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How to watch Scottish TV online for free


Scotland has long been known for its rich heritage, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant culture. Just as iconic are its television broadcasts, capturing the essence of Scottish life and presenting it for viewers not only locally but globally. Whether you’re a Scot living abroad, someone of Scottish descent wanting to connect with their roots, or just an international viewer with a penchant for Scottish content, the digital age has paved the way for you to access Scottish TV online. This guide will provide you with insights on how you can immerse yourself in everything from riveting Scottish dramas to insightful news segments.

Brief overview of Scottish TV and its online presence

For decades, Scottish TV has played an essential role in informing, entertaining, and connecting the Scots with the wider world. It reflects the unique Scottish perspective on world events, local happenings, and the nation’s cherished traditions. Online, many of these channels have adapted to reach a broader audience, understanding the modern viewer’s need for on-demand content.

Importance of staying connected to Scottish culture and news from anywhere in the world

For those Scots living abroad or people with Scottish heritage, staying connected to their homeland becomes crucial. It’s not just about hearing the familiar accent or watching shows set against the scenic backdrops of Scotland. It’s about preserving a sense of identity, staying updated with home events, and indulging in the collective memory and experiences of the Scottish people. Online access to Scottish TV channels ensures that distance doesn’t dilute this connection.

Why Watch Scottish TV Online?

Cultural connection for expatriates

Living away from home can be both an exciting adventure and a nostalgic journey. For Scottish expatriates, the cadence of their homeland’s language, the familiarity of its stories, and the nuances of its humor provide a sense of solace and belonging. Watching Scottish TV online serves as a bridge, allowing expats to remain connected to their roots and relive moments of their past, even if they’re miles away from Scotland.

Catching up with popular Scottish programs and series

Scotland has birthed numerous iconic television series that have gained both local and international acclaim. Series such as “Outlander”, set against the historic backdrop of Scotland, or investigative dramas like “Shetland” not only provide entertainment but also offer a glimpse into the country’s culture and landscapes. Accessing these programs online ensures that you never miss an episode and can binge-watch at your convenience.

Staying informed with Scottish news and events

Staying abreast of local Scottish events, politics, or societal issues is crucial for those with ties to the region. News programs like “Reporting Scotland” on BBC Scotland provide in-depth coverage of the nation’s events, ensuring that viewers are well-informed. By accessing these channels online, viewers can stay updated in real-time, no matter where they are in the world.

Major Scottish TV Channels

  1. BBC Scotland
  2. STV (Scottish Television)
  3. STV2
    • Please note that as of my last update, STV2 had been closed down and merged with STV, so the main STV website would be the point of reference.
  4. BBC Alba

BBC Scotland

BBC Scotland stands as one of the most prominent broadcasters in the country. Serving the Scottish audience with a rich mix of news, current affairs, documentaries, and entertainment, it’s the go-to source for many Scots. Highlights include the aforementioned “Reporting Scotland”, a daily news and current affairs program, as well as captivating dramas and regional content specific to the Scottish audience.

STV (Scottish Television)

As Scotland’s leading commercial broadcaster, STV has been delivering content to Scots for many decades. Its programming includes a range of entertainment, dramas, news, and current affairs. One of its flagship programs is “STV News”, which offers a mix of national and international news from a Scottish perspective. Furthermore, STV often showcases home-grown talent and reflects Scottish culture through its diverse programming.


Previously known as STV City channels, STV2 offers an even more localized viewing experience. With programs tailored for specific Scottish regions, it gives a platform for local stories, events, and talents that might not make it to national broadcasts. From interviews with local personalities to city-specific news, STV2 offers a hyper-local viewing experience.

BBC Alba

Dedicated to Scotland’s Gaelic-speaking community, BBC Alba is unique. Broadcast in Gaelic, this channel offers everything from children’s programs to sports, ensuring that the language remains vibrant and relevant in today’s media landscape. It’s a testament to Scotland’s commitment to preserving its linguistic heritage.

Ways to Watch Scottish TV Online

Official Websites & Apps

Many Scottish TV channels offer their own official websites and apps, providing on-demand content for viewers.

  • BBC Scotland: Available through the BBC iPlayer, which hosts a vast array of shows, documentaries, and news segments specifically from the Scottish region. The iPlayer app is accessible on various devices, ensuring that viewers can catch up on their favorite shows on the go.
  • STV & STV2: The STV Player is their digital platform, streaming both live broadcasts and on-demand content. Like BBC iPlayer, it also offers an app for mobile devices, making it easy for viewers to access content whenever they desire.

