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Do you want to know how to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA or abroad? BBC iPlayer streams a wide variety of great shows that are unique to this service. Unfortunately, the platform is unavailable outside of the UK. This doesn’t mean that the U.S. residents have no chance of enjoying EastEnders or Vigil, though. A virtual private network, or VPN, can help you get access to any desired show on the platform, regardless of your location.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to get access to BBC iPlayer on a Fire TV, Roku, PC, or mobile device. Additionally, we’ll answer some of the most common questions related to using a VPN for this purpose. Read on to discover how to surpass BBC iPlayer’s regional restrictions.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad From a Firestick
We have tested each of the devices in this tutorial and were able to watch BBC iPlay with ExpressVPN on each one. It’s compatible with Fire TV Stick second generation or above and with all versions of Fire TV. The installation is rather straightforward – follow the steps below:
- Head to ExpressVPN’s official website and purchase a suitable subscription.
- You’ll be prompted to register. Follow on-screen instructions to do so.
- Launch your Fire device and type in “ExpressVPN” into the search bar.
- Select “ExpressVPN” under “Apps & Games,” then select “Download.”
- Open the ExpressVPN app on your Fire TV and select “Sign In.”
- Enter the email and password you’ve indicated when purchasing the subscription, then select “Sign In.”
- Set your preferences and give the necessary permissions.
- On the app’s main screen, expand the dropdown menu under the large power button and select the desired server location.
- Click the large power button to connect to the server.
Note: When using VPN on your Fire TV, ensure that your Amazon account location matches the server location. You can change the location by navigating to “Your Account,” then “Your Content and Devices,” “Preferences,” and “Country/Region.”
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad From a Roku Device or an Apple TV
Roku and Apple TV devices don’t natively support VPNs. There are still 2 options to connect your Roku to a VPN. The first involves setting up a separate VPN network directly on your Mac or Windows PC. The second involves setting up a VPN directly on your router. For the average person setting up the network on your Mac or Windows PC is probably easier.
Setting Up a VPN Network on a Windows 10 PC
- Purchase an ExpressVPN subscription, install the ExpressVPN Windows app, and sign in.
- Click the “Start” button on your PC.
- Navigate to “Settings,” then to “Network & Internet.”
- Shift the toggle next to “Mobile hotspot” to the right to enable it.
- Under “Share my Internet connection from,” select “Wi-Fi.”
- Click “Change adapter options” under “Related settings.”
- The “Network Connections” window will appear. You will see your mobile hotspot under “Local Area Connection*.”
- Right-click a network with the description “ExpressVPN Wintun Driver.” Select “Properties” from the dropdown menu.
- Navigate to the “Sharing” tab.
- Check the box next to “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.”
- Select “Local Area Connection*” under “Home networking connection,” then click “Ok.”
- Once done, open the ExpressVPN app and connect to the desired server location.
- Connect your Roku device to the Wi-Fi network shared from your PC rather than your router.
Setting up a VPN Network from a Mac
If you have a Mac, you can set up a VPN on your internet connection by following the steps below:
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- Purchase an ExpressVPN subscription, register, and enter the verification code sent to your email when prompted.
- On the setup page, select “L2TP/IPsec.”
- You will see a window with your login credentials and IP address. Keep this tab open.
- Click the apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen, then “System Preferences” and “Network.”
- Click the plus icon. Select “VPN” next to “Interface,” “L2TP over IPsec” next to “VPN Type,” and enter your VPN name into the “Service Name” field. You can use any name you will recognize.
- Click “Create.”
Next, you need to configure the L2TP/IPsec connection. Here’s how to do that:
- You will see your new network name appear in the “Network” window. Double click it.
- Select “Default” next to “Configuration” and enter your ExpressVPN username and IP address into the dedicated fields. You can find the necessary information in the browser window you’ve left open in step 3.
- Check the box next to “Show VPN status in the menu bar.”
- Click “Authentication Settings…” and enter your ExpressVPN password. Into the “Shared Secret” field, enter “12345678.”
- Click “Ok.”
- Click “Advanced.”
- Check the box next to “Send all traffic over VPN connection” and confirm.
- Click “Apply.”
Lastly, follow the steps below to connect to your virtual VPN router and start watching BBC iPlayer on your Roku:
- In the “Network” window, find your VPN router name and click “Connect.”
- Connect your Roku device to your Mac hotspot rather than to your regular router.
- On the ExpressVPN dashboard, select the desired server location and click the large power button to connect to it.
Setting up a VPN Directly on a Router
We have a more in-depth guide here on installing a VPN directly on your router. Here’s how to set up a VPN connection on your physical router on ExpressVPN’s example if you’re looking for the high level instructions:
- Purchase a suitable subscription from ExpressVPN’s official website.
- Select your router model from the suggested and click “Download Firmware.” If your router model is not on the list, you will have to set up a virtual VPN router.
