How to Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA in 2023

BBC iPlayer is a UK-based streaming service available only for UK residents and geo-blocked for the rest of the world. It employs strong geo-block mechanisms to prevent anyone outside the UK from streaming its content. That said, all hope is not lost. The trick to get BBC iPlayer in the USA is to use a VPN.

Streaming services such as BBC iPlayer can determine your location based on your connection's metadata and IP address. That's exactly what a VPN helps you change by routing your traffic through UK-based servers. So, you'll get to stream BBC iPlayer as if you were in the UK.

In this guide, you'll find detailed instructions on how to watch BBC iPlayer in the US, which VPN to use to unblock iPlayer, how to troubleshoot technical issues, and we'll also provide plenty of tips and tricks along the way. Let's jump right in!

How to Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA with a VPN

To watch BBC iPlayer in the USA, you must first connect to a UK-based VPN server. When you get your British IP, you can access iPlayer without restrictions. Follow these steps:

1. Get a VPN that can unblock iPlayer in the USA (we recommend ExpressVPN). 

2. Download and install the VPN on the device(s) you'll use to stream iPlayer.

3. Launch the VPN app and connect to a server in the United Kingdom.

Connecting to a Server in the UK via ExpressVPN

4. Visit iPlayer’s website to sign in or sign up

BBC iPlayer Home Screen

5. Return to iPlayer’s home page and pick any title you want to watch.

6. When asked if you have a UK TV license, confirm that you do.

iPlayer Asking for TV License

7. Decide if you want to turn on iPlayer’s Parental Guidance lock.

iPlayer Asking for Parental Guidance Controls

8. Press "Play," and the chosen title will begin to stream. That's it!

Watching BBC iPlayer Outside the UK via ExpressVPN

BBC iPlayer requires a British TV license, which means that citizens of the UK already pay for the BBC (which covers iPlayer as well). Keep in mind that those who declare that they have a TV license (when, in fact, they don’t) face a penalty of £1,000. However, no one has ever been prosecuted for watching iPlayer without a license. 

Why Do You Need a VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA?

You need a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA as that's the most reliable way to obtain a UK IP address. Once you get your UK IP, you'll unblock iPlayer without a single issue.

More precisely, if you visit iPlayer’s site, you’ll see that its content is freely available. However, you’ll encounter a problem before streaming any movie or TV show. The following error message will appear: “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.” 

BBC iPlayer Geo-Block Error Message
iPlayer shows you an error message if you're outside the UK.

No matter if you try using a different browser or hiding yourself using your browser’s Incognito mode, BBC iPlayer will always see your location. To trick the streaming service into thinking you’re somewhere else, you must change your IP address

That’s where VPNs come into play. You can use a VPN to change your IP address by connecting to a server in the United Kingdom. You’ll get an IP address associated with that country, giving you access to British websites unavailable elsewhere, including BBC iPlayer.

Furthermore, keep in mind that not every VPN works with iPlayer. It’s not all that difficult to unblock that streaming service, but a more capable BBC iPlayer VPN will give you a better streaming experience overall. More precisely, our #1 recommendation is ExpressVPN.

Best VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA

To pinpoint the best VPN for watching BBC iPlayer in the USA, you need to follow certain criteria. That said, the most important thing is to get a VPN that unblocks iPlayer and other streaming services. To make that happen, your chosen VPN needs a healthy number of servers in the UK, as well as in many other countries as possible.

Then, pay attention to performance and speed, as you'll be using a VPN for streaming. It's also crucial to have access to obfuscated servers and a kill switch, helping you bypass BBC iPlayer's geo-blocks. And let's not forget about privacy and security features. Pay attention to a no-logs policy, VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard), and encryption (AES-256).

Want to stream iPlayer from multiple devices? Having a sufficient number of simultaneous connections will do the trick, but also make sure your VPN covers all your devices. Lastly, a solid money-back guarantee will make your purchase risk-free - but 24/7 customer support should be your first go-to resource.

