Want to watch BBC iPlayer from outside of the UK? Read on to find out how access UK TV when you're abroad.
We expect that you have landed on this page because you are traveling abroad and you want to watch UK TV via the catchup services such as BBC iPlayer or perhaps 4oD and ITV Hub. The good news is that this is entirely possible, although we should point out that you are technically breaking the rights agreement reached between rights holder and broadcaster. Arguably, if you are usually a resident of the UK (and a TV Licence payer), you are at least morally in the right. See also: Do I need a TV Licence?
BBC iPlayer lets you stream high-quality TV and radio shows, as well as movies. It is, however, limited to UK viewers, which means - in principle - you can only watch it from inside the UK. But there are ways to watch BBC iPlayer from outside of the UK, perhaps while on holiday or for those living abroad.
iPlayer knows where you are in the world when you visit by checking your public IP (Internet Protocol) address. The figure relates to your internet service provider or cellular connection. If it determines that your IP address is not in the UK, you will not be able to access content without using the following methods.
How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad: User a VPN
The easiest way to watch BBC iPlayer abroad is to use a VPN such as NordVPN.
VPNs (virtual private networks) are used for many purposes, as they allow you to surf the internet with anonymously and protect your privacy. They can also be used to virtually relocate your computer or mobile device by offering access to an IP address from the region you require. This is where they can come in handy for watching BBC iPlayer and other UK TV abroad.
You can find out more about VPNs and take a look at our pick of the services available in our best VPNs article.
Once you've got your chosen VPN service up and running, you'll need to set it to the UK and go to the BBC iPlayer webpage to start watching.
How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad: Change DNS Settings
If you want to get UK TV via the browser on your Xbox or PlayStation then you will need to fiddle with some DNS settings. If you head to the network settings of the console/device and manually configure the settings then you can enter a primary and secondary DNS (Domain Name Servers) numbers.
You can search the internet for these (they change fairly regularly) and DroidKit has a good list which you can try. They are free but easily get clogged up and slow, and occasionally send you to someone's own site rather than your desired TV source in an attempt to sell you VPN software or something worse.
BBC iPlayer and the UK TV Licence
From 1 September 2016 the BBC requires that anyone using iPlayer is a UK TV Licence holder. For now all that happens is you are prompted to answer whether or not you have a UK TV Licence, but from early 2017 you will be required to hold a free BBC account. Part of the signup process will involve inputting a UK postcode, though the BBC says this will not be used to enforce the licence fee.