How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad – FAQ Enjoy BBC TV Anywhere

Can You Watch BBC iPlayer abroad in 2024 ?

Definitely, you can although you will have to hide your real location and pretend that you’re actually in the UK and not somewhere else ! All the information you need about watching the BBC anywhere in the world is below which includes a video demonstration.

Streaming BBC iPlayer from outside the UK

This is a simple page with some of the questions that commonly get asked about watching BBC iPlayer abroad. It’s presented in simple bullet points but you’ll find the answers covered in more details elsewhere on the site.  So please feel free to ask for clarifications or more information if you need it.

Of course, the main question is Can I Watch BBC iPlayer abroad. The answer to that is categorically YES, and you can read exactly how anyone can watch iPlayer in the following sections.

Can You Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad

Do All UK TV Channels Block Access from Outside the UK or just BBC iPlayer ?

Yes, certainly all the major channels like BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and 5 block access. Also you can’t access paid TV such as BT TV, Sky GO and Now TV outside the UK even if you have a valid subscription. The reason is mostly due to copyright restrictions on the content that they stream. Lots of channels only license programmes to broadcast to the United Kingdom – to broadcast worldwide would require additional fees. Although technically this shouldn’t affect their own content to which they own the distribution rights.

Why Does BBC iPlayer Block Users from Abroad?

It’s a combination of rights issues, that the companies only have broadcasting rights linked to a specific country. However as these companies create a large amount of their own content, then the main reason is money. Restricting viewers to the UK means that the BBC can license their programmes to other companies and they can be sold in other countries. Having the facility to access BBC iPlayer anywhere in the world through their own application would be very expensive.

How does the BBC and other Media Companies Enforce the Block?

There are a few variations depending on which media company but primarily it’s based on the location of your IP address. When you connect to the internet you are assigned a unique network number (the IP address), the company looks up the ‘nationality’ of this address and blocks if it’s not from the UK. The BBC has invested heavily in the last few years to improve their detection systems, even to the point that they can also block some of the workarounds too! The BBC is not alone in this and virtually evert major streaming service operates a very similar block too.

Can I Change and Get a BBC iPlayer IP Address somehow?

I’m afraid this is virtually impossible. IP addresses are allocated by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and will always be registered in your own country. You are stuck with the IP address you are allocated with (unless you own an ISP!). However as you know millions do watch BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub all over the world so there is a method !

Local Versus Internet IP Address

It’s important to remember when talking about IP addresses in this context that you realise most devices will effectively have two! The first IP address is normally allocated locally either directly configured on each device or assigned through a Wifi access point or router. This is a private IP address and is mainly responsible for ensuring you can connect to devices on your local network e.g. broadband routers, printers etc.  It can’t be seen outside your local network – they are often assigned to things like  by default on your internet devices.

The ‘important IP address’ is called the public or internet address and will be assigned to you by whatever service is enabling your internet access. Normally this is an Internet service provider(ISP) who is providing the gateway to the internet directly or through a company, cafe, library or wherever you’re getting online. This is the address used to locate your position and is not directly under your control.

How Do People Access UK TV Abroad Then?

The primary method is by hiding their real IP address and displaying a UK one instead. This is done by connecting through an intermediate server based in the UK. This relays all your data, hiding your real location and allowing access to all UK only sites. Even if you’re outside the UK your connection will actually appear to be British.

What are these Intermediate Servers Called?

There are two main types – proxy and VPN (Virtual Private Network) servers. These can relay data automatically and additionally the VPN creates a secure, encrypted tunnel which protects your data too. People now mainly use a VPN for to watch BBC iPlayer in Italy or other countries..

Which is best for BBC iPlayer – Proxy or VPN

Although it’s the specific IP address that’s important – it’s definitely easier to detect a proxy rather than a VPN. Potentially you can use both but it’s much safer to use a VPN service as all the major media companies including BBC iPlayer have figured out methods of detecting many proxies sometimes even automatically. This is unfortunate because you can still find many free proxy servers available online, whereas the vast majority of VPN services are paid.

Can I See a VPN Actually Work ?

Absolutely, here’s a video showing how any one can watch BBC iPlayer from outside Britain by using a VPN.

As you can see after investing in a VPN you can effectively watch BBC iPlayer free of charge plus all the other online UK TV channels too. The one we use in this demonstration is called NordVPN. This software is carefully chosen for two main criteria –  its a working BBC iPlayer VPN and it’s cheap !!