Based on the criteria explained above, these are the 3 best VPNs to watch BBC iPlayer in the US:

  1. ExpressVPN - Our #1-Rated VPN for Watching BBC iPlayer in the US
  2. NordVPN - Unblock iPlayer in the US on Any Device
  3. CyberGhost VPN - Budget VPN for Streaming iPlayer in the US

1. ExpressVPN - Our #1-Rated VPN for Watching BBC iPlayer in the US

Editor's Pick
Apple TV
Amazon Fire TV
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Without a single doubt, ExpressVPN is the best VPN available today to unblock BBC iPlayer on any device you have. It unblocks iPlayer with ease, as well as other UK-based platforms like ITVX, All4, and more. It even lets you unblock international versions of US-based services like Netflix and Disney+.

This VPN has 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries. When it comes to the UK, you'll find hundreds of servers in Docklands, East London, London, Midlands, and Wembley. All of its UK servers are optimized for streaming, so you won't any roadblocks there. On top of that, its entire global server network consists of obfuscated servers.

Then, let's not forget that ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN available today, according to our own tests. It also delivers in terms of privacy and security. ExpressVPN has an audited no-logs policy, a set of strong VPN protocols (led by OpenVPN and WireGuard), and high-end encryption (AES-256, no matter which protocol you decide to use.

You'll also get to use up to 5 simultaneous connections. And in case of any technical issues, know that ExpressVPN has a 24/7 live chat customer system, in addition to a 30-day money-back policy. So, yes - this truly is the best VPN to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA.


  • Hundreds of UK servers.
  • Unblocks iPlayer with ease.
  • Fastest VPN available.
  • Really simple to use.
  • 24/7 live chat support.


  • 5 simultaneous connections.

2. NordVPN - Unblock iPlayer in the US on Any Device

Amazon Fire TV
Nintendo Switch
All game consoles
Parallel Connections
Live Chat

NordVPN is a long-standing VPN brand known for unblocking BBC iPlayer from any corner of the world. More precisely, this VPN bypasses any type of geo-blocks, which means other UK-based services are on offer as well (ITVX, Channel 4, and more).

If you become a NordVPN user, you'll gain access to 5,500+ servers in 60 countries. There are 440+ servers in the UK, spread across 3 locations: London, Manchester, and Edinburgh. Even though only some of the servers are obfuscated, they all work with iPlayer just fine.

This is also a very fast VPN service. Since you'll be connecting to UK-based servers from the US, you can count on reliable speeds with minimal throttling. That said, connecting to overly remote servers might make your Web connection slower in a noticeable way.

Aside from streaming, this VPN has a different, equally powerful side. We're talking about privacy and security here. There's a no-logs policy, which has been audited many times in the past. Also, there are protocols such as OpenVPN and NordLynx (WireGuard). And, of course, there's ultra-strong AES-256 encryption.

NordVPN gives you 6 simultaneous connections and works on practically any device. You also get a 30-day money-back policy, regardless of your chosen plan. And if any issues arise, you can turn to NordVPN's 24/7 live chat customer support.


  • Unblocks iPlayer with ease.
  • 440+ servers in the UK.
  • Strong privacy features.
  • Modern-looking apps.
  • 24/7 live chat support.


  • Overly remote servers can be slow.

3. CyberGhost VPN - Budget VPN for Streaming iPlayer in the US

Apple TV
Amazon Fire TV
Samsung Smart TV
All game consoles
All smart TVs
Parallel Connections
Live Chat

CyberGhost VPN supports dozens of streaming services. So, it's no wonder that it works with iPlayer every single time. Unlike most other VPNs, this one has specialized servers for streaming. So, bypassing geo-blocks on iPlayer, ITVX, and Netflix UK will never be an issue.

Speaking of its server network, CyberGhost has 9,500+ servers in 90+ countries. Close to 800 servers are in the UK alone, in London, Manchester, and Berkshire. Sadly, CyberGhost doesn't support obfuscation on its servers, so its functionality isn't great in overly restrictive countries. Still, since we're talking about how to watch BBC iPlayer in the US, that shouldn't be a problem.

