BBC iPlayer is a popular British streaming service. Unfortunately, its content is available only for people in the UK. So, to enjoy it, you’ll need to have a UK IP address. You’ll need a UK account as well. Obviously, that’s not physically possible for residents of any other country.
There is some good news, though. Thanks to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks,) people can now watch BBC iPlayer in the USA and abroad. All you have to do is install a VPN on your router or computer, connect to British servers, create an account on BBC iPlayer, and then enjoy your shows.
Quick guide on how to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA
To unblock BBC iPlayer in the USA, you’ll have to use a VPN, which is not at all complicated. If you haven’t used one before, follow the steps listed below.
Here is how to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA:
- Choose a VPN to overcome BBC iPlayer’s geo-restrictions. We recommend NordVPN, now 65% OFF! We used it to watch BBC iPlayer and and it worked perfectly.
- Install and set up the VPN service on your device
- Choose a British server and connect to it
- Go to BBC iPlayer’s website and create an account.
- Grab your favorite snacks and enjoy BBC iPlayer.
Once you go through all these steps, you can access all the geo-restricted content that the BBC iPlayer offers.
Why do you need a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer?
BBC iPlayer use is restricted to UK residents, meaning that you can watch it only as long as you have a UK IP address. So, if you live anywhere outside the UK, the content on BBC iPlayer will not be available to you.
For instance, if you visit BBC iPlayer from anywhere else than the UK and click on a title, this message will pop up at the top of your screen:
“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”
Fortunately, there is a way for you to bypass this BBC iPlayer error by installing a VPN. The VPN will change your IP address and BBC iPlayer will see that your device is actually located in the UK.
How to sign up for BBC iPlayer
The BBC iPlayer signup process is as simple as with any other streaming service. Here is what you have to do to sign up for BBC iPlayer:
- Go to BBC iPlayer’s website, and click on the Sign in button in the left top corner of the homepage.
- Since you don’t have an account, you have to click on the Register Now button at the bottom.
- Select your age group
- Provide BBC iPlayer with your date of birth
- You have to provide an email address and create a password for your account. Country and postal code are required as well. You can find several postal codes online. I used the one for London.
- Once you finish filling in the blanks, click on the Register button, and you’ll receive a verification email. You’re pretty much done by this point.
How to download and watch BBC iPlayer on your device
The BBC iPlayer download and installation process are not at all challenging. However, they differ from one device to the other. Consequently, I’m going to share how to download and watch BBC iPlayer on the most popular devices.
Watch BBC iPlayer on Windows & Mac
If you plan on watching a BBC iPlayer on a device that runs on Windows 10 or a Mac, you don’t have to install anything because you can use your browser. Here is how to watch BBC iPlayer on Windows 10 and Mac:
- Download a VPN on your computer (we recommend NordVPN).
- Install the VPN and choose a British server
- Go to bbc.co.uk
- Provide your email address and password to sign in
- Choose a title and enjoy
Watch BBC iPlayer on Android
Suppose you want to download and watch BBC iPlayer on an Android device. Here are the steps you must follow:
- Download a VPN and install it on your router or a laptop that can create a mobile hotspot (we recommend NordVPN for Android users)
- Change your IP address to a British IP address
- Connect your Android device to your Wi-Fi network or the mobile hotspot you created
- Go to your Google Play app.
- Download and install the BBC iPlayer app
- Open the BBC iPlayer app and insert your login credentials
Note: it does not matter when you download and install the BBC iPlayer app – before or after installing a VPN. All that matters is that you watch your shows after you install a reputable VPN.
Watch BBC iPlayer on iOS (iPad, iPhone)
The process of downloading and watching BBC iPlayer on iOS devices is similar to Android, except for a few things. The steps are as follows:
- Download and install a VPN on your router or laptop (for iOS users, we recommend NordVPN)
- Choose a British IP address from the provided list
- Connect your iPad/iPhone to your router/mobile hotspot
- Go to AppStore
- Download and install the BBC iPlayer
- Sign in and watch your favorite shows
Watch BBC iPlayer on Roku
To watch BBC iPlayer on Roku, you need the BBC iPlayer app. You can find it in Roku’s Channel Store. Keep in mind that you must have a Roku UK account as well.
Here are the steps you must follow to watch BBC iPlayer on Roku in the USA:
- Reset your Roku device
- Set up a VPN on your router (we recommend NordVPN)
- Connect to a UK server
- Connect the Roku device to your TV and sign in using your UK account
- Access Roku’s Channel Store, find the BBC iPlayer player app and install it
- After the installation is complete, open it and sign in using your BBC iPlayer credentials
Note: Once you install a VPN on your router, make sure to connect Roku to that specific router. Otherwise, the BBC iPlayer will not give you access to its content.
Watch BBC iPlayer on Amazon Fire Stick
If you have an Amazon Firestick, know that you can watch BBC iPlayer in the USA. You can get the app directly from Amazon, and the installation process is straightforward.
