The BBC iPlayer is one of the best online sources for streaming TV shows, sports, news, and more directly from the UK. With a huge variety of programming and an easy-to-use web interface, it’s incredibly popular in the United Kingdom.

But if you’re outside of the UK, you’ll find that the BBC iPlayer is geo-locked. Or in other words, it can’t be accessed without an IP address located in the United Kingdom.

However, it’s not too difficult to learn how to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA in 2017. Using a VPN, you can make it appear that you’re connected to the BBC iPlayer from a legitimate, UK-based IP address.

This allows you to access streaming digital content directly on the BBC iPlayer site, regardless of your own geographical location.

In this short guide, we’ll walk you through how to sign up for a BBC iPlayer account. Then, we’ll take you through the process of creating a VPN account and connecting to the BBC iPlayer website. With these helpful tips and instructions, you’ll be enjoying free content from the BBC in minutes.

ExpressVPN – Our Choice for Watching BBC iPlayer

When it comes to watching BBC iPlayer in the USA, our top choice is ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN has a comprehensive no logs policy, incorporates data obfuscation and has a large selection of high-quality, UK based servers.

Best of all, they offer a 5-day money back guarantee. This allows you to sign up for ExpressVPN and try it out. There’s no commitment if you don’t like the service.

Express VPN Offer – 3 Months Free

Interested in trying out ExpressVPN? You can now get three months of ExpressVPN for free when you purchase an annual plan. If you try it and you don’t like it, don’t stress. There’s a 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked.

How to Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA in 2018

If you’re in the UK, watching BBC iPlayer is as easy as logging onto the BBC website, signing in and streaming your choice of media. You can even use the Kodi BBC iPlayer add-on to watch in the UK. However, if you’re in the United States or elsewhere, the process is a bit more involved.

Let’s take a look at each step you’ll need to take in order to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA in 2017.

Step 1: Sign Up for ExpressVPN

Because of ExpressVPN’s advanced obfuscation features, it’s the best VPN for accessing geo-locked sites. Head over to ExpressVPN to get started and sign up for a membership. After you’ve signed up, head over to the your user account page to download and install the ExpressVPN client.

Source: ExpressVPN

Step 2: Download and Install the ExpressVPN Client

  1. ExpressVPN’s client is super easy to install. Just log into ExpressVPN, then download the installer to your hard drive.expressvpn clientSource:
  2. Select the installer file and double click to begin the installation process.
  3. After installation has completed, you’ll be prompted to run the ExpressVPN client on your PC or Mac computer. Once loaded up, your client should look like the following:
expressvpn client

Step 3: Login to ExpressVPN and Connect to a UK-Based Server

  1. Before you can use ExpressVPN, you’ll need to login with your credentials. Once logged in, ExpressVPN will keep your client logged in automatically so long as it has an internet connection.
  2. To connect to BBC iPlayer, we will need to change our connecting server to a UK-based IP. We’ll go over the steps to do so now.
  3. To change your connection to a UK-based IP, select Change Location on the lower left-hand side of the window. 
  4. A window will pop up providing you a list of countries to choose from. Find and select the United Kingdom, or use the search bar at the top and type in “UK”:
expressvpn bbc iplayer
  1. Next, select any server location available in the U.K.
expressvpn bbc iplayer
  1. After making your choice, double click the location name. ExpressVPN will automatically begin to connect:
  1. Once connected, your ExpressVPN client will tell you that the VPN is “On”:
ExpressVPN bbc iplayer

Congratulations! You’re now connecting from the UK and the BBC iPlayer should be available to you. However, we’re not quite done yet.

Step 4: Setting Up a BBC iPlayer Account

Connecting to a UK-based IP is just part of the puzzle. Since May 11th, 2017, iPlayer users have been required to register and sign up for a BBC iPlayer account in order to access iPlayer content.

But don’t worry. We’ll guide you through the process below.

  1. Navigate to the BBC iPlayer registration page. Enter your date of birth to get started, and select Next to continue.
bbc iplayer login registration
Source: The BBC registration screen.
  1. Enter an email address and your desired password. Leave your country as United Kingdom and click Register to continue.

