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How to watch BBC iPlayer in USA 2023 with a VPN

You cannot talk about online streaming services without mentioning BBC iPlayer. The platform boasts of an incredible library including my best TV show of all time, Peaky Blinders. You have not seen a man truly get into character until you see Cillian Murphy play Thomas Shelby in the Crime Series.

It gets better. BBC iPlayer is absolutely free to watch. The bad news is that the streaming service is only available in the UK. Officially!

The good news is that you can use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA or anywhere else abroad.

Follow along as we discuss the step-by-step process of how to watch BBC iPlayer in the US in 2023.

Steps to watch BBC iPlayer in the US
  1. Choose the best VPN for BBC iPlayer and sign up. You can’t just pick any VPN because some get detected and blocked. NordVPN is our top recommended solution for BBC iPlayer.
  2. Launch the VPN and connect to any UK server.
  3. On your browser, go to BBC iPlayer’s website and create an account.
  4. Done. The streaming platform is completely free to use.

Why do you need a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer in the US

Due to copyright and streaming rights issues, BBC iPlayer can only be streamed officially in the UK. So, when you try to connect to the service, it first checks your IP address to determine your location.

BBC iPlayer error message

An IP address is a unique number that is assigned to the device that you use to connect to the internet. It contains your location information as well as the name of your Internet Service Provider.

A VPN helps fool BBC iPlayer by hiding your real IP address and assigning you a new IP based on the location that you choose.

By connecting to a UK VPN server, you can stream all types of content on BBC iPlayer without having to pay a subscription. And if you already have a Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, a VPN will also help you unlock geo-restricted content.

Not to mention, a VPN encrypts all your internet traffic so that nobody including your ISP or online spies can see what you are doing online.

How to watch BBC iPlayer anywhere via different devices

Before you can begin watching BBC iPlayer on your device, you need to have a BBC iPlayer account.

How to open a BBC iPlayer account without a TV license

  1. Launch your VPN and connect to a UK server. NordVPN has over 440 servers distributed across 4 cities. This is great for reducing server congestion and ensuring optimum streaming speeds, BBC iPlayer sign in option
  2. On the next window click on register now to begin the process. You will be prompted for your email address, a password, and a UK postal code. Just enter any random UK postal code and hit the register button. Register with BBC
  3. Verify your email. BBC verify email
  4. You are done. You can now start streaming on BBC iPlayer. When a pop-up may appear asking if you have a TV license. Just say Yes. BBC iPlayer relies on a Trust system and doesn’t verify your details. BBC final step

How to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA on any device (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)

The best way to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK is by using your browser. The streaming platform has a BBC iPlayer app for iOS and Android but, even after changing your virtual location to the UK, you have to change your Google Play Store and Apple App Store locations to the UK to download the app.

This is an intricate process that involves changing your payment methods and it cannot be reversed immediately after you have downloaded BBC iPlayer.

Google Play location pop up

Also changing your App store location means you can’t access certain apps that are only available in your real location.

Watch BBC iPlayer anywhere on smart TV

If you are using an Android Smart TV then the process is similar to watching BBC iPlayer on your Android phone.

  1. Download and install the VPN of your choice from the TV’s app store. We recommend NordVPN for its great streaming speeds and proven record of unblocking BBC iPlayer.
  2. Connect to a UK server and then open up BBC iPlayer on your TV browser.

If your TV is not Android, then it means it does not natively support VPN apps. In this case, you will need to set up custom DNS settings. The process will vary depending on your mobile type.

  1. Go to TV network settings and choose manual DNS setup. This is usually under IP address settings or Advanced Network Settings. IP settings
  2. Enter the DNS settings provided by your VPN service provider. You can access the DNS settings through your VPN account.
  3. Done, you can now use your TV to stream BBC iPlayer by opening the website on your browser.

Alternatively, you can set up your VPN on your router allowing your smart TV to enjoy VPN benefits every time it’s connected to the router.

What if BBC iPlayer does not work with a VPN

What if you have connected to a UK VPN server but BBC iPlayer is not working? Here are a few reasons why BBC iPlayer may not be working with a VPN and how to fix them.