Here’s what you have to do to watch BBC iPlayer on an Amazon Firestick:
- Turn on your Firestick and click on the Apps from Unknown Sources. Make sure that it’s on. The option is located under Settings > Device > Developer Options
- If you don’t have the Downloader app, you must download and install it.
- Download a VPN, we recommend NordVPN
- Open your VPN and choose a UK server
- Restart the Amazon Firestick if you turned on the Apps from Unknown Sources setting
- Search the BBC iPlayer app and install it
- Launch the BBC iPlayer app and insert your login credentials
Note: you may need to create a UK Amazon account to watch BBC iPlayer on an Amazon Firestick. That’s not always the case, as some users claim, but it’s sometimes necessary. I recommend you do it right off the bat to avoid any inconveniences.
Watch BBC iPlayer on Chromecast
To cast BBC iPlayer shows to your Chromecast device, you can use the BBC iPlayer app on your Android or iOS device or the Chrome browser on a laptop or desktop on which you enabled the Chromecast extension.
Here is what you have to do to watch BBC iPlayer on Chromecast in the USA using an Android or iOS device:
- Download and install a VPN (our recommendation is NordVPN)
- Choose a server in the UK
- Open the BBC iPlayer on your device
- Find a title, open it, and wait for the cast icon to appear
- Click on the cast icon, and you should be able to watch your show on your TV
Now, if you want to cast from a laptop or desktop computer, you need to do the following:
- Download and install a VPN, we recommend NordVPN
- Choose a server in the UK
- Enable the Chromecast extension. If you don’t have it, download and install it
- Go to bbc.co.uk and sign in
- Choose a title and click on the cast icon
Note: Make sure that the device you use to cast BBC iPlayer and the Chromecast device are connected to the same router (on which you installed a VPN.)
Watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV
When you want to watch BBC iPlayer on your Apple TV in the USA, you’re required to change the App Store region to the UK. That’s because the BBC iPlayer is not available for an Apple TV in the US. As a result, you have to download the app from the UK.
The steps you need to follow to watch BBC iPlayer on an Apple TV in the USA are as follows:
- Connect your Apple TV to your TV
- Open the Region section in the device’s settings. Go to General > Region
- Select the UK and provide all the necessary details
- Go to the AppStore, look for the BBC iPlayer app, and download it
- Download and install a VPN on your router (We recommend NordVPN)
- Connect the Apple TV to the router on which you installed the VPN
- Open the BBC iPlayer app and sign in
Watch BBC iPlayer on smart TVs
To watch BBC iPlayer on a smart TV in the USA, you have to do the following:
- Change the region of your smart TV from the USA to the UK. If you need instructions on how to do that, visit the official website of your TV’s brand.
- Download and install a VPN (We recommend NordVPN)
- Connect your smart TV to the router on which you installed the VPN
- Look for the BBC iPlayer app and add it to your list of channels
- Open the BBC TV app, sign in, and enjoy your TV shows
How to watch BBC iPlayer outside UK
If you want to learn how to watch BBC iPlayer abroad the UK, you’ll find this section most helpful. People from all over the world want to have access to this streaming service. I’ll show you how to do that.
Watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere
With a VPN, BBC iPlayer is accessible anywhere. Whether you want to watch BBC iPlayer from Canada, Australia, or other countries in Europe, such as Germany, France, Spain, etc., all you have to do is follow these 4 simple steps:
- Download and install a VPN on your router or your computer. We recommend NordVPN
- Open the VPN app on your device
- Choose a server from the UK from the provided list
- Open your BBC iPlayer app or go to bbc.co.uk to watch your favorite show.
Note: The process described above differs depending on the device on which you want to watch BBC iPlayer. Please refer to previous sections for more details.
Best VPN services for BBC iPlayer
Looking for the best VPN services for BBC iPlayer may be difficult considering that there are so many options to filter through. However, there are a few characteristics that you should always go for in a decent VPN provider.
Here’s what you should look for in a VPN:
- Unblocks BBC iPlayer and other streaming services
- Uses innovative technology that ensures high internet speeds
- Provides reliable security features
- Doesn’t log any information that can be traced back to you
- It’s compatible with all major operating systems
- You can use it on multiple devices at once
While there are multiple VPN services that meet the criteria listed above, I recommend three of the best VPN services for BBC iPlayer: NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN.
With over 5500 servers in 59 countries, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA and abroad. It unblocks virtually all streaming services. Thanks to its innovative technology called NordLynx, you should still enjoy fast internet speed.
NordVPN can be used on six devices simultaneously, and it supports all major devices, such as Windows, Linux, Android, macOS, and iOS. If you cannot install a VPN directly on your device, you can use NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature. The prices start at $4.13/month, and the purchase comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Suppose you’re looking for a more affordable VPN to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA. In that case, Surfshark might be precisely what you’re looking for. It has approximately 3200 servers in more than 60 countries, and the prices start at just $2.49/month.
Unlike NordVPN, Surfshark can be used on unlimited devices. All major operating systems are supported, such as macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android. With its new tunneling protocol called WireGuard, Surfshark ensures fast internet connections. If you’re not satisfied with the services, this VPN provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers in 90 countries, making it perfect for watching BBC iPlayer in the USA. It unblocks all major streaming services, and it provides excellent internet speed so that you can watch your shows with no buffering.