Even though it's very fast, CyberGhost comes behind NordVPN and ExpressVPN in terms of speed and performance. It should let you stream iPlayer with no throttling. However, having a fast Web connection should certainly help.

When it comes to its privacy and security, you'll see that CyberGhost truly delivers. It has a freshly audited no-logs policy, uses OpenVPN and WireGuard for its protocols, and features AES-256 encryption.

You also get 7 simultaneous connections, which seems quite generous. What's also generous is CyberGhost's 45-day money-back policy, which applies to its long-term plans. Finally, there's also 24/7 live chat support, as you can expect from any reputable VPN brand these days.


  • Works with iPlayer.
  • Great for media streaming.
  • 7 parallel connections.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • 45-day money-back policy.


  • Slower than its competitors.
  • No obfuscation.

How to Watch BBC iPlayer in the US on Your Devices

To watch BBC iPlayer on your devices, you'll first need to set up your VPN. Then, connect to a UK server, which is when you'll get to access iPlayer.

Don't worry; we offer guides for various popular platforms, so check them out below.

Watch BBC iPlayer on Windows & Mac

There are two ways to stream BBC iPlayer in the US on your Windows or Mac computer. The easiest way is to use iPlayer’s website, which you can do in the following way: 

  1. Subscribe to a VPN that can unblock iPlayer, such as ExpressVPN.
  2. Then, install your chosen VPN on your Windows or Mac computer.
  3. Launch the VPN and connect to a UK-based server.
  4. Use your favorite Web browser to access iPlayer.
  5. Click "Sign In," visible at the top of the page.
  6. Then, either sign in or register for a new account.
  7. Return to iPlayer’s start page and stream any title. That’s it!

Aside from streaming iPlayer’s content via its website, you can also use its app for Windows and macOS to download its content. Here’s how that is done: 

  1. You need a VPN to download iPlayer’s content, like ExpressVPN.
  2. Sign up, and then download and install the VPN on your computer.
  3. Open the app and connect to any server found in the UK.
  4. Download the BBC iPlayer Downloads app for Windows or Mac.
  5. Launch the application. It should say "Connected to BBC."
  6. Return to iPlayer’s website and make sure to log-in or sign-up.
  7. Pick any movie or TV show and click "Download" below the title's description.
  8. Wait until the content downloads, and feel free to play it

Watch BBC iPlayer on Android

Android users are in luck because they can install the BBC iPlayer app manually. So, here are the steps to take to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA on Android: 

  1. Subscribe to a VPN that works with Android (we recommend ExpressVPN).
  2. Then, install your VPN from Google's Play Store.
  3. On your smartphone, download iPlayer’s APK file (APKPureAPKMirror).
  4. Tap on the downloaded file and then install the app manually
  5. Before you open iPlayer, make sure to open the VPN first.
  6. Connect to any server in the United Kingdom.
  7. Launch iPlayer and pick any title you’d like to stream.
  8. Sign in or sign up, and your chosen title will begin playing. 

If you don’t wish to use the iPlayer app, you can always use Chrome or any other Web browser. Luckily, iPlayer’s website works on smartphones just fine, but you’ll still need a VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer outside the United Kingdom.

Watch BBC iPlayer on iOS

Due to certain limitations of iOS and iPadOS, downloading the iPlayer app is a highly complex procedure if you're outside the UK. So, if you watch BBC iPlayer on your iPhone, we recommend doing this: 

  1. Subscribe to a VPN that works with iOS (go with ExpressVPN). 
  2. You now need to install your VPN on your iPhone from the App Store.
  3. Launch the app, log in, and finalize the initial set-up procedure.
  4. Pick any server in the United Kingdom and connect to it. 
  5. Then, launch Safari or any other iOS/iPadOS Web browser.
  6. Proceed to visit iPlayer’s website and pick any title.
  7. Then, access your iPlayer account or sign up for a new one.
  8. Your chosen title will now begin streaming. 

