I miss English football on the TV in the Philippines. It is one of the very few things I miss about the UK.
It does not matter how well or quickly the expat settles into his new country. There are always some things that he would like to have in his new surroundings if at all possible. Not because he is yearning after the old country but he just plain misses certain things. Damn it – he enjoys them.
There are many posts in Philippines expat retirement forums asking things like where do I find rye bread, A1 Sauce and of course HP sauce if you are a Brit like me.
Other sports mad posters ask where or how can I watch MLB, NBA or English Premier League (EPL) football. Note to all my American friends – it is football not soccer. I know you will disagree. The thing you call football is just another version of rugby. However rugby players do not wear all that protective gear.
I digress, as the aim of this piece is to enlighten those of you who are interested in following your favourite English football team whilst you are here in the Philippines.
First of all comes a disclaimer – some of the methods of watching your EPL footy on the box are highly questionable from a legal standing. Therefore I am making it clear as to what is possible and not what is advisable. The choice is entirely yours.
EPL TV Broadcasting Rights
The English Premier League have been most savvy in generating revenues from selling the broadcasting rights to live EPL matches. They know it is one of, if not the most popular league in the world. And they have cashed in on its popularity. They guard the intellectual property in those rights very carefully. As an aside, they are not the only entity to zealously safeguard their media rights in connection with the EPL. Try to download say an action photo from an EPL game. It is all subject to copyright and the fees to use the material are crazy! Hence my use of free stock photos to be found on Flickr.
Having got that out of the way, the only TV channel that broadcasts EPL legitimately in the Philippines is Bein Sports. They hold the rights to sell the EPL content in several Asian countries including the Philippines. Similar to the situation back in the UK where Sky Sports have the rights to televise most of the fixtures and BT Sport covers the remainder.
The downside is that it is only available as an add on channel if you are already subscribed to Sky Cable. A further problem is that at present it is only available in Metro Manila. So not much good if you live in Cebu, Davao or Bacolod like me.
However there are at least three alternatives if either you cannot get Bein Sports or do not want to subscribe to Sky Cable. For example if you already have a cable TV provider such as Cignal.
The first is to go the iPTV route (internet protocol television). This involves buying a monthly subscription that gives you access to the desired content. The content can include all major sports as well as movies and TV shows from many countries. Sky Sports showing EPL is certainly available through these providers.
You will need a STB (set top box) and a good internet connection with a download speed of at least 3 Mbps. An example of the type of STB is the Mag 254. Your TV needs either to have built in wifi or a USB port where you can plug in a wifi dongle. The setting up appears to be simple and ought to work straight out of the box. When set up you can stream the footy or any programme you like straight to your screen.
I have no idea if the iPTV scheme is legal.
Streaming on to Computer
Another method is to stream the match straight to your PC using a provider such as Vipbox. I am not a fan of theirs for two reasons. I find the quality of the feed is unacceptable and you need to run an ad blocker on their website. If you fail to do this you will end up with annoying pop up advertisements all over your screen.
I doubt whether this method is legal.
EPL Teams Web Sites
I believe it is also possible to watch English football but limited to your own team by subscribing to its official web site. For example my team, Liverpool Football Club, is accessible through liverpoolfctv.com. They carry live games but I am unsure as to whether they can be viewed from outside the UK.
Finally if you can satisfy your craving for English football by watching MOTD (Match of the Day) then you can watch that on BBC iPlayer. What? I might have heard you exclaim as you and I both know BBC iPlayer content is blocked outside of the UK.
That is correct. But only if your laptop, PC or other internet enabled device is showing a Philippines IP address, which it will do automatically. It is possible to find programs out there that will disguise your IP address to fool a server into believing that you are watching from another country. In order to watch the BBC video content you would simply click on the Union flag to ‘switch’ your IP address to that of a UK based computer.
And please bear in mind that iPlayer is a catch up service so you are not going to be able to watch MOTD live but only after a few days have elapsed.
Again, I have no idea as to the legality of this method.
Whatever you decide I hope you enjoy the game and your team win unless of course you are playing LFC.