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How To Watch BBC iPlayer in USA or Anywhere (Streaming Online)

The modern world of online streaming gives users a lot of options when it comes to the type of content they want to watch and when to watch it. Among the big hitters of the industry, the BBC iPlayer is the only platform that specifically tries to cater to people living in the United Kingdom.

There is no shortage in the quality or quantity of content available on BBC iPlayer. It offers the most in-demand shows on TV right now, while also accommodating some of the all-time classics.

The BBC iPlayer is great for the U.K. audience, but if you live outside of the region, you won’t be able to use the platform. This guide will show you how to watch BBC iPlayer in the United States. While the following guide focuses on U.S. users, you can still use these steps to access BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world, not just the U.S.

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The first thing you should know is that it is entirely possible to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad—and it’s easy to do. The only complications that can arise are lack of access to the proper tools and a fast internet connection.

Besides, major content providers like the British Broadcasting Corporation are not going to make it easy for you to watch BBC outside the UK—or will they?

The main problem with watching BBC outside of the UK is that it is not free. And because users have to pay money to watch the BBC, the company puts limits on who can and can’t watch it. The BBC itself also has to pay for a U.K. TV license to operate, which adds to the company’s expenses.

You can watch BBC iPlayer by removing some of the restrictions that the streaming service puts on its content, but you should know that these actions aren’t exactly encouraged or in agreement with BBC’s terms of service.

a person enjoying streaming content on his television

The easiest way to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK is to get the official BBC iPlayer app on your streaming device. You can easily do it if you’re in the UK.

Once that’s done, you can go wherever you want and you should be able to watch any BBC iPlayer content. You could stream your content at home, at work, or even while on vacation.

When you follow the steps outlined below, you can stream high-quality BBC iPlayer TV shows and movies from any place in the world.

BBC iPlayer also offers radio content, which is a major plus—similar to how U.S.-based streaming services like Hulu and Netflix provide American users with a larger selection of content than in other countries.

In short, the most important thing you need to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK is a VPN (or Virtual Private Network). A working VPN service will allow you to watch British TV via the BBC iPlayer as well as many other streaming services such as US Netflix and Hulu.


Most VPN services work by hiding your real location and giving you a new IP address, enabling you to change your location to any place you want.

So can you watch the BBC iPlayer in the USA? The answer is yes, and it’s very easy to do so. All you have to do is get yourself a good VPN service, connect to a UK server using your VPN app and then log in to BBC iPlayer to start streaming BBC content.


Security Gladiators in no way encourages or condones any kind of copyright violation or circumvention of restrictions. That includes streaming illegal content as some services can host both legal and pirated content. You need to do your own research to see if these services and content are legal in your own country. We suggest to always use a VPN while streaming or downloading anything from the web.

What Is the Best VPN for BBC iPlayer?

We can’t give you a single answer to this question. Different users have different qualifications for what determines the best iPlayer VPN. The reasons for this variation are:

  • A user in one country might have success with one VPN, while a user in another country does not have a good experience. It all depends on the quality of the VPN’s server network.
  • Users have their own preferences about how they want their VPN service to unblock services such as BBC iPlayer.
  • Not all users are willing to pay the same price for a given VPN product.

Generally speaking, though, we have found that the VPN service that works consistently with BBC iPlayer is NordVPN. But there are other close competitors as well.

Here’s our list of best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. With one of these VPNs, you can change your IP address to a city in the U.K. to unblock BBC iPlayer.


NordVPN logo

Simultaneous Connections: Six

Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

About NordVPN

is the king of all VPN services on the market today. It has the strongest VPN protocols along with extra security features and a huge server network, which ensures that you can watch BBC iPlayer and consume as much British TV as is humanly possible.

NordVPN homepage

Apart from that, the best thing about signing up for a VPN service like NordVPN is that it comes with an extended money-back guarantee. So if you sign up for NordVPN and find that it doesn’t unlock BBC in the USA and you’re still getting the error that says “BBC iPlayer this content doesn’t seem to be working,” then you can simply ask for your money back.

VPN Apps

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Our Score: 9.8/10

Click here to read more about the benefits of NordVPN in our comprehensive review.

You can get NordVPN

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN logo

Simultaneous Connections: Seven

Money-Back Guarantee: 45 days

About CyberGhost

should be the VPN of choice for people who want to watch BBC iPlayer abroad with a decent internet connection. CyberGhost’s service is suited to both beginners and advanced users alike. If you want to watch BBC in the US or any other country, it can help you do that.

CyberGhost VPN homepage

Its server network is one of the most expansive of its kind in the industry. Because of that, CyberGhost has the ability to offer British TV content via BBC iPlayer abroad with ease.

Remember, elite services don’t just allow you to watch the BBC from any location; they can also allow unrestricted access to other good streaming services. CyberGhost is one of those services.

