BBC iPlayer streams a wide variety of great shows unique to this service. Unfortunately, the platform is not available outside of the UK. This does not mean, however, that US residents have no chance of enjoying EastEnders or Vigil. A virtual private network, or VPN, can help you access any show you want on the platform, regardless of your location.
In this guide, we will explain how to access BBC iPlayer on Fire TV, Roku, PC or mobile device. Plus, we'll answer some of the most common questions related to using a VPN for this purpose. Read on to find out how to bypass BBC iPlayer regional restrictions.
How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad from a Firestick
We tested each of the devices in this tutorial and were able to watch BBC iPlay with ExpressVPN on all of them. It is compatible with Fire TV Stick of second generation or higher and with all versions of Fire TV. Installation is quite simple – follow the steps below:
- Head to the official ExpressVPN website and purchase a suitable subscription.
- You will be prompted to register. Follow the onscreen instructions to do so.
- Launch your Fire device and type “ExpressVPN” in the search bar.
- Select "ExpressVPN" under "Apps & Games", then select "Download".
- Open the ExpressVPN app on your Fire TV and select "Connect".
- Enter the email and password you provided when purchasing the subscription, then select "Login".
- Set your preferences and grant the necessary permissions.
- On the main app screen, expand the drop-down menu under the big power button and select the desired server location.
- Click the big power button to connect to the server.
Note: When using a VPN on your Fire TV, make sure your Amazon account location matches the server location. You can change the location by going to "Your Account", then "Your Content & Devices", "Preferences" and "Country/Region".
How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad from a Roku device or Apple TV
Roku and Apple TV devices do not natively support VPNs. There are still 2 options to connect your Roku to a VPN. The first is to set up a separate VPN network directly on your Mac or Windows PC. The second is to set 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 Windows ExpressVPN app and connect.
- Click the "Start" button on your PC.
- Go to “Settings”, then to “Network and Internet”.
- Move the toggle next to "Mobile hotspot" to the right to turn it on.
- 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 on a network with the description "ExpressVPN Wintun Driver". Select "Properties" from the drop-down menu.
- Go 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 Network Connection”, then click “OK”.
- Once done, open the ExpressVPN app and connect to the desired server location.
- Connect your Roku device to the shared Wi-Fi network 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:
- Purchase an ExpressVPN Subscription, register, and enter the verification code sent to your email address when prompted.
- On the set up page, select “L2TP/IPsec”.
- You will see a window with your login credentials and your IP address. Keep this tab open.
- Click on the apple-shaped icon in the upper left corner of your screen, then on "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 in the "Service Name" field. You can use any name you recognize.
- Click on “Create”.
Next, you need to configure the L2TP/IPsec connection. Here's how:
- You will see your new network name appear in the “Network” window. Double click on it.
- Select "Default" next to "Configuration" and enter your ExpressVPN username and IP address in the dedicated fields. You can find the necessary information in the browser window you left open in step 3.
- Check the box next to "Show VPN status in menu bar".
- Click “Authentication Settings…” and enter your ExpressVPN password. In the "Shared secret" field, enter "12345678".
- Click on OK. "
- Click on “Advanced”.
- Check the box next to "Send all traffic over a VPN connection" and confirm.
- Click "Apply".
Finally, follow the steps below to connect to your virtual VPN router and start watching BBC iPlayer on your Roku:
- In the "Network" window, find the name of your VPN router and click "Connect".
- Connect your Roku device to your Mac hotspot rather than your regular router.
- On the ExpressVPN dashboard, select the desired server location and click the big power button to connect to it.
Configure a VPN directly on a router
Here we have a more detailed guide on installing a VPN directly on your router. Here's how to set up a VPN connection on your physical router on the ExpressVPN example if you're looking for the high-level instructions:
- Purchase a suitable subscription from the official ExpressVPN website.
- Select your router model from the suggestions and click "Download Firmware". If your router model is not listed, you will need to configure a virtual VPN router.
- You will see a window with an activation code. Copy it or leave the browser tab open. You will need the code later.
- Log in to your router's administration panel. By default, you can access it by entering "192.168.1.1" in your browser's address bar. The default login credentials are "admin/admin". If that doesn't work, look for instructions in your router's user manual.
The following 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.
- Find Manual Software Update, click “Download,” then select the ExpressVPN firmware file from your download folder.
- Once the firmware file is downloaded, restart your router.
For Linksys routers, the steps are slightly different:
- In the left sidebar, select "Connectivity".
- Click on “Choose file”.
- Select the ExpressVPN firmware file from your device's download folder and download it, then click "Start".
- Click "Yes" and then "Ok" when prompted to initiate the reboot of the router.
If you have a Netgear router, set up ExpressVPN using the instructions below:
- Navigate to the "Advanced" tab on the main page of your router's admin panel.
- Click on “Administration”, then “Router update”.
- Click "Browse" and select the ExpressVPN firmware file you downloaded earlier.
- Click "Download", then "OK" and wait for your router to restart automatically.
Finally, head to the ExpressVPN dashboard and select the desired server location from the suggested list. Then click the big power button to connect to the server.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad from PC
Setting up a VPN on a Windows PC to watch BBC iPlayer is quite simple. We will demonstrate how to do this in the ExpressVPN example. Follow the steps below:
- Subscribe to ExpressVPN and follow the onscreen instructions to sign up.
- On the dashboard, click "Download for Windows". Keep the browser window open, as it contains an activation code that you will need shortly.
- Open your "Downloads" folder and locate the "expressvpn_windows" file. Double-click it and follow the on-screen installation instructions.
- Once 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 drop-down menu under the big power button. Select the desired server location and click the power button to connect.
On Mac computers, the steps are slightly different:
- Subscribe to ExpressVPN and register by following the on-screen instructions. On the dashboard, click "Download for Mac".
- You will see an activation code. Copy it or leave the browser window open.
- Find the ExpressVPN installer file on your PC and double-click it. Click "Continue", then "Continue" and "Install" to start the installation. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete it.
- Once the installation is complete, open the application and click "Connect". Enter your account credentials, then paste the activation code you copied in step 2.
- Give ExpressVPN the necessary permissions if needed.
- On the app 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 have 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 the onscreen instructions to sign up.
- Head to the AppStore and search for ExpressVPN, then tap "Get".
- Once the installation is complete, open the app and tap "Connect". Enter your account information and tap "Login" 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 press 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 it with ExpressVPN:
- Subscribe to ExpressVPN and register the account by following the on-screen instructions.
- In Google Play Store, search for the ExpressVPN app and download it.
- Once the application is installed, open it and press "Connection".
- Enter your account information and tap "Login" again.
- Grant login permission to the app when prompted.
- On the app's dashboard, select a server location and press the big 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 the UK, you need to connect to a UK server through a VPN.
Is it illegal to watch BBC iPlayer abroad?
Watching BBC iPlayer outside the UK is not illegal. There is no rule against using VPN services. However, you need to buy the official BBC iPlayer license if you want to watch it.
Watch content without restrictions
Hope our guide helped you to watch the desired shows on BBC iPlayer. Besides giving you access to region-restricted content, a VPN has many other benefits. For example, it keeps your data private and prevents bandwidth throttling. So, by setting up a VPN, you have killed several birds with one stone.
What are your favorite BBC iPlayer shows? Share in the comments section below.