Top Tips

TV on tablets – what does and doesn’t work abroad?!?

Ok, so whilst we may try and limit screen time at home, when we embark on travelling with our two little ones (particularly the 3 year old) we find it’s easier to be fairly relaxed about how much she watches, particularly on flights. Now toddler’s taste in TV changes from day to day, so it’s important to have their current favourite on hand (nothing worse than a tantrum mid air!). Over the last few years we’ve learnt the hard way when it comes to downloads…what works and what doesn’t. I recall one trip to Dubai when we downloaded loads of stuff onto Amazon Prime (it was free after all!) only to find that it didn’t work once we connected to the wifi in resort (cue panic buying loads of episodes of Peppa Pig via Apple videos!).

So here are our top tips on what does and doesn’t work abroad, with and without wifi -(don’t forget to sort out a sturdy case for the device!).

Apple Video – With Apple Video you buy the programmes that you want (and you can buy them abroad if need be!) and you own them indefinitely. The price varies but this could work out as an expensive option (toddler’s change their minds regularly and for no apparent reason!). The advantage of this using Apple Video is that the programmes work wherever you are regardless of internet connection.

Netflix – If you have a wifi connection when you’re abroad then you (or your children!) should be able to watch Netflix whilst away. The content varies by country and not everything is available but there seems to be enough suitable stuff (in English) to keep even the fussiest of toddlers/children entertained (and adults for that matter!). If you download programmes before you leave the UK, and the content is not availiable in the country you’re visiting, then the downloaded programmes will not work.  The only way we’ve found to get around this is to leave the device on flight mode (and to not connect to any wifi). This way the device assumes it’s still in the UK and the downloaded material continues to work.

Amazon Prime – Some material is available when you’re abroad but again it varies by country and it seems to be mainly the amazon original stuff (rather than things like Frozen!). If you download stuff before you leave it may or may not work – it all seems very variable and we haven’t been able to rely on it.

Iplayer – you can easily download programmes via the BBC Iplayer app (as well as other similar apps). These can be watched without internet access for up to 30 days. As with Netflix you’d need to leave your device in flight mode in order for these to work abroad.


Other options:

  • Don’t forget you can often change the language on the TV in your apartment/hotel so you may be able to remove the dubbed voice-overs and return the programme to its original English version. Failing that, our daughter loves watching programmes in other languages and the linguist in me loves that she can!


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