How to watch TV without A TV As A Budgeting Student

Feb 16, 2017 7:00:00 PM

How to watch TV without a TVWatching television as a student can be a tricky thing, what with satellite/cable service and any television of decent quality costing a small fortune. However, there shouldn’t be a reason for worry as there are many ways to watch television in the UK without having to invest in a television.

(Disclaimer: If you watch ANY programs live on your personal devices, including programs streamed from outside of the UK, or if you use BBC iPlayer, you must buy a UK television license. These licenses cost around £145 [$180], and while this is pricey, the fines for not paying are much more expensive. To find out more information, go to

Your first option, which most students choose, is a streaming service to watch live or catch-up (i.e. on-demand) programs. If you want to try some more traditionally British TV (when in Rome), I would recommend BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub (formerly known as ITV Player), which are both free. BBC iPlayer is a service where you can watch almost anything live or catch-up that BBC has recently aired – this is great for those who want to immerse themselves in what so many people in the UK experience as television. Also, you could use ITV Hub to watch live and catch-up entertainment if you want to see programs that ITV supplies.

Netflix is another affordable investment and it does not require a TV license as none of its movies or shows are live. This is what I use the most, primarily because you can watch great series and films ranging from Sherlock to Gilmore Girls (those are currently my two favorite programs). If you love Netflix, I’d recommend using a UK payment method, once you have one. The subscription costs work out to be slightly cheaper here than in the states, at least with the current exchange rates.

I also recommend Amazon Prime and its video service, which can be great if you also want discounts on Amazon products and shipping. This can be quite handy when ordering items through Amazon, and it can save you time that you could be using to study, explore or spend time with your new university friends.

A more sociable option is to watch TV outside of your home. Watching sports, which happens to be one of my favorite things to do, is a lot more fun in your local pub. Many British pubs and breweries have quite interesting histories, with many being older than the United States and Canada; if you wanted to go out and watch a football (and I don’t mean American football) match, you may just end up visiting a historic place (another experience to cross off the bucket list)! Not only that, but when popular teams are playing, the atmosphere can be electric, not to mention unforgettable. You can now watch many sports in most pubs, ranging from rugby to American football and from cricket to basketball. There’s something for everyone!

There are many ways to remain entertained in the UK without a television. If you are curious about experiencing the adventure of studying in the United Kingdom, please contact one of the Across The Pond Advisors today!

Download Studying in the UK: The Essential Facts for Canadian Students