I originally posted this 4 years ago and a lot has changed since, so I’ve taken to the time to completely refresh this post so that the information is valid and up to date for 2017 and beyond.
Having travelled for the last few years, I’ve spent significant time in Thailand, Malta and the United States, and eventually I want to watch a bit of TV from home, or at least something thats in English. While I was in Thailand I wasn’t really in the position to get a proper cable setup, while in the USA I’ve wanted to get TV shows from New Zealand occasionally.
There are a wide variety of options, of varying legal status. You have been warned, downloading some of this software might get you into trouble with your ISP, but if you live in a country where copyright isn’t enforced, and/or where you simply cannot access legitimate content these are the options.
Locally Available Pirate Cable Boxes.
I first came across one of these when I was playing paintball in Bangkok. They had an android box that was programmed for a wide range of cable channels from Thailand, China, the UK and beyond. All of these run various home brew setups that draw the channels from online scrapers and I’d be willing to bet that most, if not all of them aren’t using legal sources of content. I had one that I purchased that worked well for a little while, and also allowed me to plug in my hard drive to watch any TV shows or movies that I’d downloaded, then all of a sudden it just stopped working – the servers just wouldn’t. That’s the risk you take for purchasing dodgy content in asia.
That said, if I was living in Thailand still – I’d probably be using one of these setups simply to get TV from home. I used to recommend that you get these sort of boxes from the toy/video game market in Saphan Lek, but this was demolished in 2015. From what I understand most of the vendors have relocated to a new market called the Mega Plaza Saphan Lek. I haven’t been there (I haven’t been back to Thailand since 2014) I’m guessing either there, MBK or Panthip plaza would be the places to look.
Thai Expat TV
Back in 2013 I also tried out another service I’ve also recently come across another service provider advertising on the various expat facebook groups, ThaiExpat.tv. I spoke to the owner on facebook and he arranged a trial account for me to use for the next two days.
At first I recieved and email which linked me to a web interface that only worked with Safari. The UI was less than impressive and not very functional but the stream was high quality and fast. About an hour later I recieved a second email with a software download for Mac. This was much better, faster and had a proper working EPG as well as the last week of TV on demand.
Personal opinion is that IPTV Thailand has a better range of channels, but is less useful for travellers who do not have a TV, while ThaiExpat TV is more flexible but has less channels available, and is more UK focused (though they do talk about other channels in the future). From what I understand the MaigeTV is the better option than the superiptv box as it has movies Video on Demand and ahem.. some “content” that isn’t normally available in Thailand (see 7 minutes into the above vid).
The legal status of both products is debatable as both appear to be accusing the other of rebroadcasting via (slightly unprofessional) emails that have been posted on Thaivisa forums.
Hulu + Netflix
The more legitmate options are Hulu or Netflix, which of course are Geoblocked in many countries, and will require a US based credit card. The US based credit card will be a problem for many, but for those who have one you can get around the Geoblocking by using the Hola Unblocker plugin. Please note that Hola Unblocker does use your computers resources as is works like a peer to peer VPN. Get it here for free.
Kodi + TV Addons
Things have changed in the last few years since I wrote this, and in my view there is really only one real solution for those who want to watch TV shows from home while living overseas, and thats building yourself a Kodi box. Kodi is a free media player software that can be installed on any windows, mac, linux or android device. When installed by itself Kodi is perfectly legal as it does not provide any links to illicit content, it is merely a player. That said there are many addons that are constantly being updated, added and deleted, which provide a wide range of content from online radio, to scraping freely available legal content, right through to slightly dodgier TV streams and movies. For those of you wanting to get all the latest content on Kodi, the best option is using TVaddons.ag which has instructions for how to get the latest build onto your device.
My personal preference is to sideload Kodi onto a Amazon Fire TV, though it should work for virtually any Android set top box as well. What I like about this option is the ability to load up apps such as Youtube, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video as well.
This, after all was the only way I was able to watch international news in Thailand during the coup in 2014 when all local news stations were nigh on useless and the BBC was blocked.