- You will see a window with an activation code. Copy it or leave the browser tab open. You’ll need the code later.
- Log in to your router’s admin panel. By default, you can access it by entering “192.168.1.1” into your browser’s address bar. The default login credentials are “admin/admin.” If this doesn’t work, search for instructions in your router’s user manual.
The next steps differ depending on your router model. For Asus routers, follow the steps below:
- Select “Administration” from the left sidebar.
- Navigate to the “Firmware Upgrade” tab.
- Look for Manual frimware update, click “Upload,” then select the ExpressVPN firmware file from your downloads folder.
- Once the firmware file is uploaded, restart your router.
For Linksys routers, the steps are slightly different:
- From the left sidebar, select “Connectivity.”
- Click “Choose File.”
- Select the ExpressVPN firmware file from your device’s downloads folder and upload it, then click “Start.”
- Click “Yes,” then “Ok” when asked to initiate router reboot.
If you have a Netgear router, setup ExpressVPN by following the instructions below:
- Navigate to the “Advanced” tab on your router’s admin panel main page.
- Click “Administration,” then “Router Update.”
- Click “Browse” and select the ExpressVPN firmware file you’ve downloaded earlier.
- Click “Upload,” then “Ok,” and wait for your router to reboot automatically.
Finally, head to the ExpressVPN dashboard and select the desired server location from the suggested list. Then, click the large power button to connect to the server.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad From a PC
Setting up a VPN on a Windows PC to watch BBC iPlayer is rather straightforward. We’ll show how to do this in ExpressVPN’s example. Follow the steps below:
- Subscribe to ExpressVPN and follow on-screen instructions to register.
- On the dashboard, click “Download for Windows.” Keep the browser window open, as it contains an activation code you’ll need soon.
- Open your “Downloads” folder and find the “expressvpn_windows” file. Double-click it and follow on-screen installation instructions.
- When the app is installed, open it and sign in. Paste your activation code when prompted (see step 2).
- On the app’s dashboard, expand the dropdown menu under the large power button. Select the desired server location, then click the power button to connect.
On Mac computers, the steps are slightly different:
- Subscribe to ExpressVPN and register following on-screen instructions. On the dashboard, click “Download for Mac.”
- You will see an activation code. Copy it or keep the browser window open.
- Find the ExpressVPN installation file on your PC and double-click it. Click “Continue,” then “Continue,” and “Install” to run the installation. Follow on-screen instructions to complete it.
- When the installation is complete, open the app and click “Sign In.” Type in your account credentials, then paste the activation code you’ve copied in step 2.
- Give ExpressVPN the necessary permissions if requested.
- On the app’s dashboard, select the desired server location and click the power button to connect.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad From an iPhone
Watching BBC iPlayer from your iPhone is simple. All you need to do is connect your phone to a UK server using a VPN. Here’s how to do that using ExpressVPN:
- Subscribe to ExpressVPN and follow on-screen instructions to register.
- Head to the AppStore and find ExpressVPN, then tap “Get.”
- When the installation is complete, open the app and tap “Sign In.” Enter your account credentials and tap “Sign In” again.
- Give the app the necessary permissions and set your preferences when prompted.
- Once the app is set up, select the desired server location on the dashboard and tap the power button to connect to it.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad From an Android Device
To watch BBC iPlayer from an Android device, you need to connect it to a UK server using a VPN. Here’s how to do that with ExpressVPN:
- Subscribe to ExpressVPN and register the account following the on-screen instructions.
- In Google Play Store, find the ExpressVPN app and download it.
- Once the app is installed, open it, and tap “Sign In.”
- Enter your account credentials and tap “Sign In” again.
- Give the app connection permission when prompted.
- On the app’s dashboard, select a server location and tap the large power button to connect.
Is BBC iPlayer region locked?
Yes, like many other streaming services, BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK. So, to watch it outside of the UK, you need to connect to a UK server via a VPN.
Why do you need a VPN if you want to watch BBC iPlayer abroad?
BBC iPlayer is restricted to UK residents, which means you can watch it only if you have a UK IP address. If you live outside the UK, BBC iPlayer content won’t be available to you. Thankfully, there’s a way to watch BBC iPlayer abroad. Using a VPN will change your IP address, making BBC iPlayer think that the device that you’re using is located in the UK.
Is it illegal to watch BBC iPlayer abroad?
Watching BBC iPlayer outside of the UK is not illegal. There is no rule against using VPN services. However, you should purchase the official BBC iPlayer license if you wish to watch it.
Final Thoughts on How to Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA or Abroad
Hopefully, our guide has helped you watch the desired shows on BBC iPlayer. Apart from giving you access to region-restricted content, a VPN has numerous other advantages. For instance, it keeps your data private and prevents bandwidth throttling. So, by setting up a VPN, you’ve killed multiple annoying birds with one stone.
What are your favorite BBC iPlayer shows? Share in the comments section below.