If you wish to use iPlayer’s app for iOS and iPadOS, you’ll need an Apple account registered to an address in the United Kingdom. That’s definitely a more complex way to go, but if you have some time on your hands, it’s worth trying it out.

The trick is to sign up for a new Apple ID and use any UK-based address when filling out your details. Then, use the Settings app to log out of your old Apple ID. Once you log into your new Apple ID, you'll get access to the British version of the App Store. Of course, you'll need to have your VPN enabled at all times.

Watch BBC iPlayer on Roku

Roku allows you to install BBC iPlayer as a channel. However, you'll need to have a UK Roku account. So, here are the steps to take to watch iPlayer in the USA on Roku:

  1. First, install the BBC iPlayer channel on your Roku.
  2. Then, make sure that you have a VPN router.
  3. Pick a VPN that works on routers, like ExpressVPN.
  4. Proceed to set up your VPN on your router.
  5. Make sure to configure a UK-based VPN server on your router.
  6. Restart your router to obtain a UK-based IP address.
  7. Ensure your Roku is connected to the Internet using your router.
  8. Ensure that your Roku account is registered to a UK address.
  9. Access BBC iPlayer, and you'll get to unblock its content in the USA.

As you can see, the procedure explained above requires you to have a VPN router. So, if you’re not willing to go through that investment, there’s an alternative. You can install a VPN on your phone, tablet, or computer. Then, you can screen-mirror your device to Roku.

To learn more about screen-casting and screen-mirroring on Roku, turn to this Roku support page. You’ll be happy to know that Roku supports Chromecast and AirPlay, two of the world’s most popular media casting technologies.

Watch BBC iPlayer on Firestick

You need two things to get BBC iPlayer in the USA on a Firestick. You need a VPN app and a way to sideload iPlayer, which is done in the following way: 

  1. Subscribe to a VPN that works with Firestick (our pick is ExpressVPN).
  2. Then, download your chosen VPN from Amazon's App Store.
  3. Launch the VPN on your Firestick and log in to your account.
  4. Use its interface to connect to a server in the UK.
  5. Also, make sure to sign up for iPlayer on the Web.
  6. Return to your Firestick and navigate to Find > Search
  7. Search for ‘Downloader.’ Download and install that app.
  8. Before you launch Downloader, go to your Fire TV Stick’s Settings
  9. Navigate to My Fire TV > Developer Options > Install Unknown Apps.
  10. Click on the Downloader app and set its permission to ‘ON.’
  11. Now, launch Downloader. Input this URL on its home page:
  12. Download the BBC iPlayer app. Once done, select ‘Install.’
  13. Launch the BBC iPlayer app. Sign in, and that's it!

It's true that getting BBC iPlayer on your Firestick isn't the simplest procedure. That's because it involves sideloading the app on your streaming device. That procedure won't be as smooth for some users, so you'll need to try various BBC iPlayer APK files.

We recommend turning to this online forum, where a number of iPlayer APK files can be found. Many of those are extracted from Amazon’s App Store and altered to fix all kinds of error codes. So, try your luck with multiple files.

Watch BBC iPlayer on Chromecast

The easiest way to watch BBC iPlayer on a Chromecast is to use the iPlayer app on your phone. So, no matter if you have an Android device, iPhone, or iPad, follow these steps:

  1. Get an iPlayer-friendly VPN service (go for ExpressVPN).
  2. Install and open the VPN app.
  3. Connect to a server in the United Kingdom.
  4. Open the iPlayer app and start streaming any title.
  5. The "Cast" icon will appear, letting you pick your Chromecast. That's it!

You can also cast from a computer using the Chrome browser. This feature already comes built-in, so here's how to add the Cast button to the Chrome toolbar.

