Watch BBC iPlayer Outside The UK
If you love UK programming from channels like ITV, Channel 4 or Demand 5 and live in a place where you can't get them (or the ones you want) then BBC iPlayer is a great service to have access to! It's available in the UK and allows you tosee the past week’s programming right on your laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone.
There is one tiny problem – you can’t watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK. Update: They now stream to some countries in Europe, but the rest of the world is still unable to access the streaming content on the site.
iPlayer is a particularly cool service because you can access all of the BBC channels in one area, including BBC One throughFour, and lots of sports coverage. (I'm not sure if you need a separate subscription to actually stream from BBC Sport). There are other streaming players in the UK like Sky but none are quite as ubiquitous and well known as the BBC. This is a great program to get access to, even for non-British!
The Problem Is IP!
IP restriction is very common for online streaming players, and we see the same thing with Netflix, Hulu, and other British sites like ITV and Channel 4.
The solution is all the same – connect to a VPN and change your IP. VPNs are very commonly used for accessing blocked sites. Sites may have been blocked by the government, by the company itself, or you might have been blocked for whatever reason. Regardless, they are just machines, and if you change your “identifier”, they don't know your real identity.
There are many VPN services that offer UK IPs for a reasonable price ($5-$12 per month), but my #1 recommendation right now is VyprVPN from GoldenFrog. That link goes to a review, so you can see exactly what they offer. I really like this service mostly because of their apps. Installing a VPN and getting it to work can be a bit of a chore for people that aren't tech savvy, and VyprVPN's app takes the guesswork out of it. Their apps work for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows.
For streaming from other devices like internet TVs, streaming devices like Apple TV or Chromecast, and even gaming devices like PS3-4, Xbox One, and Nintendo DS, you'll need to get creative, and probably need a laptop or other VPN compatible device. The trick is to stream the content to your VPN ready device (like an iPhone), then project it on your TV or console. If you've ever used Apple's Airplay, then I'm sure you can imagine how that works.
What Else is a VPN?
A VPN is a virtual private network, which means it is a tunnel of sorts. The VPN service provider sends your data through to their servers located in the UK, which in turn gives you computer the UK IP. The VPN server will also encrypt your data and keep it safe from malicious content or identity theft.
If you are just looking to stream shows on iPlayer, the security features may not interest you, but they are an added bonus, especially if you are streaming in public places like cafe wifi, shared dorm internet, or while you're traveling.
How To Get Started with iPlayer Outside the UK
You are going to need a VPN service with servers in the UK. You'll also need one that's accessible in your country. Some places block VPNs like China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and other Asian/Middle Eastern countries (government restriction). However, most countries allow access. Choose one that fits your budget and allows for the time frame you're looking for. Most offer 1-month subscriptions with options for discounts if you sign up for 6 months or a year in advance.