How to Watch BBC iPlayer in USA – Unblock outside UK

“Can I get BBC iPlayer outside the UK?” It’s a question we get asked a lot by our British readers who work abroad or are spending their hard-earned vacation overseas.

Unfortunately, iPlayer’s exquisite lineup of series, movies, and documentaries is geo-blocked outside the UK due to copyright issues.

Therefore, if you’re living or traveling abroad, you’re going to miss out on a lot. However, there are a couple of tools you can use to bypass geo-restrictions.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to unblock BBC iPlayer and stream your favorite shows no matter where you are with a VPN and a Smart DNS proxy.

BBC iPlayer Abroad – Quick Guide

Time needed: 5 minutes

Follow these instructions to watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world:

  1. Choose a top VPN service

    You first need to subscribe to a VPN service. Keep in mind that BBC iPlayer started banning VPN IP addresses. That is why you have to subscribe to a premium provider like ExpressVPN.

  2. Next, you must install the VPN application on your device.

    So head over to your app store and download it. VPNs are compatible with every major platform, including iOS, Android, FireStick, PC, and Mac.

  3. Once the app is successfully installed, open it and log in.

  4. Connect to a British VPN server.

    Once you open the app, you will be presented with a list of VPN servers from around the world. Choose a UK server to connect to it.

  5. Get a UK IP address.

    When the UK VPN connection is established, you will be granted a British IP address. You will now be able to surf the web as if you were in the UK.

  6. Create a BBC iPlayer account.

    If you haven’t done so already, head over to the iPlayer website and create an account. Otherwise, you will not be able to access any of the live or on-demand programs.

  7. Watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere.

    Finally, sign in to the BBC iPlayer app using the account you’ve just created. We’ve included additional steps below on how to get the BBC iPlayer on any device while abroad as well.

If the geo-error message persists, (BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues), try connecting to another UK server.

If you still can’t access the channel, then you have to choose another VPN provider.

Get ExpressVPN

Best VPN for BBC iPlayer

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How to watch BBC iPlayer outside UK for expats – My Experience

I remember when I was living in Qatar a lot of my UK expat friends used to talk about their favorite BBC soap operas, documentaries, and shows. For UK expats, it was not just about the shows. It was more about having a piece of home no matter where they were and about keeping up with local culture and news.

So I did sit together with my techie friends and looked into available solutions. We tested quite a bit of different setups and providers, but it was worth the effort as we all enjoyed BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, and CBeebies.

How to Unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK with VPN

BBC iPlayer is a great choice to watch several programs and live events completely free of charge. However, the service is only available in the United Kingdom.

If you try to watch BBC iPlayer overseas, the channel will block your access almost instantly. The only outcome you’ll get is one of the following error messages:

  • “This content is not available in your location.”
    BBC iPlayer Error 2 New
  • “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”
    BBC iPlayer Blocked
  • “This content doesn’t seem to be working.”
    BBC iPlayer Error 3
  • “This content is not currently available.”
    BBC iPlayer Error 4

A VPN is short for virtual private network, a tool that can change your online location. It allows you to connect to any server of your choice, then reroutes your internet traffic through the one that you selected.

Next, it hides your original IP address and replaces it with another one from the region of the server that you selected. So if you connect to a server from the United Kingdom, you’ll get a UK IP address.

This whole procedure will make it appear as if you were inside merry England and BBC iPlayer will have no choice but to unlock its content. Yes, it’s all very simple and just a few clicks away.

Best VPN to Watch iPlayer outside the UK

Since BBC iPlayer is cracking down on most VPN services, you must stick to the ones that still work with the streaming channel. Those include paid providers like ExpressVPN, which has excellent features and can bypass geo-blocks from anywhere. I tried it myself when I was in Qatar and it worked perfectly.

Furthermore, the company offers a Smart DNS proxy service in case your device doesn’t have a VPN client. These include gaming consoles, smart TVs, and routers.

You can also try the other options from the below list. I assure you that all of them have no problem unblocking BBC iPlayer because I’ve tested them myself. And note that Hola VPN does not work with the streaming service, nor do most free VPNs.