Watch BBC iPlayer on Smart TV

Most smart TVs don't support VPN services, which means you'll need a workaround. The best option would be to install a VPN on a router. That way, your smart TV's traffic will be router from a UK server, giving you access to iPlayer. Do the following:

  1. Get a BBC iPlayer VPN that works on routers (we recommend ExpressVPN).
  2. Set up the VPN on your router using a UK-based VPN server.
  3. Connect your smart TV to your VPN-enabled Wi-Fi network.
  4. Visit your TV's settings and ensure its region is set to "United Kingdom."
  5. Go to your TV's App Store and download iPlayer.
  6. Launch iPlayer, log in, and stream any content.

Watch BBC iPlayer on an Apple TV

The apps you see on tvOS’ App Store are based on the region of your Apple account. So, to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA, you need to have a UK-based account. Do the following:

  • Create a new Apple ID with a UK address
  • Pick a capable VPN for your Apple TV, like ExpressVPN.
  • Then, install your chosen VPN on your router.
  • Return to your Apple TV and log in using your UK-based Apple ID.
  • Navigate to tvOS’ App Store and download BBC iPlayer
  • Launch the app and follow the on-screen prompts to log in. That's it!

Since Apple TV is based on a closed and restricted platform (tvOS), getting iPlayer to work can be tiresome. As you can see above, you need a UK-based Apple ID (which means you won't use your primary account). Aside from that, you need a VPN router, which can be a significant investment. 

That said, many of you will be after a simpler solution. If you have an iPhone, you can mirror your phone’s screen to your Apple TV. That way, you don’t have to create a UK-based Apple ID. You also won’t need a dedicated VPN router.

How to Register for BBC iPlayer in America

Registering a new iPlayer account is easy. You don’t even need a VPN for that. The easiest way is to register online, done using the following steps: 

  • Using any Web browser, navigate to the BBC iPlayer website.
  • Click "Sign In," visible in the top-left corner.
BBC iPlayer Home Screen
  • Then, click "Register Now" (just under "Don’t Have a BBC Account?"). 
Signing In to BBC iPlayer
  • When asked about your age, go with "16 or Over."
Age Restriction When Signing Up for iPlayer
  • Enter your date of birth
Registering Date of Birth BBC Account
  • Provide your email address and password
Registering for BBC iPlayer Account
  • Select "United Kingdom" as your country. Input any UK ZIP code.
  • Click "Register" to finalize the process. That’s it!

Using your newly created BBC account, you can access iPlayer on practically any device (via the service’s website or app). With that said, having a BBC account is a requirement for watching iPlayer, so it’s best to register on the Web (as that’s the most convenient method available). 

What Can You Watch on BBC iPlayer? 

BBC iPlayer lets you watch a range of TV channels live, on-demand movies and TV shows, and there's plenty of sports content as well. And yes, all of that is available free of charge.

In terms of the available live TV channels and live streams, you'll find practically all national and some regional BBC channels on iPlayer. Here's the full list:

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • BBC Four
  • CBBC
  • CBeebies
  • BBC News
  • BBC Scotland
  • S4C
  • BBC Parliament
  • Radio 1
  • BBC Alba

Then, there's a vast selection of TV shows, with new titles arriving daily. These are some of the most popular (and currently available) TV shows on BBC iPlayer:

BBC iPlayer - Popular TV Shows
Title Year Genre
Strictly Come Dancing 2004- Game-show; Music; Reality TV.
Bloodlands 2021- Crime; Drama; Thriller.
Inside Man 2022 Drama; Mystery; Thriller.
RuPaul's Drag Race UK 2019- Game-show; Reality TV.
Crossfire 2022 Crime; Drama; Thriller.
Wreck 2022- Comedy; Horror; Mystery; Thriller.
Ghosts 2019- Comedy; Fantasy.
Am I Being Unreasonable? 2022- Comedy; Thriller.
Ralph & Katie 2022- Drama.
The Graham Norton Show 2007- Comedy; Music; Talk-Show.
The Elon Musk Show 2022 Documentary.
Frozen Planet II 2022 Documentary.

