Watching the World Cup Online If You Are Outside of the United States

Operation Gadget is a U.S. website, and a lot of what we talk about is focused on the products and services that are available in the United States. But some of our readers are outside the United States and Canada. Therefore we try to present information relevant to international readers whenever possible.

Some people have asked how to stream World Cup games if you live outside of the United States?

I found a comprehensive list of Media Rights Licensees for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as a PDF document on FIFA's website: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Media Rights Licensees.

If you wanted to try to stream World Cup games, the first thing we would recommend would be to use the list of licensees to identify the rights holders in your county. For example, by referring this to this list, I am able to see that Hong Kong's media rights licensee is Television Broadcasts Limited or TVB.

I exchanged messages with a friend in Hong Kong, who said that there are freely-aired games on TVB, but in order to see all games of the World Cup, you have to subscribe to TVB. This is not what everyone in Hong Kong wants to do.

Internet Proxy Services and Virtual Private Networks

An alternative for people in that situation is to use an Internet proxy service or a virtual private network (VPN), which provides an IP address that is assigned to a different country, such as Canada or the U.K. If you set up a connection to a proxy service or VPN and it's working properly, you can then stream video from one of that country's Internet media rights licensees.

If you obtained a Canadian IP address with low latency and good throughput, it would mean that you could access the CBC's streaming infrastructure via the web or the apps that that the CBC has created for streaming World Cup acton in Canada. (See CBC's FIFA app puts viewers in director's chair, which illustrates use of the CBC FIFA app. The app can be downloaded for iOS or for Android.)

Such an arrangement is the intended use of Internet proxy services and of many consumer-oriented VPNs. The issue is that accessing a foreign country's media rights licensees World Cup video streams via one of these services is almost certainly a violation of the media rights licensee's Terms of Service. So, Operation Gadget cannot recommend doing this.

If you still want to investigate an Internet proxy or VPN service, you may wish to consult Lifehacker's list of five best VPN service providers, which was published in March 2014.