VPN Provider
Best VPN
  • Best for streaming and privacy
  • High speed servers in 160 VPN locations
  • Works for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu
  • 24/7/ live chat support
  • 3 extra months free on annual plan
Visit ExpressVPN Try risk-free for 30 days Read our review
Second Best VPN
  • UltraHD streaming
  • Free Smart DNS proxy
  • Unblocks all major streaming services
  • Limited Time 72% Discount
Third Best VPN
  • Unlimited VPN connections
  • Over 1000 servers
  • Ad-blocking feature available
  • User-friendly application
  • Exclusive Smart VPN feature
  • Standalone Smart DNS subscription available
  • Extra security features
  • Extensions for Firefox and Chrome
  • Split-tunneling available

How to Get BBC iPlayer in USA, Canada, or Australia with Proxies

BBC iPlayer Unblocked with VPN in USA, Australia, Canada

You can also use a Smart DNS proxy service such as Unlocator to unblock and watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK. If you prefer this method to get British TV overseas, follow these steps.

  1. Sign up with a Smart DNS proxy service that actually works with BBC iPlayer.
  2. You have to configure the Smart DNS manually on the streaming device you want to use because these proxies don’t have dedicated apps. You can use these setup guides and manuals to help you.
  3. Now, head over to BBC iPlayer and stream your favorite shows live and on-demand outside the UK.

As with VPN, there are bound to be some Smart DNS proxies that do not work well with BBC iPlayer. I have been using Unlocator for a couple of years now to unblock this service abroad on all my streaming devices. This includes my Smart TV, Roku, PS4, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android, and iOS devices.

The best thing about Unlocator is that you can subscribe to a free one-week trial period to test their service, without the need to register your credit card.

How to Create BBC iPlayer Account outside UK?

Starting Thursday, May 11th, 2017, iPlayer users will be required to register and sign up for a BBC iPlayer account in order to watch live and catch-up content on BBC. Follow the instructions below to sign up for an account in the USA, Canada, Australia, or elsewhere outside the UK.

  1. Head over to the BBC iPlayer registration page.
  2. Enter your date of birth and click ‘Next‘.
  3. Now, enter your email address and your desired password. We strongly suggest using a temporary email address instead of your real email. You can get one at Guerrilla or Airmail.
  4. For ‘country,’ choose the United Kingdom.
  5. For ‘Postcode,’ enter WC1X 0AA
  6. Under ‘Want email updates about more things you’ll love?’ choose your preferred choice.
  7. Finally, click on ‘Register‘.
  8. That’s it. You’ll soon receive an email from BBC that will allow you to verify your email address and finish the registration.

VPN vs Smart DNS Proxies

Smart DNS providers such as Unlocator Smart DNS proxy are easy to set up and can get you up and running in seconds. All you have to do is sign up and add the DNS servers to your router or device.

  • The two downsides are that you will only get the UK channels that are supported.
  • Only the relevant part of your traffic is piped to the UK which speeds up the connection but does not encrypt all your traffic. Thus, your privacy is not ensured.
  • You’ll have to use a VPN if your ISP applies DNS Hijacking or Transparent proxies as Smart DNS proxies won’t work for you.
  • See Video and Picture guides for DNS setup here. Unlocator does support around 220 sites the last time I checked their channels page and they do have a free 7-day trial period.

VPN providers such as ExpressVPN Service allow you to choose from 160 different VPN locations covering almost all countries globally, including the UK of course.

  • All your traffic will be encrypted.
  • Your ISP will NOT be able to monitor your browsing and Internet activities.
  • Setup is easy as well thanks to VPN applications you can install on PC, iOS, Android, or Mac. The downside is that your device has to support VPN. This means that your Smart TV, for example, will not work, unless you have a router that does support VPN of course.

How to Get BBC iPlayer App Abroad?

Being able to download and install the iPlayer app while overseas can be a bit tricky. The steps you need to follow differ from one platform to another. Here’s how it’s done:

In order to install the BBC app on your Xbox One or Xbox Series X, you have to change your gaming console’s region to the UK first. Follow these instructions.

To install UK apps on your PlayStation console, you need to create a British PSN Account. Here’s how you can sign up for a UK Playstation Network account.

You can easily install British apps on your iPhone or iPad overseas. You simply need to switch your App Store region to the UK first.

As is the case for iPhones and iPads, you have to change your Apple ID’s country to the UK. Otherwise, you cannot download BBC iPlayer to your Apple TV.

Essentially, you have to change your Google Play Store region to the UK. This will enable you to install British apps on your smartphone or tablet.

You’ll need a British credit card and address to set up a UK Amazon account. Then, sign in to your new account and add whatever UK-restricted channel you want on your Fire TV Stick.

Alternatively, you can sideload the BBC app to your FireStick instead.

To add British channels on your Roku device, you have to create a UK Roku account. Don’t know how? Then follow this simple guide on your Roku streaming device.