Note: We recommend against using your own personal email. Instead, consider using a temporary email service, such as Mailinator or Airmail. This will help you preserve your privacy.

bbc registration iPlayer
Source: Fill out these details to continue the registration process.
  1. After you’ve set your initial country as the United Kingdom, you’ll be taken to a screen where you’ll need to fill out further details. In the Postcode field, enter WC1X 0AAContinue by pressing Register. Below is an example of how your screen should look.
completed registration bbc iplayer
Source: Your screen should look similar to this.
  1. Press Continue on the following screen to complete the login and signup process.
login iplayer bbc
Source: The “registration complete” screen.
  1. (Optional) After completing the registration process check the email that you supplied to confirm your BBC account, as seen below. This will make it easier to recover your account if you forget your password. 
confirm email bbc
Source: You can confirm your email in your email client, if desired.

Step 5: Accessing the BBC iPlayer

  1. Now, open the BBC site and select iPlayer from the top navigation bar. Alternatively, you can enter into your browser.
BBC homepage iPlayer
Source: The BBC homepage. The iPlayer is located in the navigation bar.
  1. You’ll see the following screen for the BBC iPlayer. From here, you can navigate through different Channels, Categories, shows and movies from A-Z, and other features like the TV Guide and My Programmes.
bbc iplayer main screen
Source: The main menu of the BBC iPlayer.

That’s it! You’ve now got full access to everything that the BBC iPlayer offers.

What content is available on the BBC iPlayer?

Wondering what kind of content you can watch on the BBC iPlayer? Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the shows you’ll be able to enjoy.


The BBC is well-known for putting together quite a few professional, well-produced documentary series, most of which can be enjoyed on the BBC iPlayer.

With the iPlayer, you can watch episodes of critically-acclaimed documentary shows such as BBC StoriesThe Ruth Ellis Files, and Civilisations. With topics ranging from nature, to ancient civilizations, inside looks at UK prison life, and even investigations into public figures like R. Kelly, there are hundreds of fantastic documentaries on the BBC iPlayer. You can browse them all at this link.


The iPlayer is a great way to watch international sports such as Champion’s League soccer, Formula 1, cricket, rugby, tennis, and much more. By accessing the BBC iPlayer, you’ll be able to watch top matches and competitions from around the world.

Take a look at the sports category to see what’s on.

Top Gear

Top Gear is the #1 motoring show in the world. Previously hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, the show has been struggling to adopt to a new format. However, both current and archived episodes of Top Gear can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer website. Whether you liked the older show, or you’re enjoying the new version of Top Gear with hosts Rory Reid and Sabine Schmitz, you’re sure to enjoy watching this program.

Drama and Soaps 

If you’re looking for TV dramas, the BBC iPlayer has you covered. You can watch episodes of critically-acclaimed shows like EastEnders, Barracuda, Keeping Faith, Requiem, and Doctors, among others.

You can even enjoy quite a bit of theater on the BBC iPlayer. For example, a recent rendition of Hamlet by acclaimed actor Andrew Scott is available to stream online.

Take a look at this link to see a full list of available programming.


As you might expect, the BBC is a great source of news, and covers events both in the UK, and abroad in the U.S. and other countries. You can watch news coverage from shows like America This WeekBBC Business LiveBBC Newsline, NewsNight, and dozens of other top news shows.

Full-length feature films

The BBC licenses quite a few films from major studios and networks, and hosts them on the iPlayer. Currently, there are many top films available, such as:

  • Selma
  • Shrek Forever After
  • Defiance
  • Short Term 12
  • Rise of the Guardians
  • Two Days, One Night
  • The Lady Vanishes
  • Brooklyn
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
  • Life of Crime
  • HyperNormalisation by Adam Curtis

These films are always being updated, and may become unavailable in the future. To see a full list of the films available on iPlayer, follow this link.

Enjoy All That the BBC iPlayer has to Offer Now! 

Follow the steps outlined above and get started with ExpressVPN today to enjoy top-quality streaming content in moments! Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment if you need help.

Eric Liston is a freelance writer and tech enthusiast based in Ohio, specializing in internet security, cord-cutting, and more.