  • The VPN you are using lacks special features to avoid detection by BBC iPlayer – In this case, you will need a top streaming VPN such as NordVPN with a proven track record of unblocking all the top streaming services.
  • BBC iPlayer detected and blocked your IP address – This could either be because of DNS/IP-address leaking or that too many people are using the same IP address to access the platform. The secret is to reconnect to a different working server. NordVPN comes with over 400 servers in 4 different UK cities to choose from. It also comes with DNS and IPv6 leak protection.
  • BBC iPlayer cookies saved on your browser contain information about your real location – To solve this, clear your browser cookies and make sure you are connected to a UK server before opening BBC iPlayer.

You can also contact your VPN’s customer support to get help with choosing the right server. NordVPN is available through 24/7 live chat support and replies in mere minutes.

How to watch BBC iPlayer in USA with free VPN

Can you watch BBC iPlayer in the USA using a free VPN? Yes, but it comes with major downsides. For starters, free VPN servers are usually swamped. Competition for bandwidth means crazy slow internet connection leading to buffering and low-quality video when streaming.

Then here is something for you to ponder. To run a VPN service you need servers. Servers are either leased or bought and they need constant maintenance of their software and hardware parts. They also need electricity. And these are just a few costs off the top of my head.

So, if you are using the service for free how are the VPN providers raising the money to run the service?

High chances are they are harvesting your data and selling it to advertisers, corporate marketing departments, and other interested parties.

There have also been cases of free VPN providers getting paid to infect users with malware.

If you want to watch BBC iPlayer with a free VPN, then your best bet is with freemiums. These are limited versions of premium VPNs that offer limited services in a bid to encourage you to upgrade to the paid plan. Unfortunately, some of the limitations imposed include; speed cap, data cap, and limited servers which will affect your streaming experience.

A better alternative is to use a premium VPN that offers a money-back guarantee. For instance, NordVPN lets you try out their services for 30 days and if you are not satisfied you can request a refund. No questions asked. Android users also get a 7-day free trial that works on all devices.

BBC iPlayer has a specific provision that prohibits the use of VPNs to access the platform outside the UK. However, nobody is yet to get punished for using a VPN. In fact, it is estimated that over 60 million people use an unblocker to access BBC iPlayer from outside the UK.

The worst that the company has done is to employ VPN detection systems that block known VPN IP addresses. But, this shouldn’t be a problem if you are using a top BBC iPlayer VPN like NordVPN since they will quickly replace the blacklisted IP addresses as soon as they are discovered.

Wondering what’s good on BBC iPlayer? Here is a list of top content including movies, TV shows, animations, documentaries, and sports events that you can watch on BBC iPlayer. This is just the tip of the iceberg, the BBC iPlayer catalog is unbelievable.

You can also watch live UK TV including BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, CBBC, CBeebies, and BBC News.

TV ShowsMoviesAnimationsDocumentariesSports
  • Peaky blinders
  • Dr. Who
  • His Dark Materials
  • The Bridge
  • Staged
  • Killing Eve
  • Gossip Girl
  • Superman & Lois
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • The Pursuit of Love
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Dunkirk
  • The Notebook
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • The Gangster
  • The Cop
  • The Devil Schindler’s list
  • Gunpowder
  • Dragon Ball Super
  • Shrek
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Oz the Great and Powerful
  • Madagascar: Escape to Africa
  • How to train your Dragon
  • Early Man
  • Putin vs the West
  • Blue Planet I & II
  • The Green Planet
  • Top Gear
  • Once Were Lions
  • The Trials of Oscar Pistorius
  • Driven: The Billy Monger Story
  • Formula 1
  • Racing Six
  • Nation Men’s Rugby
  • NBA
  • Rugby U
  • FA Women’s Super League
  • Scottish Championship
  • Horse Racing


A VPN is the easiest and surest way to unblock BBC iPlayer if you are outside the UK. And the best part is that you get added benefits such as privacy and security through encryption and a no-logs policy.

However, make sure that you have chosen a tested and proven streaming VPN to avoid disappointments. Some VPNs will claim to help you unblock BBC iPlayer only for you to get hit with the “BBC only works in the UK” error when you try to use them. To avoid such issues, use our top service, NordVPN.


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