First, you must switch your Samsung Smart TV region to the UK. Then, you’ll be able to install all the UK-restricted channels you want including BBC iPlayer, ITV, Channel 4, BT Sport, and more.

BBC iPlayer Compatible Devices

You can get the BBC iPlayer app on almost all streaming platforms.

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android
  • PS3
  • PS4
  • Xbox
  • PC
  • Mac
  • Roku
  • Now TV
  • Apple TV 4
  • Chromecast
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Sony Smart TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • LG Smart TV

BBC iPlayer Overseas FAQ

We’ve tried to make the guide above as comprehensive as possible. However, there are always some additional questions that need to be answered:

How Do I Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad for Free?

Is it illegal to watch BBCiPlayer abroad?

How Does BBC iPlayer Detect My Location?

What VPNs Work with BBC iPlayer?

Why Can’t I Watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN?

How to Watch BBC iPlayer outside UK

In short, given the info above you should be able to get BBC iPlayer outside the UK using VPN or Smart DNS. if you can’t get it to work or need any more advice or help, hit the comment box below. I will reply!

76 thoughts on “How to Watch BBC iPlayer in USA – Unblock outside UK”

  1. I use express vpn and have no trouble getting player. I am able to stream everything I want to watch but when I try to download I always get the failed message DRM license failed. I am unable to download any programs from player. Help please

  2. I have tried several servers, and still getb the same message. “This content seems not to be working” It doesn’t say “not available outside the UK ” which is what I get when I am not connected to a UK server. It does seem to recognize me as in the UK. Downloads fail, and I have even tried incognito browser. Nothing works. What to do? I sent message last nigh and you syggested Hello Steve. Have you tried using a different British VPN server from within the VPN application?. Hope you can help

  3. I have had express vpn for over a year. In the last 6 months I have not been able to get iplayer programs. I just deleted my old account and registered a new one which went ok and I got accepted however when I try to stream or download I get the message “this content seems not to be working”. What am I doing wrong? I wanted to watch the wimbledon matches so I would like to get this going soon. Please Help. Thank You

  4. I gotta tell ya, I’m impressed. I happened upon your sure while searching for ways to watch iplayer in the US I got Express VPN and followed your instructions. I did have a little hiccup initially but they responded very quickly with a solution that actually worked! As I’m typing this I’m watching iplayer! Thanks a bunch.

  5. Installed ExpressVPN and registered on BBC. In order to use iPlayer I need a TV License. Otherwise, I cannot use it. Is there a way around this? Thank you

  6. I just tested it, Chrome + PureVPN, select a UK location and I can log into BBC iplayer and watch the latest episode of witless.

  7. Hi, I’m using PIA vpn, with a Southhampton, UK IP address. I registered on BBC iPlayer with Guerrilla Mail. I logged in successfully to iPlayer on kodi, but I’m still getting blocked. Any suggestions?

  8. My ISP is centurylink. My dsl modem recently quit and since using the new modem have been blocked from iplayer. I have the account and sign in and have been using tunnelbear with great success, but now in the last week with new modem I am blocked.. I hope someone can help. I also have Hidemyass vpn. neither works.

    1. I have had great success accessing all the main UK TV channels including BBC iPlayer using Unlocator. You need to be able to configure your DSL router to take full advantage.
      The only UK TV channel that I have had issues with recently is Channel 4. The Any4 app checks the timezone on your viewing device (so set it to GMT).

      1. Thanks Rob, I just tried expressvpn tonight and was still blocked. I will try again tomorrow but am not holding out any hope. If I can’t get it with expressvpn I will try unlocator.

  9. I have Cisco VPN installed on my desktop. Will this work? Where do I go to get details on how to set this up to watch Iplayer?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi there , I moved back to USA ( mid August )
      and have been able to access BBC IPlayer using android box & VPN. Until last weekend Dec 3rd since then my access has been blocked. My VPN provider is IPVanish, would love to know if anyone out there can still access IPlayer in USA ?
      What is the recipe ? Thanks Frank

  10. so i experimented.
    cleared my cookies
    got email via guerilla mail
    used that to register new account
    then on my chromebook. turned on vpn via pia app (android app) and then went to the bbc website for tv
    registered the new email
    and voila its working.

    however NOT on my iPad. using pia vpn app and tried both the iplayer app and chrome browser (same as above)… get the ‘you are blocked’
    i did delete cookies too.

    weird … but will be curious to see how long it works.

