If you’re like me, sometimes the only way to unwind after a day spent in that Banglorious traffic is curled up on the sofa in your jammies with a large glass of California red and your favorite tv show on the tellie. For those of us doing the expat life, this can sometimes be an impossible task. Bangalore cable isn’t currently airing “This is Us,” or “Monday Night Football,” and if you haven’t realized it yet India Netflix and Amazon Prime don’t have many of those shows we loved to binge on back home; any other Friends or The Office junkies out there?
Thankfully these days the internet isn’t only for ordering the super cute pair of sandals you just have to have. Between sports league subscriptions and some crafty workarounds, those awesome guys in IT have figured out for us, we can get you connected to just about any show or game you’re missing from back home. So order that pizza, slip on those jammies, and pour that beautiful glass of wine. You are just a few keystrokes, and maybe a few bucks, away from a night any couch potato would envy.
VPN IS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND
If you’re on a budget or just want to keep it easy, the best bang for your buck is to purchase a VPN subscription. A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a way to create a secure connection to a network via the internet. This handy tool can be used to shield your browsing activity or protect private information. However, my favorite function of a VPN is they give us a way to trick the geo-restrictions subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. Here’s an example in layman’s terms – While in Bangalore if you log-on to your Amazon Prime account to watch your favorite episode, of Downton Abbey, an annoying little message will be displayed telling you, “This title isn’t available in your location.” If however, you purchase a VPN service you can choose which country, even which city in which you want Amazon to think you are currently located.
There are several different VPNs to choose from. My personal favorite and the one we currently use is ExpressVPN. Consistently ranked at the top of best VPN lists, it is reasonably priced, one of the fastest VPNs available has a money-back guarantee, and works wonderfully for fooling Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Another really affordable option to connect Americans with the shows they love is a website called US TV Now. This is a cross-platform app and website designed for US expats and military personnel stationed around the globe. The great news is that US TV now has a free option that includes 5 channels and a limited space DVR. There are two paid options. The first and cheaper one is around $30 USD/ Rs. 2,088 ($19 for the first 3 months, then $29 each month after) and includes all 24 channels and a limited space DVR. The top of the line option is about $40 USD/ Rs.2,784 a month ($29 a month for the first 3 months, then $39 each month after). It has the same 24 channels but also includes an unlimited DVR. The channel list includes ESPN, AMC, Animal Planet, TLC, Fox News, Bravo, as well as a CBS and ABC affiliate out of the Scranton, Pennsylvania area.
FOR THE SPORTS FANS
For those of us who breathe eat and sleep our favorite team, be it football, soccer, basketball, hockey, or baseball getting access to these games is actually relatively easy if you’re not worried about cost. Each of the “Big Four” professional leagues from the USA has a subscription platform available in India. Prices vary widely depending on the league and when you subscribe. For example, I purchased the NFL Game Pass before the first game of the 2018 season. I made a one-time payment of $130 USD/ Rs. 9,046, and this got me access to every game (live and recorded), pre-season through post-season, as well as the ability to watch games from the previous ten seasons.
HERE ARE DIRECT LINKS TO SUBSCRIPTION OPTIONS FOR EACH LEAGUE:
Soccer and college sports are a bit more complicated because each division, and in some cases each school, has a different system in place for broadcasting their games. If you do purchase a VPN (as mentioned above) you may be able to watch these on a network app or web page e.g. NBC, ESPN, CBS. For those of you without a VPN, you may be able to find a few free options online, but as the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” Some fan-based Facebook pages and subReddits will live stream games, but you are at the mercy of the page’s administrator. These will almost always be live stream only. To find these pages, I suggest a simple Google search. For example, you might search “Notre Dame football subreddit” or “Texas Longhorns baseball facebook live stream.”
For those of you unfamiliar with torrents, it’s actually very easy to use without understanding all of the tech stuff that goes on. The simplified version of this is that you’ll need something called a BitTorrent Software downloaded on your computer (uTorrent, Transmission or BitTorrent are popular and free options). From here, all you’re doing is searching a few key sites online, or “Torrent Sites”, which are updated by the second with the latest TV Shows, Movies, Music, Software and more. While the sites sometimes change due to legal issues, there are tons of them on the internet – Pirate Bay, Extranet, etc and a new one is always popping up (just google “Best Torrent Sites”). Once you find a show you’re looking for on a torrent site, you just hit download and it will begin to download in your BitTorrent software on your computer. Voila! Your favorite shows and movies right after they’ve been released in the US. This is a great option because once it’s downloaded, you can watch it anytime whether you have internet or not! Great for binging on long flights or if the internet is down…
This list is definitely not all-encompassing, the internet is a big place and constantly changing. The more tech-savvy you are, the higher your number of choices. For most of us, this list will get us what we need or at least take the edge off your tv and sports withdrawals. Happy watching!
Erin is an American expat living in Bangalore with her husband, Martin, her daughter, Averie, and the family pets: Lou and Delilah. If Lou, a chiweenie dog, could talk, he would tell you that Erin is his person! Erin hails from the great state of Texas. She never imagined leaving there but could not resist the adventure of living as an expat in India. She misses the wide open spaces, American football, and the way people say “ya’ll” back home. Professionally, she has a combined 15 years of teaching experience as an elementary school teacher, a music teacher, and a home school teacher. Erin is excited to share the lessons learned from her pet relocation experience…so that others can profit from the knowledge she gained!