How to unblock Sky+ HD box Catch Up/On Demand outside the UK

Like many expats in Europe, I still have a Sky+ HD box with a Sky UK subscription through InSat, this gets me access to live TV from home through a satellite (yes, I have a TV license).

However, as the Catch Up content is On Demand via the internet on the Sky+ HD box, downloads failed because of my IP address.  Previously I used a VPN router, but this would quite often fail itself, be slow and just generally annoy me, most of the time when I wanted to use On Demand on the Sky+ box it would show ‘Connection to On Demand FAIL’.

Enter StreamVia and their SmartStream service, SmartStream is a DNS based service which means I can configure it directly on my Sky+ HD box without the need for a VPN router.  Happy days!  So, rather than seeing ‘Connection to On Demand FAIL’, I now see ‘Connection to On Demand OK’ and can successfully download any/all the Sky+ On Demand content, from the various channels and Sky Cinema as well whilst I’m abroad.  So now I can have the best of both worlds – sunshine and full access to UK Sky TV.  The download speed is generally as fast as my Sky+ box in the UK, I’m pretty sure Sky themselves limit download speeds as I have 200Mbit in the UK but rarely see over 20Mbit.

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Configuration is pretty straight forward, you basically edit the Network settings on the Sky box, even my father who lives abroad managed to sign up with StreamVia and configure SmartStream on his Sky+ box – without needing to phone me for tech support.  We both found the instructions on the StreamVia Help pages easy to follow and were up and running in about 15 minutes.  I think the price is pretty reasonable as well, for £4.99 a month I get access to UK, USA and Canadian VPNs and their SmartStream service which I can use on my Sky+ HD box, NowTV box (although this requires some router changes), Samsung SmartTV and my various computers, iPads/iPhones, etc.

About 2 months into my subscription with StreamVia, my broadband IP address changed as a result of a power cut – return of the dreaded ‘Connection to On Demand FAIL’ – so I had to sign in again to SmartStream to update my IP address in their systems.  Once done, everything was back exactly as it was showing ‘Connection to On Demand OK’.

I can’t rate the guys at StreamVia highly enough, they’re sharp, courteous and quick to reply.  I signed up about 6 months ago and have zero complaints and still zero tech support calls from my father.  I’ve attached a link to their SmartStream Sky+ HD box setup guide below, if you have any questions feel free to reach out in the comments below.

Sky+ HD SmartStream Setup Guide

StreamVia

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