Irish public media broadcaster RTE has an on-demand video component, but like many others like it, most of the content on RTE player is geo-locked. Some shows, such as analysis on political and current events, are available for international audiences without the need for a VPN, but the rest require you to have an Irish IP address before you’re granted access.
If you try to access one of its geo-restricted shows, you’ll be greeted with the following message:
“This programme cannot be streamed due to rights restrictions.”
This is because RTE Player has detected that you’re IP address is from outside Ireland. However, if you connect to an Irish VPN server, you’ll be granted a local IP address, unshackling you from this restriction. Another benefit of using a VPN is that it will encrypt your traffic, preventing snoopers like your Internet Service Provider (ISP), employer, or government from determining what you’re doing on the web.
How to use a VPN with RTE Player
To be able to stream RTE player outside Ireland, such as in Spain or France, just follow the steps below.
Here’s how to watch RTE Player abroad:
- Decide on a suitable VPN service – our recommendation is NordVPN.
- Once the payment has been successfully authenticated, proceed to download and install the relevant apps for your device. Use either the provider’s website or official app marketplaces.
- Connect to a server in Ireland.
- Try to access RTE Player. It should work straight away, but if it doesn’t, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies.
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While there are plenty of VPNs available, this actually makes the task of picking the right VPN for RTE Player even harder. Not all VPNs are optimized for RTE Player, and to ensure that you sign up to a reliable service, we’ve based our recommendations on the following criteria:
- Must be able to unblock RTE Player and other streaming services
- Incorporates a reliable, speedy connection with high uptime
- Utilizes unhackable encryption parameters and other security features
- Doesn’t store user logs
- Offers apps for the major platforms
- Has support for simultaneous connections
If you’re in a rush, here’s our snapshot of the best VPNs to livestream RTE Player abroad. In-depth reviews of each are provided further down this article:
Best VPNs for watching RTE Player outside of Ireland:
- NordVPN: Our top choice for RTE Player. With 50+ servers in Ireland, NordVPN gives you plenty of options to acquire an Irish IP address. It also has a no-logs policy and excellent security. 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best budget VPN for RTE Player. Strong on security, with no connection limit and generally high speeds.
- ExpressVPN: A strong contender due to its impressive speeds, top-notch unblocking ability, and strong privacy features.
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost has 60 servers in Ireland. It also ships with user-friendly apps, pre-configured security options, and extremely fast connections. It’s able to unblock lots of streaming sites including RTE Player.
- IPVanish: This provider has a strong reputation for privacy and security, and has several Irish servers to choose from.
- PrivateVPN: PrivateVPN has superior unblocking capabilities and comes with servers equipped for HD video streaming, allowing you to stream RTE Player from anywhere.
Best VPNs for watching RTE Player
Here’s our list of the best VPNs to watch RTE Player from anywhere in the world
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN has a gigantic server network with over 5,100 servers spread across 60 countries. Ireland hosts over 50 servers so there are plenty of options for anyone hoping to access RTE Player. In fact, this service even works with platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix US, and Disney+. NordVPN allows six simultaneous connections with one account so you can share with friends and family if needed.
Security features are impressive. NordVPN uses 256-bit encryption, an internet kill switch, ad-blocking, malware protection, and support against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. It also has a strict no-logs policy meaning no actual customer data is recorded on its servers. Customer support is available around the clock and apps are included for all major platforms — iOS, Windows, Linux, MacOS, and Android.
- Among the fastest VPNs we’ve tested
- Exceptional streaming ability
- Top-notch security and privacy protection
- Operates a network of more than 5,000 servers in 60 countries
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Desktop apps take two clicks ti disconnect
BEST VPN FOR RTE PLAYER:NordVPN is our top pick. Strong security and the ability to stream RTE Player from anywhere in the world. Try it with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark provides access to more than 3,200 servers in 60+ countries, Ireland included. Further, it boasts solid speeds and unlimited bandwidth, allowing you to stream RTE as much as you like in the highest possible quality. Best of all, this service lets you secure every device you own with a single account.
Security-wise, Surfshark is an excellent choice. It includes 256-bit encryption, protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, and a kill switch, plus a NoBorders mode capable of bypassing even the strictest geo-blocking. This no-logs service accepts three cryptocurrencies and operates a 24/7 live chat help desk, just in case you need any assistance.
