How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad
BBC iPlayer is the crown jewel of UK streaming. US-based services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video may offer more big-budget exclusives, but none are as usable, versatile, or reliable as our own iPlayer.
And best of all, it’s free. As long as you have a TV license, This is.
The only downside is that it is limited to UK viewers meaning there is no overseas access. In other words, no catching up with EastEnders while you sunbathe on your vacation.
This is in stark contrast to paid services like Netflix, Amazon, and Now TV. Under the recent EU Portability Streaming Act, these must be available elsewhere in Europe using your existing login details. So as long as you are on vacation in the EU you can still catch all of your favorite shows.
This is not the case with iPlayer. At least not officially.
Because there is a way around it. This is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Be aware that this violates the iPlayer terms and conditions – you will not be sent to jail, but your account could be suspended. In other words, follow these steps at your own risk.
Step 1: Choose a VPN
Your first port of call is to choose a VPN. This will allow you to set up your own small network within the larger framework of the Internet. Businesses use VPNs to send information privately, without the risk of being intercepted by hackers. Using a mask hides your real location, tricking iPlayer into believing you are in the UK.
They cost, mind. One-year access can cost around £ 6 per month.
Step 2: Download it
Once you’ve signed up for your VPN, you’ll need to download and install it on your device of choice. Most VPNs work on most platforms (PC, Mac, iOS, Android), but it’s worth checking yours out before paying.
Downloading it to a mobile device means you can watch it on the go, as long as you have a decent Wi-Fi connection. Ditto with a laptop, but they are obviously bulkier and more difficult to carry than a phone or tablet. The trade-off for a larger screen might be worth it, so it’s worth considering.
Step 3: get started
You will now need to connect to your VPN and choose a UK based server. Why? This is because the VPN tricks iPlayer into thinking that you are still in Blighty and therefore are still allowed to watch it.
Step 4: start watching
And that’s all. As we say, using a VPN is against iPlayer’s terms and conditions, so you do so at your own risk.