How do I download BBC iPlayer app outside UK?

Simple, just ensure you enable your VPN and connect to a UK server before attempting the download. If you’re using NordVPN  then they have separate apps for all different devices so make sure you install it on your devices too. You should make sure your device settings are set to the UK too as these are sometimes used to block download of the application too.

Do I Need a UK TV Licence?

When you start using BBC iPlayer it won’t be long until you see this screen asking if you have a UK TV license.

It’s not a problem though as if you answer ‘Yes’ then that’s all that is required. There’s no further checks or licence numbers required. Which is just as well as it’s not possible to buy a UK TV license outside the UK in any case !

So Can I Watch BBC TV abroad free? Are there Free VPN services?

Not many but there are a couple. They cover their costs/make profits in two ways, you should check carefully before using. First is to inject advertising and banners into your browser and computer which pays them commission. The second method is using some of your bandwidth to support a premium subscription. This involves other people effectively browsing through your own internet connection, I’d advise heavily against using these services as most of the times they can’t unblock BBC iPlayer either!

Will Any VPN service work on my device there’s loads of them!

A couple of years ago, technically as long as they have a server based in the UK, and you connect through that then they would work.  However lately the BBC in particular have been blocking many VPN services from accessing their service. It’s not an exact science though as the only real method is to block individual IP addresses and ranges. Fortunately the larger companies have the ability to keep rotating these addresses so will work fine.

Make sure your chosen VPN has the ability to be installed on your chosen device e.g. Windows, Mac, tablet, smart phone or Smart TV etc. Also ensure it will allow access to the BBC or whichever channels you require. If you check first then you can save yourself a lot of time and effort.

Why Can’t I Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad on Any VPN ?

There’s a few reasons but by far the most important is that the BBC blocks around 90% of IP addresses used by VPNs.  If you try and connect using one – it will usually just fail as the address is flagged as belonging to a VPN/proxy service and won’t work.  If a VPN doesn’t have an effective BBC iPlayer IP address range for it’s servers then it won’t work.

Speed is Important for Any VPN

Remember when you connect to either a VPN or proxy then you’re adding an extra step in whatever network request you make. So a simple web request will be first routed through to your VPN server before continuing it’s journey. It’s the same for the reply which is also routed through the VPN in order to protect your location and privacy.

An extra step in any journey is bound to take longer especially from far away like Australia so it’s vital that the additional server is as quick as possible. A really slow VPN server can add seconds to every request, in fact the really overloaded free ones can even add minutes ! Obviously this can be frustrating especially in the case

What About TV Sites/Content in Other Countries

When you’re happily able to stream BBC One abroad – don’t let it stop there!  There’s way more value you can get out of that VPN service.  To watch channels like Hulu and NBC from outside the US or M6 Replay outside France you just change country. Indeed there are thousands of these restricted channels all over the world. As long as your chosen VPN service has a server in that country then you’ll be able to start watching straight away. Most of the best VPN services have servers all over the world, don’t subscribe to one that has only a couple of countries. Or even worse charges you an extra fee to use different servers in other countries.

Which are the Best VPN Services for UK TV Abroad?

In reality there’s only a few that work reliably, and the best way its to test them yourself. Here’s a couple of things to look out for:

  • Don’t Use a Company that advertises itself as TV watching services, they’ll get blocked or taken down.
  • Be careful of very cheap companies, they’re cheap as they overload the servers and provide minimal support.
  • BBC have blocked thousands of servers – find one with a money back guarantee so you can test it out first.

Our recommendation is the biggest player in the VPN field – Nord VPN which has reliably been allowing people to watch BBC One and all the other channels for many years. What’s great is that it’s one of the cheapest too. Give them a go, they have a simple money back guarantee for 30 days if you have problems.

VPN for BBC iPlayer

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So Can You Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad in 2023

It’s still perfectly possible to enjoy all of the UK Television channels including BBC iPlayer with very little effort in 2023. Although many VPN services have been blocked by the BBC the best ones like NordVPN actively ensure that you can still access the best UK TV sites using their British servers. Believe me, all over the world people are able to enjoy BBC One streaming abroad without any problems at all. It’s just finding a decent VPN that works, there’s only a few which still do so check them out before subscribing.