    1. BBC iPlayer access controls are odd. I access from overseas via a proxy, generally watching on Amazon Fire box. Recently, access through the Fire has been intermittently blocked – but I can watch on my laptop. And if I pause watching on the laptop, I can resume from the same point on the Fire box (and subsequently watch other material without a problem).

  11. Hi,
    My VPN (Unblock-us) which has worked for years stopped working on the 22nd of August. Can’t get it to work again…
    This is for BBC iPlayer. Anyone else having problems with BBC?

    1. My VPN (Hotspot Shield) stopped allowing me access to BBC about a month ago now after working perfectly for years . Apparently BBC are really cracking down on users watching BBC iplayer abroad and have made serval changes. They now make you have a account to watch and have somehow blacked VPNs working. Hotspot Shield have said they are working on it and will let me know

        1. I’ve tried everything and nothing works. I’m using a iPad so maybe that’s the problem. The location can be tracked too easily

    2. same for me with same service. so far been unable to resolve it and the unblock support claim to not support samsung tv and iplayer anymore. not sure what alternative there is anymore, frustrating when you pay for a years service upfront and this happens. irony is bbc only need to have a mechanism to charge ppl overseas and they would get my money no problem. instead they bleed revenue to the vpns who never quite fix it properly.

      1. Unotelly. It shows I am in London but message on screen says I am not. Suggests I turn off my VPN to watch. Contacted the server who says they are working on it.

    1. Charlie O'Connor

      My VPN (Hotspot Shield) stopped allowing me access to BBC about a week ago now. Apparently BBC are really cracking down on users watching BBC iplayer abroad and have made serval changes. They now make you have a account to watch and have somehow blacked VPNs working. Hotspot Shield have said they are working on it and will let me know. ITV is still working for me.

      1. PIA stopped working for me in both its U.K. Presences, London and Southampton approx a week ago. ITV hub still works, C4 seems off line presently but I may need to update the app.

        1. same here. PIA stopped working for iPlayer at the same time.

          i think its the logon that bbc tracks against the tv license fee list (read this on another blog)

          sad day
          hope someone comes up with a workaround

  12. I have been using Hotspot Shield for years and everything worked fine and still does apart from BBC iplayer. I have tried all the standard thing with no luck. I think the BBC have figured it out and have somehow blocked us

  13. It seems that the BBC is paying more attention to VPN users and is trying harder to block them. I haven’t tried any of these suggestions but iPlayer won’t work with either of the exit servers that my VPN provider has in the UK. The game is afoot! Let’s hope I can figure this out in time for the Doctor Who Christmas special!

    1. Charles Roswell

      What you’re saying is actually true. However, many VPN service providers do still work with BBC, including BulletVPN and ExpressVPN.

    2. I use smart dns on my iPad and have no problems with Sky catch-up or itv hub but for two days I cannot access BBC iplayer it says I am outside the UK even though the DNS is on.

      1. Charles Roswell

        Which Smart DNS service are you currently using. Unlocator had some issues with BBC iPlayer that have since been resolved.

          1. Charles Roswell

            Have you tried getting in touch with SmartDNS support? They’re the only ones who can fix this for you at the moment.

  14. Hi,
    I followed the steps above and downloaded express VPN and registered for the BBC. I have checked my IP and it says that I am in the UK. However BBC iPlayer still says that I am not in the UK? It continues to do this in both Chrome and Firefox.
    Thanks for any help.

  15. Hi William,
    I note your suggestion below which I have succesfully tried (using Express VPN), however by putting in a valid email address then this automatically links the user email address (which can be traced fly contacting Email Host etc) with the BBC & Licence Registration. So therefore not anonymous & is likely going to result in a fine. Do you have any suggestion regarding this please ?


    Starting on Thursday, May 11th, 2017, iPlayer users are now required to register and sign up for a BBC iPlayer account in order to watch live and catchup content on BBC. Follow the instructions below to sign up for an iPlayer account in USA, Canada, Australia, or elsewhere outside UK.

    Head over to the BBC iPlayer registration page.
    Enter your date of birth and click ‘Next’.
    Now, enter your email address and your desired password.
    For country, choose United Kingdom.
    For Postcode, enter WC1X 0AA
    Under ‘Want email updates about more things you’ll love?’ choose your preferred choice.
    Finally, click on ‘Register’.
    That’s it. You’ll soon receive an email from BBC that will allow you to verify your email address and finish the registration.