The only drawback to ExpressVPN is its prices, which are pretty high compared with the competition. Plans start at $8.32/month, but your subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Like the other two examples, ExpressVPN supports Windows, Linux, Android, macOS, and iOS.
Cannot access BBC iPlayer with a VPN?
From time to time, it may happen to connect to BBC iPlayer and encounter an error message. If you’re already using a VPN and you still cannot watch BBC iPlayer in the USA, chances are that you need a better VPN provider for streaming, such as NordVPN, for instance.
There are several common problems that people encounter. First and foremost, if you get an error message telling you that BBC iPlayer only works in the UK, it means that your VPN is not working, and you’re still connected to a server in the US. To fix this issue, check if your VPN is running. If it does, it means you need a more reliable VPN.
Apart from the error message depicted above, here are some of the most common issues you can encounter while trying to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA:
- BBC blacklisted the servers used by your VPN.
- The GPS location of your device and the IP address are not the same.
- BBC iPlayer upgraded its geo-blocking protocols, and your VPN is not working anymore.
- Your actual IP address is leaking.
- You have BBC iPlayer cookies on your device that let BBC know you’re not in the UK.
- The VPN you’re using is not capable of unblocking BBC iPlayer.
Here are a few solutions to the issues listed above:
- Try a different browser and clear your cookies.
- Contact your VPN’s customer support and check if the server you’re using unblocks the streaming services you need. Not all of them can.
- Search your VPN’s leak protection setting and enable it.
- If none of the above solutions work, you should change your VPN provider.
How to watch BBC iPlayer for Free?
While it is possible to watch BBC iPlayer for free, free VPNs are rarely a good choice. You can find entirely free VPNs online, as well as freemium VPNs. Still, I don’t recommend using either one of them.
Completely free VPNs are questionable at first. Their funds come from selling tracked data and ads, and they slow down your internet connection. Freemiums are free versions offered by some paid VPNs. Not all of them provide a free plan. They are slightly better than free VPNs, but they come with a data cap and don’t unblock all major streaming services. One of the most decent freemiums you can find online is Windscribe, which has a data cap of 10GB per month.
Best streaming service alternatives for BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer is a popular streaming service in the UK. If you don’t live there, the best streaming service alternatives for BBC iPlayer are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and the list goes on.
Netflix is a streaming service accessible from all around the world. However, its library differs from one continent to the other. For instance, the US library is the most extensive. Even so, installing a VPN will give you access to it from anywhere in the world.
Hulu is yet another streaming service that geo-blocks its content. Only US residents have access to it. Once again, you can access it from anywhere as long as you install a VPN.
HBO Max is the same as Hulu. It streams only in the USA. The only way to access it outside the US is to download and install a VPN.
What can you watch on BBC iPlayer?
BBC iPlayer includes multiple channels, and they’re as follows:
- BBC One (Live Stream)
- Radio 1
- BBC Two
- BBC Four
- BBC News
- BBC Three
- BBC Scotland
- BBC Parliament
- BBC Alba
Most popular BBC titles:
- Line of Duty
- The Great British Sewing Bee
- Glow-Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star
- Call the Midwife
- The Syndicate
- Bent Coppers: Crossing the Line of Duty
- Holby City
- The Detectives: Fighting Organized Crime
- All That Glitters: Britain’s Next Jewelry Star
- Keeping Faith
- The Man with the Iron Heart
More VPN guides from CyberNews:
Can I watch BBC iPlayer abroad?
Yes, you can watch BBC iPlayer abroad. All you have to do is download and install a VPN on your router or computer. We recommend NordVPN because it’s reliable and won’t slow down your internet connection.
Is it illegal to use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer?
No, it’s not illegal to use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer. However, using a VPN is against BBC iPlayer’s Terms of Service. Even so, that doesn’t make it illegal. The worst that can happen is for BBC to suspend your account if you’re caught using a VPN.
How do I make a BBC iPlayer account outside the UK?
Creating an account outside the UK is not at all complicated. Go to bbc.co.uk to sign up for a new account. However, make sure to insert the United Kingdom in the field where it says Country. You must also find a UK postal code online.
How can BBC iPlayer know I’m not in the UK?
BBC iPlayer knows you’re not in the UK because you don’t have a British IP address. However, if you install a VPN and change your IP to a British IP, the problem goes away. BBC iPlayer won’t know you’re watching from another country.
Will BBC iPlayer know that I have a VPN?
BBC iPlayer invested many resources in avoiding VPN use and can sometimes detect it. If that happens, the servers are blacklisted, and the VPN can no longer unblock the content. However, BBC iPlayer cannot detect VPNs such as NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN, etc.
Is BBC iPlayer free?
Yes, BBC iPlayer is free. However, if you want to watch BBC iPlayer from the USA, you need to purchase a VPN subscription. While there are free VPNs out there, chances are they won’t work or come with a data cap.