VPN Apps

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Amazon Fire TV App Icon
Amazon Fire TV

Our Score: 9.3/10

Click here to read our complete review of CyberGhost VPN.

You can get CyberGhost


ExpressVPN logo

Simultaneous Connections: Five

Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

About ExpressVPN

is another service that can unblock BBC iPlayer from any country in the world. The company has a massive server network and offers fast speeds, which are two essentials for any service that will allow you to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad or at home in the UK. This service is a favorite for people living in the USA because it has lots of servers in the country and comes with VPN apps for all mobile platforms.

ExpressVPN homepage

The BBC iPlayer in USA has become a big trend recently with more and more people getting tired of watching all the remakes in Hollywood and yearning for new original content. Accessing BBC in US states/cities is the only way to get original English programming.

Now, just because ExpressVPN can access BBC iPlayer doesn’t mean it will work for all users. ExpressVPN offers a money-back guarantee that you can use within a month of your purchase to get your money back if it doesn’t work for you.

VPN Apps

Apple App Icon
Android App Icon
macOS App Icon
Windows App Icon
Linux App Icon
Amazon Fire TV App Icon
Amazon Fire TV

Our Score: 8.9/10

Read more about ExpressVPN’s offerings here.

You can get ExpressVPN

SurfShark VPN

Surfshark VPN logo

Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited

Money-Back Guarantee: 30 Days

About Surfshark

is the cheapest app you can use to change your IP address and watch BBC iPlayer USA, no matter what your budget is. Privacy services need infrastructure to allow access to streaming platforms such as BBC iPlayer from USA. But SurfShark is able to do that at a low cost.

SurfShark VPN homepage

SurfShark works with BBC iPlayer and is good for consuming British TV. The best feature of SurfShark is that it allows access to its services on an unlimited number of devices. With just one subscription package, you can install SurfShark on any number of devices to watch iPlayer.

VPN Apps

Windows App Icon
macOS App Icon
Linux App Icon
Android App Icon
Apple App Icon
Chrome App Icon
Firefox App Icon
Amazon Fire TV App Icon
Amazon Fire TV

Our Score: 8.5/10

To read more about SurfShark VPN, click here.

You can get SurfShark

How Do I Get the BBC iPlayer App in the USA?

To get BBC iPlayer in the USA, you’ll have to change the settings of your streaming device. Now, the steps may vary depending on what device you use. We’ll show you how to do it on Apple, Android and Amazon Fire devices in the sections below.

First, before you do anything else, make sure you’ve signed up for one of the VPNs we’ve listed above. If you’re not sure which one to use, you can consult our comprehensive guide to the top VPNs available.

How To Get BBC iPlayer in USA on an Apple Device

If you’re on an iOS platform such as iPhone or iPad, use these steps:

Step 1: Sign Out of Your Account

You need to disconnect your iCloud device for a bit. Go to Settings, click on your name at the top of the screen and then scroll all the way down to the bottom on the new screen to get to the option labeled Sign Out. Tap it and you are done.

Step 2: Get Another Account

Now you need to create a new iCloud account while you’re connected to a VPN service and have changed your location to the UK.

An image featuring how to get BBC iPlayer in USA on an Apple device step2a

This is important:

If you don’t change your location to the UK BEFORE creating a new iCloud account, this method will not work. So get your VPN, download the app and then connect to a server that is located in the UK. That way, you can change your IP address to a UK-based city.

Also, keep in mind that you won’t be able to access any data that is associated with your old account. You’ll have to sign out and log in to your old account.

Step 3: Start streaming

Now you should have no trouble downloading BBC iPlayer from the Apple App Store and then signing up for the subscription package of your choice to watch British TV shows and movies.

How To Get BBC iPlayer From USA on Android

If you’re on the Android platform, you need to open up your default web browser and then make your way to payments.google.com.

From there, follow these steps to watch BBC iPlayer from USA:

Step 1: Go To Settings and Change Your Region

Click on the Settings app and then go to the tab labeled Country. The exact menu might be different based on the make of your smartphone and the version of Android you use. In any case, change your location to the UK since you want to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.

Step 2: Close the Google Play Store

Click on the Settings app again and then tap on Apps. For some phones, you may have to go to the section labeled Installed Apps. From there, you should click on the Google Play Store and then click on Force Stop.

This takes care of the Google Play Store, but now you need to get rid of its stored data as well. Go to your Storage option and then click on Google Play Store. Then, click CLEAR DATA.

An image featuring how to get BBC iPlayer from USA on Android step2d

Now you can easily download and use the BBC iPlayer app from anywhere in the USA or abroad. If the above steps don’t work for any reason, just repeat them again and make sure you clear Google Play Store data from your smartphone or tablet device.

