EU plans to let you stream your movies, TV and sport abroad

Streaming services don't always work in other countries, but new rules could treat your viewing subscriptions like mobile roaming.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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New rules could let you take your streaming services on holiday with you.

Luiz Souza/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Why spend all your holiday soaking up the sun and seeing the sights when you could stay in and watch a movie?

Online movie and TV subscriptions haven't always worked in foreign climes, but new EU rules could let European citizens bring movie, TV and sports subscriptions to other countries, just like you bring your phone services.

The EU has long been working on abolishing roaming charges when travelling through different European countries, creating a digital single market. Roaming charges disappear on 15 June -- hurrah! -- and now a proposed shake-up in copyright law could also end restrictions on online streaming services.

Streaming services such as the UK's Sky and BBC iPlayer or France's Canal Plus often stop working when you travel outside your home nation. If the proposed new rules are confirmed, they could make it possible to watch your usual TV, movies and sports services overseas without resorting to a VPN.

"This is very good news for EU consumers," said Monique Goyens, director general of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC). "Artificial barriers blocking you from using your online video, music or game subscription contradict the very principle of a single market. Today we are getting one step closer to a digital single market that delivers for consumers."

In the meantime, you can use services such as Sky, Amazon and Netflix to download movies and TV shows before you leave your country. So until the new rules come in, you can save episodes on your tablet, phone or laptop to watch at your leisure.

Non-EU citizens will not be affected by the rules. And as with roaming charges, it's not yet clear whether British travellers will be able to enjoy these proposed EU-mandated benefits after the UK completes the Brexit process and leaves the European Union. Guess we'll just have to remember to download stuff before we go -- thanks, Nigel Farage.

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