How to watch Wimbledon 2019 for free: TV, online, mobile, 4K

How to watch Wimbledon 2019 for free: online, mobile, 4K

Pimm's, strawberries and cream at the ready - the 2019 Wimbledon Championships is nearly upon us.

Andy Murray may only be competing in the Men’s Doubles this year, but look at how well Jo Konta did getting to the semi-finals at the French Open, eh? Djokovic will be out to defend his title at the All England Club, while fan favourite Federer will look to claim his ninth Wimbledon. With Rafa having just bagged his 12th French Open, we hope to see a lot of him in Womble HQ, too. 

If, like the What Hi-Fi? team, you can’t wait for the fortnight-long SW19 action to begin on Monday 1st July (through to Men's Singles Finals Day on Sunday 14th), you've come to the right place. No matter where you are in the world, whom you're supporting, which device you’re using, and what resolution you plan to eye up those perfectly-turfed lawns in, there's a broadcaster or free online live stream out there for your viewing pleasure...

How to watch Wimbledon 2019 in 4K 

The big question: will Wimbledon 2019 be shown in 4K? We have every finger, toe and strand of hair crossed that it will be.

Last year, the BBC aired the Wimbledon championships in 4K (or Ultra HD) resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) to UK viewers for the first time – a continuation of its 4K trial coverage of last summer's FIFA World Cup. 

The 4K broadcasts could be accessed by anyone with a compatible 4K TV and fast internet connection simply by opening the BBC iPlayer app. The BBC offered each 4K stream on a "first-come first-served" basis to "tens of thousands of people", a limit it put in place to help deal with the extra bandwidth the higher resolution required.

The BBC also gave Sky Q 2TB customers access to its 4K Wimbledon coverage (though not HDR), but limited it to the men's and ladies' singles semi-final and final matches. Interestingly, Sky Q's broadcast was delivered via satellite rather than the internet. Virgin TV also provided the finals to Virgin V6/Full House customers via Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 HD channels.

The Beeb received over 1.6m requests to watch either the 2018 World Cup or Wimbledon 2018 in UHD and HDR - so the demand is certainly there. After such a positive and successful trial last year, we'd hope the 4K UHD coverage will feature on the BBC iPlayer menu in 2019 - not least as the British broadcaster's 4K production has since improved.

With the tournament just around the corner, we'd expect such an announcement in the next week or two.

And what about Wimbledon in HD?

The BBC has UK TV broadcasting rights to the tournament throughout its duration from Monday 1st July to Sunday 14th July, and will show it in both SD and HD.

The BBC's Wimbledon coverage is across BBC One and BBC Two, as well as the HD versions of those channels. On Freeview, BBC One HD and BBC Two HD is channel 101 and 102 respectively. On Sky, that's channel 115 and 802 respectively. 

Show court play starts daily at 1pm BST (that's 8am ET, 5am PT or 2pm in most of Europe) on show courts, with the women's final scheduled for 2pm BST on Saturday 13th July, and the men's final slated for 2pm BST on Sunday 14th.

While the two hero BBC channels will show what it deems the most enticing game at that time, coverage of all 18 courts will be televised from 11am each day - so don't forget that the red button is at your disposal if you're after a specific match on an outside court. (Top tip: Mansour Bahrami has the best trick shots on the tour.) 

How to watch Wimbledon online, on mobile

You'll need a TV license and a UK IP address (or VPN if you're abroad - more on this later), but if you're in Blighty and legally watching a TV at home, BBC iPlayer is your one-stop shop for mobile, laptop and tablet streaming. You can watch through the web player or download the app.

Last year, Eurosport subscribers as well as Amazon Prime customers could also watch highlights of the action online. 

True Wimbledon junkies can always get that extra fix with the Wimbledon YouTube channel, too, which features interviews and plenty of behind-the-scenes footage of the days' action. 

How to watch Wimbledon in the US

For US viewers, Wimbledon will be broadcast across ESPN, ESPN 2 and the Tennis Channel.

ESPN coverage will start at 6am ET/3am PT each day during the first week of play, while ESPN2 will also air the second-week matches. You can expect a 9am ET/6am PT Men's Final on Sunday 14 July, too. 

ESPN subscribers can watch on the WatchESPN app or through the US major platforms such as Hulu, Playstation Vue, Sling, YouTube TV, DirecTV Now and Sling TV.

Similarly, the Tennis Channel is available not only through its own app, but also via Amazon, Roku and Apple video streamers as well as most major cable and satellite platforms in the US.

Sadly, there are no confirmed 4K broadcasts of Wimbledon 2019 in the US.

How to watch Wimbledon abroad using a VPN

Trying to access either UK or US streams of the game from abroad is a problem. These services know your location based on your IP address, and will automatically block your access to the game – even if you’re a national of one of these countries.

So, you’ll need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to help you get around this obstacle. A VPN creates a private connection between your device and the internet, such that the servers and services you’re accessing aren’t aware of what you’re doing. All the information passing back and forth is entirely encrypted.

VPNs are as useful for banking as they are at trying to watch video content or access websites that people in your location are not supposed to do. So, whether you want to watch Roger Federer's attempting to gain his record ninth Wimbledon title, enjoy another country’s Netflix library or just keep your browsing data private, then they’re well worth considering.

There are many VPN providers out there, with some more reliable and safe than others. As a rule, we’d suggest a paid-for service and would recommend the following:

- NordVPN

Which comes in at as little as £2.29 per month and features 24/7 assistance

- ExpressVPN

Has a free 3 month trial (which should be enough even if the Great British weather is decidedly un-great) and brings VPN access to smart devices including the Amazon Fire TV Stick, laptops, TVs and both Android and iOS mobiles and tablets.

Once you’ve made your choice, all you need to do is sign in to your VPN service through whichever device you’d like to use to watch the match coverage. When prompted to select a server, you need to pick one which is based in the country whose content you’d like to access. Then navigate to the relevant video streaming app or website and you’re in. Aces!

So, there’s no reason to miss a minute with so many ways to tune in for free (or nearly free). With any luck it’s going to be a cracking tournament and we look forward to seeing which tennis aces will walk away from Centre Court holding the trophies.