BBC iPlayer Not Working in the US with a VPN – How to Fix

Even if BBC iPlayer refuses to grant you access from the US with a VPN, there's plenty you can do. For example, try another server or another protocol, and clear your cache.

Here's more detailed information on how to make BBC iPlayer work with your VPN:

  • Switch to Another VPN Server: Sometimes, it's not enough to connect to a UK-based server. Even if that server used to unblock iPlayer, it might encounter technical problems that prevent it from working this time around. So, feel free to try more servers. 
  • Switch to Another VPN Protocol: We’ve been using iPlayer for a very long time now, relying on VPN protocols such as OpenVPN and WireGuard. Each protocol handles your data differently, as each is paired with a different type of VPN encryption. So, we recommend visiting your VPN app's settings and trying other protocols. 
  • Clear Your Device’s Cache Data: If you’ve been trying to access iPlayer in the past, that website has probably stored temporary (cache) data on your device. So, even if you use a VPN, that cache is what prevents iPlayer from working. Based on which Web browser or device you use, try removing its cache data. 
  • Try Using ‘Incognito’ Mode: Streaming services like iPlayer continuously evolve their anti-VPN mechanisms. That's why even the best VPNs need a bit of help to unblock iPlayer at times. Based on our experience, when nothing else seems to work, using a Web browser's Incognito or Private mode can push your VPN to unblock iPlayer in the US.
  • Turn to Your VPN for Support: If nothing else helps, remember that you can always turn to your VPN for additional support. VPNs such as ExpressVPN come with 24/7-available live chat support, which is the fastest way to resolve your technical issues.

If you’re willing to try other possible solutions, here's our guide that explains why your VPN doesn't work - with plenty of actionable tips and tricks.

Can You Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA for Free?

No, there is currently no way to watch BBC iPlayer in the US for free. That's because even though free VPN services exist, they don't work with iPlayer. In fact, we strongly recommend staying away from free VPNs as far as possible.

Free VPNs have various bandwidth and data limitations, making them unsuitable for streaming. Then, they can leak your data, interrupting your streaming every single time. So, you'll end up with a very frustrating streaming experience without a chance to stream anything for more than a few minutes.

What you need is a premium VPN - and just any but the best VPN service. Premium VPNs have unlimited bandwidth, optimized performance, and various features designed to bypass geo-blocks and let you watch BBC iPlayer in the USA. No free VPN that can promise the same.

Final Thoughts

BBC iPlayer brings a treasure trove of content, featuring a slate of blockbusters and hugely popular shows, among other things. That said, you'll be glad to know that you can watch BBC iPlayer in the USA using a VPN without resorting to any complicated workarounds.

In the end, we'll remind you that we recommend ExpressVPN for iPlayer, as that's the best option you have right now. ExpressVPN comes with many UK-based servers, works every single time, and works on practically any device imaginable.


Can You Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA?

Yes, you can watch BBC iPlayer in the USA using a VPN. That's because a VPN will give you a British IP, which is required to access and stream via BBC iPlayer.

Does BBC iPlayer Work in the USA?

Yes, BBC iPlayer works in the USA through a VPN service. Connect to a VPN server in the United Kingdom, and your access to iPlayer will become uninterrupted.

Is BBC iPlayer Available in America?

No, BBC iPlayer is not available in America. However, you can use a VPN service to bypass that geo-block and stream iPlayer without any restrictions. 

Can You Watch BBC One in the USA?

Yes, you can watch BBC One in the US using a VPN. Obtain a UK IP using a UK-based server, and then access BBC iPlayer where you can stream BBC One live.

Is BBC iPlayer Free to Watch?

Yes, BBC iPlayer is free to watch for anyone in the United Kingdom. The only requirement is to have a BBC account, which you can sign up for free.

That would be all on how to watch BBC iPlayer in the US for free. If you have any questions, let us know via the comments section below. Thank you for reading!

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