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.
Do All UK TV Channels Block Access from Outside the UK or just BBC iPlayer ?
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 detections 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 My 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 all over the world so there is a method !
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 BBC iPlayer to watch live or the archive.
Which is best for BBC iPlayer – Proxy or VPN
Unfortunately now it has to be a VPN service as all the major media companies including BBC iPlayer have figured out how to block access from a proxy server automatically. This is unfortunate because there are 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 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 – it’s 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.
So there are 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 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 – most of the times they can’t unblock BBC iPlayer either!
Will Any VPN service work – 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.
What About TV Sites in Other Countries
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.
Click their Logo above to see their latest deals.