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On Sunday, new legislation comes into effect that makes it easier to watch streaming services wherever you are in Europe. It's called 'cross-border portability of online content services', but don't let the dull name put you off – it means easier access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and more when you travel.

We've rounded up all you need to know below. Read on, and happy streaming!

1 Stream all over Europe

Now TV Smart Stick remote control

The new law lets you watch your online streaming services when on holiday in Europe as easily as you can at home. That means no pesky copyright rules stopping you from watching something just because you've travelled to a different time zone.

It won't cost you any more, either. New roaming rules came into effect last June that mean you'll pay domestic rates for internet access when travelling in Europe. So this move sees the streaming legislation being brought in line.

It's part of the EU's Digital Single Market initiative. This is designed to help digital businesses thrive across Europe by breaking down barriers to access, such as European copyright law, geo-blocking and telecoms rules.

2 It applies to all EU Member States

netflix devices

The initiative is Europe-wide, so covers all 28 Member States. These include Austria, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Poland, France, Germany, Hungary and Sweden (you can see a full list here). Which is good news for anyone going on holiday to any of those destinations.

It doesn't only apply to video streaming, either. It covers streaming services that offer films, sports, ebooks, video games and music, so covers the likes of Spotify and Amazon Kindle Unlimited, too.

However, no one knows what will happen after Brexit. Chances are, us Brits will be excluded from the initiative. But in the meantime, there's about of year of free Europe-wide streaming to be had. Just don't get too used to it.

3 iPlayer isn't included

iplayer tablet phone

The initiative is mandatory for services like Netflix, Now TV and Amazon Prime Video. These will verify your country of residence by your payment details, internet contract or by checking your IP address. They have to abide by the new rules, but for the likes of BBC iPlayer, it's a different story.

Free services like iPlayer, and those of other public service broadcasters, don't have to get on board. And, a BBC spokesperson confirmed to us, iPlayer won't, at least at first.

"We are interested in being able to allow UK licence fee payers to access BBC iPlayer while they are on holiday, and welcome the EU regulation to help make this feasible," the spokesperson told us. "There are complex technical issues to resolve which we are investigating and it will be dependent on what legislation is in effect in the UK in the future."

So watch this space.

You can still download shows on iPlayer and take them abroad. But you'll have to remember to do so before leaving the UK.

All 4 (Channel 4's streaming service) also won't be providing portability, so you can't watch it abroad. Subscribers to ITV Hub+ (ITV's paid-for, ad-free streaming service) can watch in Europe, but not anyone using the standard ITV Hub.

We've asked Channel 5 whether My5 will be included in the initiative. We'll update this if we hear back.

4 It reflects changing internet use

netflix iOS app

According to the EU, the initiative reflects how we Europeans enjoy our entertainment. In 2016, 64 per cent of Europeans surveyed used the internet to play or download games, images, films or music, and they did so increasingly using their mobile devices.

Half of all young people surveyed thought that it was important to be able to access their streaming services while travelling in Europe.

This is borne out by research done closer to home. According to Now TV, nearly half of Brits admit that they miss TV so much when abroad that they resort to watching foreign channels they don't understand. A whopping 30 per cent of 18-34-year-olds have missed a trip or changed their holiday dates so they don't miss a TV show or sports match, while one in six men spend hours walking from bar to bar in search of sports coverage.

"The EU's introduction of new portability rules for online content services from 1st April is great news for TV lovers everywhere," said Gidon Katz, MD of Now TV. "Now TV research shows 59 per cent of Brits long for their favourite show when they're abroad, so we're thrilled they'll now be able to take Now TV on holiday with them, via streaming stick, tablet or smartphone, and watch their favourite telly from their sun loungers."

Now TV isn't the only fan. Amazon Prime Video is keen on it too.

"We have been a strong proponent for this EU Portability Regulation change which will directly benefit customers, allowing members access to stream the digital content they subscribed to at home, like movies and TV shows from Prime Video and songs from Amazon Music, when they’re travelling in the EU," said Jay Marine, vice president of Amazon Prime Video Europe.

5 It comes into effect on 1st April

That's Easter Sunday. But it's no April Fool.

That means you'll be able to stream your favourite TV shows and films while on your holidays this summer. Just remember to try and take in some of the local scenery too...

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  • Dave Beck 9 months ago EU portability streaming law:... Netflix already provide a service if the country has a Netflix service. My UK Netflix account works for US...
  • Robert KołOdziej 9 months ago EU portability streaming law:... Netflix, for example, detects and blocks VPN. Tried it and failed just before Easter when we were abroad....
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