How To Watch BBC iPlayer From USA on Amazon FireStick

To get BBC iPlayer in the USA on Amazon FireStick, head over to www.amazon.com. Now, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Go to Your Devices Screen

From the Amazon website (linked above), click on the option that says Accounts & Lists. Then, go to Content and Devices.

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An image featuring how to watch BBC iPlayer from USA on Amazon FireStick step1c

Step 2: Change Your Real Location

Since you want BBC iPlayer, you should change your location to the UK.

An image featuring how to watch BBC iPlayer from USA on Amazon FireStick step2a
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Step 3: Sign Out and Then Sign Back In

Now, take your FireStick device and go to the Settings menu, then click on My Account.

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From there, sign out by clicking Deregister. Once that’s done, sign back in.

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These steps should enable access to BBC iPlayer outside the UK. If you get an error message on your FireStick device, it’s likely because Amazon recognized a problem between your account and your payment options. In this case, the best solution is to get yourself a UK bank account or credit card number.

That used to be very hard for people who did not live in the UK and had no relatives to help out, but now there many online services that do this job for you.

Generally speaking, though, you just need to trick BBC iPlayer into thinking that your location is indeed inside the UK while, in reality, you’re located in the US. With the correct tools and guides, you can easily do that.

For more on that, click here to read our guide on how to connect a VPN to your FireStick device.

Is It Illegal To Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad?

From an official standpoint, the BBC has copyright agreements with content producers and distributors. Because of that, one stipulation of using this service is that the user has to be present in the United Kingdom not only to stream but also to download BBC programs.

The same is true for accessing BBC iPlayer for various BBC TV channels.

Fortunately, though, the official stance is that if you are in the U.K. and download the official BBC iPlayer while you’re in the U.K., then you can watch BBC programs on it no matter where you are in the world. Not only that, but you can also download some of them on your mobile streaming device.

Outside of the U.K., the channels you can access include:

Again, you won’t be able to access all BBC content. But much of what you may be interested in will be accessible. It’s also worth noting that even if the BBC could allow users who have a UK license subscription (which you get by paying a fee), there would be too many complex technical issues for them to handle. It’s better for them to just limit content distribution to the U.K. audience.

How Can I Watch UK TV in the USA?

The thing about accessing U.K. TV in the USA is that streaming services all over the world are getting smarter. Now, they have the ability to block the VPN server IP address. In other words, if you see a VPN or any other privacy service offering servers located in the UK, don’t automatically assume that it would work flawlessly with services like BBC iPlayer.


In order to make sure that your service works with BBC iPlayer, you’ll have to do some research to find out if it’s effective in removing geo-restrictions. Read reviews and see what other users have to say.

The VPNs we’ve mentioned in the above sections all work with BBC iPlayer no matter what your location is. But if you want to go for another service, just make sure it has lots of servers in the UK and can access streaming sites like UK Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Apart from that, any service should have unlimited bandwidth, a zero-logs policy and fast connection speed.

What About the UK TV License?

an image of bbc iplayer running on an internet browser

So what should you do about the U.K. TV license we mentioned above? If you wish to access BBC iPlayer, you need to have a TV license. If you don’t and still use a VPN to watch BBC, then the government could fine you in excess of $1,000.

The TV license is a must, even if you aren’t watching and just trying to record BBC TV content. Most of the time, though, if you only want catch-up or on-demand TV, you don’t need a license.

Sadly, BBC iPlayer streaming isn’t covered under on-demand or catch-up TV. If you connect to a server that’s located in the UK to watch BBC iPlayer, then the streaming service’s site will show you a TV license popup. People who don’t live in the UK can simply click the option that says Yes to continue. BBC is relying on the end-user to be truthful if they want to access BBC content.

Pro Tip:

If you’re a U.K. citizen traveling abroad, the official stance does take that into account. But to take advantage of that exception, you must have a TV license. If you download all your favorite programs before traveling, you can access those programs while outside the UK, even if it’s just for a limited time.

In short, assuming you have a valid TV license that’s connected to your residential address in the UK and you haven’t plugged in your device somewhere else, then you should be okay to watch BBC content. But to be on the safe side, use a VPN to get privacy and data security on top of that.


the bbc iplayer app icon on an iOS device being pressed by a person's finger

To watch BBC iPlayer abroad for free, you need a U.K. TV license, an iPlayer account and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. The BBC account costs nothing. You only have to give it a U.K. postcode and your date of birth and you are all set. Use a VPN service to change your location to the U.K. if you don’t want to get streaming errors.

If you live in the USA or anywhere else and you don’t have a U.K. TV license, you can still use a VPN to get started watching BBC iPlayer from USA. Just follow the steps above.

Ali Raza Ali is a freelance journalist, having 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. With a Master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology for SecurityGladiators. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.
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