How to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA



Chris, a UK-born media connoisseur, is an expert in watching international TV. Known as "The Global Screen Wanderer", he has travelled extensively across the globe with long stints away from home. With over 10 years of experience he has become the go-to guru for streaming content from home and abroad.

The BBC is one of the most popular broadcasting networks in the world and nowhere less so than in the USA. In this article I look at how to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA online and also how users around the world can do the same with an extremely simple solution.

Can I watch BBC iPlayer directly

The answer to this question is both Yes and No. Firstly lets deal with No. If you’re in the USA or anywhere in the world that is outside the UK then you can’t directly watch BBC iPlayer online.

Now for Yes. With a simple tool there is a way to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA and other locations around the world that are outside the UK and in this guide I’ll show you exactly how to achieve that in simple steps.

Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA

iPlayer blocked by default in the USA

Why is BBC iPlayer blocked in the USA

The BBC iPlayer service is restricted to access from UK internet connections. When you connect to the internet it generally gives away your location. Due to this iPlayer blocks you from accessing because it knows you’re not in the UK.

It does this by checking your IP Address. An IP Address is a set of digits that are unique to your internet connection at that time and simply from this alone any website such as BBC iPlayer can determine your location and block you.

How to unblock BBC iPlayer in the USA

To watch BBC iPlayer in the USA or any country outside of the UK you need to change your IP Address. To do this you will need a service called a Virtual Private Network also known as a VPN.

A VPN reroutes your internet traffic through a third party connection in a fully encrypted and safe manner before sending it on to the wider internet. In the case of BBC iPlayer you will route your internet traffic through a UK Server. iPlayer will determine your location as the UK even though you’re in the US and so stream you the content you want to watch.

VPN services cost about $10 per month and are available from a range of providers. Our recommended provider is ExpressVPN due to the quality of service and speeds. Prices can be as low as $5 per month if you sign up for a yearly package so it is worth considering if you plan to watch BBC a lot.

If you’re interested in checking out a few other VPN options then NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN also make good choices.

How to sign up and watch iPlayer

  • Visit the one of the providers and sign up.
  • Download their software either for Windows or Mac and install or their app for Android or Apple iOS.
  • Select Choose Location and then press United Kingdom.
    ExpressVPN UK

    Watch BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN.

  • Visit the BBC iPlayer website and enjoy any show you want from the USA and elsewhere!

Yes, it really is that easy and there is nothing more to it. When you’ve finished watching just click the Disconnect button and your internet connection reverts to normal.

There are no added charges, your internet company won’t charge you any more for making use of this service and you aren’t limited to how much you can watch unless you usually have a data capped internet package.

What about Tablets and Phones?

All three VPN providers have apps for Android and iOS meaning that your mobile devices like iPads, iPhones and others can also connect to the UK Server. As long as your device can access a web browser or download the official iPlayer app in your country then it will work fine too.

ExpressVPN also has a dedicated Amazon app for the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. By using their app you can use a web-browser such as Silk Browser or Firefox and watch on the BBC iPlayer website on your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick.

One of the nice things about the services are that you can use them on more than one device at the same time. This means if your husband or wife or even your kids want to watch a different show to yourself then you only have to pay the one monthly fee to be able to do that.


2 Responses

  1. Will I have to pay BBC to watch Snooker(this is my only interest)?

    • Chris says:

      Hi William,

      You don’t need to pay the BBC directly but they require you to have a licence to watch. You don’t need to enter any licence details though, just create an account and tick the button to say you’ve got a licence and then enjoy watching.

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