Surfshark provides apps for iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, and Linux. Manual configuration is required for supported routers.
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer
- Strong security and privacy credentials
- Steady, reliable speeds
- Allows unlimited devices
- Keeps no logs
- Settings could be better organized
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is our favorite low-cost VPN It boasts solid speeds, fantastic unblocking ability, and impressive security features. Protect all of your devices at once. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries including Ireland. It’s well-suited for streaming 1080p online video and is able to do just that without any noticeable buffering or lag. This provider works well with RTE Player as well as other services like Netflix US, Hulu, ESPN, and more.
ExpressVPN will keep your web activity private by using 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and an internet kill switch in the desktop app. This feature swiftly blocks all web traffic if the connection becomes unstable, preventing any leaks outside the encrypted tunnel.
There are no user-identifying logs that are stored on its servers. For additional protection and control over your digital footprint, you can choose to pay with Bitcoin if you prefer. Customer support via live chat is available around the clock, and a single account allows for five simultaneous connections.
Apps are available for Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, and Linux. The provider also offers new and improved firmware which can be installed on certain routers.
- Fast speeds for streaming and torrenting
- Top-class security and privacy protection features
- Works with all major streaming sites, e.g. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
- More than 3,000 servers in 94 countries
- Higher price than some of its rivals
- Little control over advanced features
QUICK AND VERSATILE:ExpressVPN is a solid choice. It’s a versatile provider that has a wide variety of streaming and unblocking capabilities. Strong on security and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN Review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost is one of the most user-friendly services out there and is specifically designed for newcomers to the VPN world. With over 7,000 servers in 90 countries (including 60+ in Ireland), it’ll do the job of unblocking RTE Player seamlessly.
This provider offers fast speeds, well-designed apps, and servers tailored to unblocking streaming services. Security features include 256-bit encryption, an internet kill switch, an ad-blocker, malware-scanner, automatic wifi protection, and prevention of DNS and IPv6 leaks. It also adheres to a policy of not storing any user logs or data.
A single account allows seven connections at the same time. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Customer support is available 24/7.
- Low-cost option with beginner-friendly apps
- Plenty of servers in Europe and North America
- All security features enabled by default
- Less suitable for power users
- Doesn’t work in China
IDEAL FOR NEWCOMERS:CyberGhost is a secure yet easy to use option for those who want minimal fuss and aren’t looking for lots of customizability. It ships with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost VPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish has long been a favorite of streamers thanks to its top-tier speeds and strong unblocking ability. There are over a dozen Irish servers to choose from and users can connect as many devices as they like simultaneously. As well as RTE Player, this VPN works with platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu.
With over 1,900 servers in 60 countries, including options in Ireland, IPVanish can assist you in getting an IP address from all over the world. It’s headquartered in the US, but declines to store any logs that contain personally identifiable information. What’s more, it owns and operates all the servers in its network, giving it a lot more control over user traffic as compared to other providers. Security features include 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and an internet kill switch.
Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS, plus there’s 24/7 live chat customer support. Manual installation is needed for Linux systems and supported routers.
- Exceptionally fast speeds
- Provides a secure, encrypted connection
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Traffic scrambling only works on OpenVPN connections
- No Linux app
VERSATILE VPN:IPVanish does its job very well as it comes with superior cloaking ability and extremely fast speeds. Try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN isn’t trying to compete on a numbers game – it only offers about 200 servers in 63 countries, including Ireland, but the service has superior speed and dtreaming ability. It’s able to help you securely access major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and RTE Player. A single account allows for 10 connections at any given time.
Security comes in the form of 256-bit encryption, an internet kill switch for Windows, and protection against IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. This provider doesn’t store any user data logs and gives the option for anonymous signups by paying with Bitcoin. Support via live chat isn’t 24/7 but is still useful and will help you in case you run into any problems. Representatives can give you remote assistance if you so desire.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Linux systems and some routers are supported too, but must be configured manually.
- Speeds are good enough for high-quality streaming
- No issues getting it working with Kodi devices
- Can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously
- Fewer servers to choose from
- Live chat is not around the clock
STREAMING VPN:PrivateVPN is an up-and-coming provider that’s primed for streaming HD video. Try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Private VPN review.
