BBC iPlayer is the online library of all the best shows from the UK. With practically all of the past and present reality shows, entertainment, lifestyle, children, and sports events.
The good news for expat Brits, or anyone around the world who enjoys UK TV, BBC’s geo-restrictions can quickly be bypassed with a VPN or Smart DNS so you can watch BBC iPlayer for free.
- How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad
- What Makes a Top VPN for iPlayer?
- Best VPN for Watching UK TV
- Top VPN for Watching iPlayer in China
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad
There are two ways to watch BBC overseas, either a UK VPN or Smart (Proxy) DNS service.
I’ve tried most providers that advertise support for iPlayer, but there’s only two that I would recommend due to their speed, reliability and reasonable price. Both providers offer the choice of a VPN or Proxy DNS.
Why use Proxy DNS?
If you plan to stream from a MacBook, Laptop or PC – updating your DNS is a simple option to configure. Just update your device DNS servers and programmes from BBC, ABC, and Hulu is available without connecting to separate VPN server locations.
- Set and forget configuration
- Content is streamed directly to your device, which doesn’t require routing via a 3rd party network
- Can access content from the US, UK, India without requiring connection to different VPN servers
- These servers resolve all of your device’s internet requests, so a trustworthy service is important.
- Cheap DNS providers update their DNS records slowly
Why use VPN?
VPN’s are perfect for mobile smart devices to watch regionally restricted content. Just open your VPN software, choose a server in the country that you wish to watch programming, and enjoy. Once you’ve finished watching your TV episode, disconnect from VPN, and your device reverts to normal functionality.
- You choose when traffic gets routed via the 3rd party provider
- Added Security benefits routing internet traffic via secure encrypted tunnel
- If you’re streaming from Kodi or Media device, regularly disconnecting different server locations can be frustrating
- All your device internet traffic gets routed via the United Kingdom while connected
What Makes a Top VPN for iPlayer?
To answer what’s the best VPN for BBC, let’s recap which features are the most important in a VPN service:
- A VPN service with a significant number of servers in the UK. BBC consistently plays a game of cat and mouse, banning known VPN hosts. If your VPN provider owns a large amount of IP addresses, you can re-connect and avoid interruption when BBC blocks workaround services.
- Reliable network infrastructure – Cheap VPN providers cut costs by overloading their system with too many users. Overloading causes episodes to freeze, or picture quality suffering. From personal experience, I know how frustrating it feels when your favorite episodes constantly freeze, requiring the video stream to be restarted.
- Easy to use VPN client software, which is compatible with standard devices. Eg iPhone, Macbook, Android, and Windows
VPN Provider Comparision
|Features||Easy to setup software, very reliable network||Recommended if you're streaming |
|Great price, reliable service|
|Money Back||30 Days||3 Day Trial||7 Days|
|Pricing||$8.32 monthly||$6.67 monthly||$3.25 monthly|
Best VPN for Watching UK TV
We rate ExpressVPN as our preferred VPN for most video streaming requirements. Although priced slightly higher than competitor services, their network is extremely stable, rarely causing video freezing or poor video quality.
Their award-winning software is also very easy to configure, taking only minutes to complete.
If you are also using BitTorrent, they offer servers in Hong Kong to help avoid the prying eyes of Western Governments and Hollywood legal firms.
Top VPN for Watching iPlayer in China
China’s content filtering ‘firewall’ is perhaps the most sophisticated in the world. While the ExpressVPN service is capable of streaming BBC in China, the most reliable service for expat’s is VyprVPN. Their proprietary ‘Chameleon’ software has shown time again that it’s the most reliable streaming through the Chinese national firewall.
Overall VyprVPN is one of our picks for the best VPNs to watch UK TV.
Our Top Smart DNS Pick
Overplay DNS has been part of my streaming arsenal for over a year, and it that time I’ve only experienced one (brief) outage. BBC’s technology team regularly target providers of geo-block workarounds, but I’ve found Overplay always just works.
- Easy to setup (Purchase and install less than 5 minutes)
- Responsive tech support
Follow these steps to stream BBC:
- Sign up with Overplay
- Update your devices DNS server addresses to those supplied by Overplay
- Use your web browser or app to bbc.co.uk and login to your account
Overplay’s status page:
Does iPlayer Work Overseas In Any Country?
Generally yes, but it’s difficult in countries with slow internet. If you’re on a slow net connection, adjust the video player settings to a low resolution such as 240p.
In the countries that I’ve traveled to, Cuba and Central America struggled to steam BBC. But with a low resolution configured you can stream almost anywhere.
How do I download the BBC iPlayer App?
The Google Play store restricts downloading the iPlayer app to only the UK. Luckily there’s a workaround.
- If you have a Macbook or PC, connect the ExpressVPN to a UK server.
- Open your web browser, log in to Gmail
- Open Google Play and search for iPlayer: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=bbc%20iplayer&hl=en
- Tap ‘Install’ and choose the mobile device that you plan to watch BBC
Downloading iPlayer with Android:
Without a Macbook or PC, you can download the iPLayer app via your Mobile device.
**Important note ** You’ll need to clear the Play Store cache after connecting to the UK VPN. This can be done using the following steps:
- Go to the Settings app and tap Apps.
- Tap the Google Play Store app listed here and long press on ‘Storage.’
- When you release the ‘Storage’ section, a new screen will appear displaying ‘Clear Cache’ and ‘Clear Data’ buttons for the Google Play Store app
Downloading iPlayer with iPhone:
If you have a Macbook or PC:
- Setup a new iTunes account
- Log out of iTunes.
- Tap “Create new Apple Id”.
- At the bottom of the iTunes Store, select the region as the UK.
- Tap “Get.”
- Create a new account and choose the option “no credit card”.
- Create a username and password.
- Enter a new email address.
- Choose ‘none’ for Billing Information.
- From your iPhone or iPad, log out of your previous iTunes account and use the new UK account.
Install iPlayer on Kodi
- Navigate to the Videos option on the main Menu.
- Click on the Add-ons tab.
- Click the option that says ‘Get more’ at the bottom.
- Click the button ‘iPlayer WWW’ addon for Kodi.
- Click on the Install option.
- Exit from the add-ons area back to the home screen.
- Select ‘Videos’ on the home screen, then ‘Video Add-ons’ and you’ll now see ‘iPlayer WWW’ add-on.
- Enjoy watching BBC!
Best Practices For Streaming BBC iPlayer Outside UK
There are a couple of easy steps that you can take to improve the streaming experience watching BBC iPlayer. Often simple changes can make a big difference to your streaming experience overseas.
Try making these updates if BBC iPlayer VPN is not working:
- Test your VPN connection can successfully stream iPlayer before you leave Britain if you’re planning a trip. All of our preferred VPN suppliers include a money back guarantee, so if you’re unable to set up iPlayer, ask for a refund and try one another recommended provider.
- If you’re using a laptop with a Network (Ethernet) port, and your hotel or home has access to a wired port, always use it! WiFi networks add a slight delay, and sometimes this additional latency causing havoc streaming videos.
- If you don’t have access to a wired network, use WiFi rather than your smartphone carrier. You probably wouldn’t use a Telco carrier anyway, because the data downloads will be costly. Modern 4G connections can handle iPlayer without issues, but 3G, GSM or CDMA often cause a frustrating viewing experience.
We hope that our guide helps you enjoy watching BBC iPlayer in Aus, US or Canada!