Streaming Services

Global platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu sometimes feature popular Scottish TV shows, presenting an easy way for international audiences to get a taste of Scotland.

  • Netflix: Series such as “Outlander” have found a broad international audience through this platform.
  • Amazon Prime: Offers a selection of Scottish productions, both classic and contemporary.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

For those facing geographical restrictions, a VPN offers an invaluable tool. By masking the user’s original IP address and providing one from a different location, viewers can access content as if they were in Scotland.

  • How it works: A VPN reroutes the user’s internet connection through a server located in a country of their choice—in this case, Scotland. This allows for bypassing regional restrictions set by some streaming services.
  • Pros: Beyond just accessing content, using a VPN provides a secure and encrypted connection, ensuring user data remains private.
  • Cons: Some VPNs can reduce internet speeds, and not all are free. It’s crucial to select a reputable VPN service.

Third-party streaming websites

While there are numerous third-party websites that offer streaming of TV shows, it’s vital to approach them with caution.

  • Legality: Accessing copyrighted content without appropriate permissions can be illegal in many jurisdictions. Always ensure you’re streaming from legitimate sources.
  • Security Risks: These sites might contain malware or phishing schemes. Always ensure your device has updated security software and avoid downloading anything from suspicious sites.

Top Scottish TV Programs to Start With


  • Outlander: An epic tale of love, history, and time travel, this series based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels has captured the hearts of viewers worldwide. Set against the breathtaking landscapes of Scotland, it provides a visual and narrative feast.
  • Shetland: A crime drama series set in the remote Scottish Shetland Isles, it delves into the complexities of tight-knit communities, secrets, and stunning landscapes.
  • Line of Duty: While not exclusively Scottish, this crime drama has been hugely popular in Scotland. It revolves around police officers in an anti-corruption unit.

News Segments

  • Reporting Scotland: A staple for many Scots, this BBC Scotland news program covers the day’s major events, both within Scotland and internationally.
  • Scotland Tonight: Broadcasted on STV, it’s a current affairs program that delves into the major issues affecting Scotland, often featuring interviews with key figures.


  • Scots in China: This BBC Scotland documentary follows Scots living and working in China, reflecting on the ties between the two nations and the challenges and rewards of life abroad.
  • The River: Focusing on the River Clyde, this documentary delves into its historical significance and the lives of those who reside by it.

Entertainment and Culture

  • Still Game: A comedy series that provides a humorous take on the lives of two elderly Scots, Jack and Victor, as they navigate the challenges and joys of old age.
  • Travels in Euroland with Ed Balls: Former UK politician Ed Balls travels through Europe, including a memorable journey through Scotland, offering insights into the continent’s diverse cultures and issues.

Technical Considerations

Internet Speed Recommendations

To enjoy a smooth streaming experience without interruptions, the following are the recommended internet speeds for different types of content:

  • Standard Definition (SD): A minimum of 3 Mbps.
  • High Definition (HD): Between 5-8 Mbps for good quality. For 1080p HD, a minimum of 8 Mbps is advisable.
  • Ultra High Definition (4K): 25 Mbps or higher.

It’s worth noting that these are the speeds needed per device. So, if multiple devices are streaming simultaneously, you’d need to combine the recommended speeds to get the best experience.

Device Compatibility

The device you choose to stream on can affect your viewing experience. Here’s what you need to know:

  • PC or Laptop: Most streaming platforms and official websites are accessible via popular web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Ensure you have the latest updates for optimal performance.
  • Mobile Devices (Smartphones & Tablets): Many Scottish TV broadcasters have dedicated apps for both Android and iOS. Always download apps from the official App Store or Google Play Store to ensure authenticity and security.
  • Smart TVs: Depending on the brand and model, Smart TVs may have apps like BBC iPlayer or STV Player pre-installed, or available for download from their app store.
  • Streaming Devices: Gadgets like Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, and Apple TV can host several streaming apps. They often offer a more intuitive user interface and might enhance the overall viewing experience.
  • Gaming Consoles: Platforms like PlayStation and Xbox also support various streaming apps, turning your gaming console into an entertainment hub.

Geographical Restrictions

As previously mentioned, some content may be restricted based on your geographical location. While VPNs are a solution, it’s crucial to understand the terms of service of the streaming platform. Some platforms may have policies against the use of VPNs and could limit or terminate your access if detected.

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