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For expats living in Qatar, one of the things that can keep them in touch with back home is the ability to watch TV content from their native country. In the past I have written about various ways of achieving this via VPN or Magic DNS. Both of which require annual subscriptions. However, there is a completely free way of streaming TV content from all over the world using a wonderful piece of software called KODI.

KODI is extremely controversial because it allows the viewing of content that would normally have to be paid for. Yet KODI itself is not illegal to download, own or use. This is because it has many completely legal and useful features. It’s a powerful media player bringing all of the content on your networked or single devices together.

Whilst KODI is legal and easy to download for free, as well as easy to use. There are numerous free Add-Ons that give you access to TV stations and the ability to stream movies (even movies still showing at theatres right now) as well. And these add-ons would most certainly be classed as pirated content. KODI can be installed on Windows computers and also on small dedicated devices running other operating systems such as Linux and Android which can easily plug into your TV using a HDMI cable. In the UK there have been arrests of vendors selling TV Box’s pre-installed with KODI which has been preconfigured to gain access to pirated content.

You can download and install KODI on your Windows computer right now if you want. Simply click on this link: https://kodi.tv/download

Follow the instructions and voilà you have a legal, powerful media player.

Now you can start installing add-on’s. Legal ones of course. If you install and use illegal ones, well that is up to you if your conscience will allow.

To install the YouTube add-on for example, click ‘Video add-ons’ and scroll down the list to YouTube. Click the install button and the add-on will download and install automatically. You will get a notification telling you that it was installed successfully. You will find your new add-on in the Add-ons section of the main menu.

Instead of adding your own add-ons one by one, you can also install what is called a ‘Build’. This is a pre-made pack of add-ons. A very popular ‘Build’ is one called Apollo.

If you are technically minded, follow the instructions located here KODI Build Install Instructions

New easy way to use your Online TV Box’s without a VPN Router!

Ok so I have written about getting UK and US TV content here in Qatar before. And to use devices like NOW TV or Amazon Fire TV here you need a VPN Router. The Routers are hard to get in Qatar, and either involve paying a lot of money or getting someone who is a tech-head to sort it out for you. And VPN Routers tend to be slow causing buffering issues in the middle of something you are watching at certain times of the day.

GOOD NEWS!!

I have now found a much better way of doing it. No VPN! Instead you use something called Magic DNS. This gives you the full bandwith ooredoo or Vodafone are supplying you with to stream your TV channels. It’s super fast with no buffering. I can’t tell you how much better than VPN it is.

Ok it’s not free, it costs $40 (QAR 142) a year. But you can get a totally free 7 day trial by following this link Magic DNS then click on the Magic DNS link at the top of the page.

It’s super quick and easy to setup with no hardware to purchase (well as long as you know the Admin password for your existing router that is). But if you are having any problems get in touch with Barzan Digital located in Al Jazeera st, Bin Mahmoud, Doha and they will sort you out. They can even register you for Magic DNS using cash if you are having problems making payments online. And can help you configure your existing router if you are having problems with that as well (but I repeat, you must know your routers Admin password).

 

I have been in Qatar nearly 6 years. For the first 2 I had no TV at all, and for the last 4 I have had OSN. I had the full OSN package to start with, then last year cut it down to a QR 200 package, because I didn’t consider it good value. 12 months on I got fed up with the English channels I had on OSN mainly being repeats over and over again. So I decided it was time to look at my options for bringing proper UK TV to me here in Qatar.

NOW TV - Amazon Fire TV

I already have a SKY subscription, an Amazon Prime subscription and also a Netflix account. But watching these on a computer/tablet, or having to plug the computer into my TV was so inconvenient I hardly ever used them. As I dearly wanted to cancel my OSN subscription and give them back their box, I decided I would bite the bullet and order an  Amazon Fire TV

Through my wonderful Aramex Shop & Ship account I received it within a week, hooked it up to my TV and my VPN router which points to the UK and voilà. I was instantly mega disappointed I hadn’t bought one of these ages ago. OMG I was shocked at how good it was. Within hours I had disconnected my OSN box and set it aside for collection. Live streaming UK Sky News, plus the opportunity to pick and choose on demand Sky News articles to watch. BBC iPlayer which on its own gives me more content than I can possibly watch in a week, Demand 5 which I really wanted for the Gadget Show and much, much more. Plus it has Netflix as well, and as soon as I entered my account details I had all that lovely Netflix content available to me. And last but not least all the Amazon Prime movies and TV shows as well. I didn’t know what to watch next.

Anyway being greedy, I then decided to order a NOW TV box from Sky. This arrived yesterday, and now I have really over done it. Seriously I am now on TV overload. All the UK terrestrials are represented. Live TV streaming and on demand content. Last night I enjoyed Britain’s Got Talent followed by Game of Thrones series 5. I was enjoying a typical UK weekend TV viewing experience along with some nice snacks, and I was loving it.

The costs:-

TV Subscriptions

Amazon Prime Membership £79 per year (£6.58 / QR 37 a month)

Netflix £5.99 a month (QR 34)

NOW TV Entertainment Pass £6.99 per month (QR 40)

TV Hardware

Fire TV Set Top Box £79 (QR 444)

NOW TV Set Top Box £34.99 including 6 month Entertainment Pass (QR 197)

VPN Subscription

Strong VPN $55 a year (QR 44 a month)

VPN Hardware

Linksys E900 QR 169

UPDATE: New easy way to use your Online TV Box’s without a VPN Router! Click Here

Ok here is the bad news; you need a VPN Router to connect these two box’s to. And VPN routers cannot be bought pre-configured here in Qatar. However you can buy a Linksys E900 from Jarir Bookstore for QR 169 and install software called Tomato or more specifically flash the routers bios with it. Tomato is free but you may struggle to install it yourself. I got a friendly Audio Visual company to set mine up for me (Barzan Digital Tel:5013 4502 ask for Joseph).

Once your configured Linksys E900 router is plugged into your existing home WiFi router you are in business. Anything you plug into the E900 appears to be located in the UK, and if you connect devices to it using its WiFi such as a tablet, that appears to be in the UK as well. Now you can connect NOW TV and Amazon Prime Set Top Box’s to your E900 and they will work just like they do back in the UK.

My total monthly cost including VPN, Netflix, NOW TV and Amazon Prime is QR 155. My rubbish OSN account was costing me QR 200 a month. I am happy big style 🙂