Watching RTE from Outside Ireland

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RTE stands for Raidió Teilifís Éireann and is the public service broadcaster for Ireland.  It’s actually one of the oldest broadcasters around, they have been operating continuously since 1961.  The Irish Government appoint a board to run the station, it is very near to Irelands version of the BBC.

It is certainly why it is missed by Irish citizens who move from home, and why many were so pleased at the announcement of RTE Player which is a similar version of BBC Iplayer.   It allows you watch the majority of RTE content and programmes over the internet.  Alas all the homesick Irish were to be disappointed when they tried to access the RTE Player from abroad, the dreaded Geotargeting stopped them.

Now some of you are probably not aware of this term, but ‘geotargeting’ plays an important part on what you access online.   The most obvious example is when you go to Google, you will always be directed to the Google Home page related to your location e.g Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.IE.

In this case it makes perfect sense, but unfortunately Geotargeting is also used to block access in many cases.  It’s quite a simple process, everyone connected to the internet has an IP address to identify themselves.  This IP address is registered and can be traced to a physical location, so all a web site has to do is look up the location of this address from a database and it can determine where you are.

This is what RTE Player does, it looks up your IP address and if it’s not registered in Ireland you won’t be able to access the content.  BBC Iplayer does the same for Non-UK surfers, in fact most of the big media sites block access to their content outside their specific country.

But the truth is that this doesn’t stop people accessing the shows if they use a workaround.  In the instance of RTE Player all you need to do is to connect through a proxy server that is registered in Ireland. When you connect throught the Irish proxy your IP address will be listed is Irish and RTE Player will work perfectly.

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