Methodology: How we chose the best VPNs for RTE Player
Unfortunately, you can’t just choose the first VPN you see. Not all of them are able to unblock RTE Player for a start, and some of those that can might lack the speeds needed for live streaming. To find the best VPNs for the job, we created a strict list of requirements that services had to meet. Take a look at these below:
- Streaming ability: It goes without saying that the VPNs above should work with RTE Player. However, we also see how they fare against competing services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Amazon Prime Video, and All 4 to give you a better idea of their abilities.
- Server choice: You’ll usually get the most reliable connection from a server that’s nearby. With this in mind, we looked for providers that had a large server presence in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the UK. Of course, locations in further-away countries are welcome as well, but were less of a priority in this case.
- Performance: We only recommend VPNs that perform well in our most recent speed tests. This way, you’ll know for sure that your chosen service is suitable for HD live streaming, torrenting, and general browsing.
- Security and privacy: To ensure your activities remain as private as possible, the VPNs we recommend must have a no-logging policy, 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. Bonus points if they go even further with anti-tracking features or privacy-first servers.
- Ease of use: We’ll only ever recommend services that are easy enough for newcomers to use. If there’s 24/7 live chat, no connection limit, or anything else that simplifies day-to-day usage even more, it’s extremely welcome.
- Cost-effectiveness: Some providers try to get away with charging more than is really fair, given the functionality they offer. Needless to say, our recommendations are all worth what they charge, but we’ll always try to save you money by providing info about any discounts or money-back guarantees that are on offer.
This is actually just the first part of our VPN testing. We’ve got a whole post breaking down how we test VPNs at Comparitech in case you’d like to learn more.
Streaming RTE abroad: FAQs
Is RTE Player free to watch?
Yes – it doesn’t cost anything to stream shows on RTE Player, even if you’re watching live. In fact, users don’t even have to login, although creating a free account will allow you to add things to your watchlist and pick up where you left off across multiple devices.
What shows are available on RTE Player?
RTE caters to a huge number of different audiences, so as you might expect, it has a wide and varied library of content. Here are a few of the most popular shows at the time of writing:
- Fair City
- The Late Late Show
- Angela Scanlon’s Ask Me Anything
- The Tommy Tiernan Show
- Prime Time
- Bridget and Eamonn
- Ireland’s Fittest Family
Can I use a free VPN to watch RTE Player?
Free VPNs are a tempting option because of the lack of any upfront payment needed. However, we don’t recommend you use them due to several reasons.
Most free VPNs intentionally take on far more users than their servers can support, making it likely that you will experience frequent buffering as the video streams. Free VPNs generally offer a small choice of servers and unreliable connections. They’re trying to make money as well, which means you may be subjected to lots of invasive advertisements. Some free VPNs track user activity and sell the information to advertisers.
There have been instances of free VPNs selling user bandwidth to build botnet armies while others have knowingly injected tracking cookies to mine and harvest user data. At the end of the day, using a reputable VPN that puts customer interests first is your best option.
What else can I do with a VPN?
The most popular use case for VPNs is to access geo-restricted shows and movies, but there are several other things you can do with the software.
As we mentioned before, VPNs add a layer of virtually uncrackable encryption to your web connection. This means accessing poorly-secured public wifi networks, such as those found in airports, malls, and coffee shops, can be made much safer. Encryption means that hackers who typically prey on unsuspecting users are kept safely at bay.
VPNs are also an excellent option for holidaymakers who might be trying to access online bank accounts like the Bank of Ireland, Barclays Bank Ireland, and Dell Bank International. By connecting to a VPN first and selecting a server in your home country, you’re effectively conveying to the host institution that you’re physically located there. This prevents any fraud detection alerts and won’t cause your account to be locked out, for example.
Why is RTE Player region-locked?
RTE Player is only available to residents of Ireland who pay for a TV license. When a user connects from another country, their physical IP address is detected, and the connection is blocked. RTE launched an iOS and Android app called RTÉ Player International for the rest of the world, which gives users outside of Irish territories access to over 500 hours of free and paid content.
If you have your eye on something specific that's only available in Ireland, we'd recommend using a VPN with the steps explained in this article.