  16. I’ve been happily using Unlocator Smart DNS to watch BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, etc from USA on my Amazon Fire TV box. Several days ago iPlayer stopped streaming any content (Temporary unavailable message), though navigation through iPlayer app is working OK including uodating details of new content.
    Windows iPlayer works fine on a PC though.
    Other channel apps on Amazon Fire TV are streaming OK. The problem seems specific to the iPlayer app for Amazon Fire TV.
    Has anyone else hit this issue recently?

  17. I use HMA OpenVPN installed on an Asus router but am unable to receive BBC IPlayer, Keep getting an error message like Oops something appears to have gone wrong, try again later.
    G Evans

  18. I and several other people I know have a recent issue with BBC Iplayer on iPad. Downloaded programmes can now only be watched when connected to the Internet and not when offline such as on a flight. This has never been an issue before. This applies to content downloaded both in the UK and overseas via a VPN.

      1. Thank you so.much for your advice. Does anyone have any suggestions what is the best vpn or router to use in order to connect to uk tv ? What do I have to do? I have never used this before ???

        1. Well, it depends on which devices you wish to watch UK TV on in Dubai. DD-WRT and Tomato based routers are both compatible with VPN.

  19. HI I’ve been using the bbc iplayer in Abu Dhabi for a number of years now and this stopped working a few days ago. I’m using the watchingtvabroad vpn without any problems.can you help me in trying to get the BBC iplayer working again. Do you think this might be connected to the new law that is coming into effect from 1 September regarding the Tv license??


    1. Hello Sakina. No, the licensing requirement for BBC iPlayer still has not kicked in. I think it has to do with the VPN service you are using. If there are other UK VPN servers you can connect to, try them. If not, switch over to ExpressVPN or Unlocator to watch BBC iPlayer in Abu Dhabi.

  20. We’re in Qatar, and using Unlocator with Apple TV 4. We were using my bbc iplayer app and then using AirPlay to watch tv. This worked well. Today we tried setting up the bbc iplayer app on the Apple TV. This didn’t work, and now, using the bbc iplayer app on my iPad won’t work either. Any advice on how to make it work again? Thanks.

  21. I’m in the USA using Vypr VPN and recently started getting the “unavailable” message when accessing the BBC iplayer. It worked fine until about three weeks ago. I made double-sure that I was using the UK hostname. The BBC News site gave me London news as my local news, so I know it’s working that far. Clicking on the “why am I getting this message” button says iPlayer now blocks all VPNs no matter where they are. Any ideas about what to do now? Thanks!

      1. Jocelyn White

        I use unlocator and they are great. BBC changes their settings all the time looking for VPN’s and access outside of the UK. I have had a couple of issues where I was unable to access BBC iPlayer and reported it to unlocator. I have never waited more than 12 hours and they have fixed the issue! Great Customer Service and only 4.99 na month

  22. Well I to have been watching IPlayer up until this week.. how can I make sure my VPN connection thinks I’m in the UK?? Really appreciate a helping hand – I’m not that techy!

  23. Cannot get onto Iplayer anymore. Obviously the BBC have caught up with technology and have stopped allowing access all people using VPNs whether in Britain or abroad.. Are there any other ways in? Regards from Mexico

  24. iplayer seems to have changed its settings so that even with use of VPN you cannot connect. We have been enjoying iplayer through VPN for months until a few weeks ago. Any techy suggestions?

  25. Hi

    Ive been using a VPN for over a year to watch the BBC For the past few days, I can’t get access to BBC Iplayer It gives the usual warning essage saying that those outside the UK cant enter the site. I’ve tried changing the location to Manchetster Nottingham etc without success
    I used to have to open Google Uk first then tap bbc iplayer as a way onto their site otherwise the BBC recognised that I was not in the UK Could the issue be with Google ?
    Thanks in advance for help

    1. Hi
      If your Apple TV uses VPN through a router, make sure it is set to UK , and try to change VPN server if that does not work. Nothing that I know of is going on right now in Dubai.

  26. Jamie woodley

    I have bought two smart boxes in thailand they are hi media Q331 boxes the one in thailand works perfectly with our uk VPN but we took the second box to dubai and we are using the same VPN but the box won’t access BBC, itv etc. do you know of a reason for this

    1. Hi Jamie
      That is a tricky one, it will be really hard to assist you without direct access, are you connecting to a UK based VPN ?

  27. Ali, Thanks for your informative article, which I would like to reprint in the ‘Walford Gazette’, my newspaper about EastEnders. Please email Cheers, Larry

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