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Watch the World Cup anywhere

The World Cup is a global event, but that doesn't mean that everywhere will have a TV for you to watch it on. So why take the risk? Take your own TV with you on your travels

TVs

Like the destruction of life on Earth by a supervolcano, the World Cup is inevitable. Unlike the supervolcano, there's a chance some of civilisation might remain standing when the tournament is over, although it might be a bit more urine- and vomit-soaked afterwards.

With such a momentous tournament nearly upon us, we're terrified we might miss some of the action. What if we're on the loo while Slovenia are playing Algeria? What then? Let us take away the strain -- not from the toilet bit, we can't help you there -- and tell you how to see every game, anywhere.

On your PC via the Internet

Brilliant news! You no longer need to break the law to enjoy football over the Internet for free. The BBC tells us you'll be able to watch all the matches it airs, live, via iPlayer. If you're careless enough to miss North Korea vs Ivory Coast, you can catch up for seven days after transmission. Top banana! We asked ITV if it had similar plans, but it hadn't replied by the time we pressed the 'go' button on the blog post. It's pretty safe to assume it will have the same online rights as the BBC.

If it turns out ITV isn't showing the matches, you can watch ITV1 via Zattoo. The BBC seems to have finally asked for its content to be removed from the service, but at the time of writing, ITV is still available. We still aren't clear on the legality of Zattoo, but given it's an unadulterated feed of ITV, adverts and all, we can't see a huge legal problem with it. Certainly, watching it is unlikely to land you in jail.

Best of all is a site called TVCatchup, which works like Zattoo, but in your browser window rather than a separate app. Debate continues over the legality of the service -- the company itself insists it's doing nothing wrong. And with the BBC having removed itself from Zattoo, we can't help but imagine it might insist on the same from this service sooner or later.

For the time being though, TVCatchup has 50 channels, including both BBC One and ITV1, and you can watch live, usually after a brief advert. It's worth pointing out that no matter what the legality of this service, anyone watching live TV must have a TV licence, or risk prosecution. 

On your PC via a tuner card

TV tuner cards are so cheap these days you really don't have an excuse to own one. What's more, if you buy one from Elgato, you might find that it's free -- it's offering you your money back if England win the tournament. Now, we admit the chances of that happening are as slender as Theo Walcott after he's been run over by a steamroller, but it's worth a shot, especially if you wanted one anyway. Elgato's tuner is also tiny, comes with a little England flag to attach to the aerial and gets every Freeview channel available in your region.

There are oodles of other TV tuners out there too. We've currently got the AVerTV Volar HD A835 Pro in for a test, and it will set you back a paltry £30. It's important to point out that although many of these tuners support HD, you won't get to watch Greece vs Nigeria over Freeview HD, because the new DVB-T2 broadcast system is not yet supported. Still, on a laptop screen that's virtually irrelevant, and unlikely to be much of a concern for the real football fanatic.

With a portable TV

They may sound a bit 80s, but little portable TVs are still a possibility for go-anwhere TV. Assuming that you only go to places with Freeview coverage, that is. Generally, these TVs come from small technology companies that you've never heard of, but that keeps the price low, and almost all of them will suffice for Serbia vs Ghana.

Watch your home TV channels while you're abroad

Slingbox is the device for you if you're travelling somewhere and can't watch the World Cup games on TV. The Sling will take any programme from Freeview and transmit it, via the Internet, to your PC anywhere in the world. The quality depends on your Internet bandwidth both at home and where you're staying, so results can be variable, but if you're desperate to see Switzerland vs Honduras, you'll be pretty grateful for this option. The Slingbox can be obtained for around £100.

If you don't want a hardware solution, but have a PC at home you leave on all the time, you can also run Slingbox-type software on your PC and stream TV to yourself anywhere in the world. The AVerTV tuner, for example, provides access to a service called SnugTV.

On your mobile phone

TVCatchup has a specific iPhone-ready version of its site that enables video streaming, via 3G or Wi-Fi. We were thrilled to see that it works a treat -- the picture quality is fairly decent, and if you can't avoid being out when New Zealand vs Paraguay is on, it'll be perfect.

Slingbox has an iPhone app for you to watch the stream from your home TV on the phone. It costs a startling £18, but it does offer plenty of options, and as you'd expect from the Slingbox, you can change the channels and access PVR functionality too.

If you're an Android user, until recently there was a programme called beebPlayer that would enable you to watch live video streams from iPlayer, as well as catch-up TV. Sadly, it's been removed from the app store now for unspecified reasons. If you've already got the app, you're in luck -- it still works. If you haven't, you'll be devastated to discover there are currently no alternatives for the platform, although TVCatchup is rumoured to be working on one. 

On the Moon

Alright, fine, there are some places you can't get access to the World Cup. But if you're on the Moon, you should be looking for Clangers and a Soup Dragon instead of Cameroon vs Denmark.

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