SmartDNS by Le VPN allows you to switch between IP addresses in the US, UK and France to watch the most popular TV channels in those countries without having to make adjustments to your PC or other devices. Le VPN created the product as an add-on to its VPN service so you only need to set up the SmartDNS on your device once and it will work automatically on all the channels supported by Le VPN. From the BBC’s iPlayer to the U.S. version of Netflix, you can enjoy the channels of three different geographic regions at the same time without any additional configuration. SmartDNS works not only on computers, laptops and mobile devices, but also on smart TVs, game consoles and routers that unblock TV channels on all the devices connected to that router’s WiFi. The service also provides a speed boost just for watching videos by removing some of the normal encryption hurdles of a regular VPN service.
Using a specialized DNS service made just for video is the perfect way for TV lovers across the globe to access their favorite shows.
Use the Internet by Your Own Rules
|Try Le VPN7 days moneyback|