BBC iPlayer VPN Not Working

Last year there was an incident that threatened to destroy thousands of tranquil expat retirements in the sun.    I remember it well as I happened to be spending a couple of weeks in the Spanish sun, what happened was the talk of the expat community for weeks.

You see one of the luxuries that people used to have to forgo when retiring abroad was British Television.  However much we moan about it when in the UK, it’s only when you see other country’s TV stations that you start to realise how good the BBC really is.   If you can’t speak the language this is of course even worse, swapping the BBC for a Spanish network you don’t understand is quite a loss.

Yet of course for many years there was a solution to this, the BBC started the wonderful iPlayer application followed by live streaming of all it’s channels online.  There was a slight issue in that they blocked access from outside the UK, yet most of the expat communities soon found a workaround by using a VPN or proxy server to hide their location.   Laptops, tablets and Smart TVs were soon rigged up with VPN connections and the BBC was streamed through to expat homes, bars and meeting places all across the world.

Then the unthinkable happened suddenly people found that their BBC iPlayer VPN Not Working, and they were not alone –

BBC iPlayer VPN

The nice, friendly BBC who had never appeared that bothered about people accessing  their site from abroad – suddenly started a full blown war on VPNs.   Proxies were completely blown away – 100% of them are not detected and blocked.  VPNs are more difficult to stop because they are not easily detected, yet they started to block a huge amount of them.

The attack was two pronged, firstly ranges of IP addresses used by the VPN services were blocked.  Whilst the legal departments of the BBC started to target VPN providers who openly advertised the use of VPNs and used BBC logos on their sites.   A huge number of these services were blocked like this and now only  the most advanced (and discrete remain) – here’s one:

BBC iPlayer VPN – Current State

The onslaught on the VPN services seems to have lapsed slightly now although lots have been blocked completely. It’s definitely thinned out some of the VPN services, however you have to be careful as many still advertise access with the BBC even though they don’t work. No one is quite sure why the BBC suddenly changed to this aggressive stance on bypassing region locks yet it is probably financial.

The reality is that the main methods of blocking these VPN services is by identifying them individually and then blocking each IP address. This is actually extremely time consuming and presumably very expensive, until the BBC iPlayer detecting VPN services automatically it’s unlikely they’ll be as aggressive in the future. Also they are very aware that the longer standing companies like idc are able to switch from a pool of thousands of IP addresses whenever they are blocked.

So it’s always likely that there will be a BBC iPlayer VPN workaround available as long as you look in the right places. In the end, if you can switch your IP address to a UK one by whatever method then you’ll be able to watch the BBC iPlayer without issues. There is no reason why you can’t use a BBC iPlayer VPN 2017 as long as you pick the right companies.

Don’t worry about the recent upgrade where the BBC requires a registration, you can use BBC iPlayer sign in VPN to create your account and login afterwards. The account is only required to track your viewing and create a personalized environment although it could be used to enforce a license based sign on in the future.

There are still working BBC VPN services out there’ but make sure you check before you invest in a long subscriptions. The software we use is called Identity Cloaker and it’s been all around the world with me for the last decade. Don’t worry that it doesn’t advertise the TV watching side of the functionality – that’s deliberate to keep a low profile, you’ll get plenty of support if you need it. Indeed many times you hear that a BBC iPlayer VPN has stopped working it’s normally due to the company being careless and advertising the functionality directly.

Try out the trial here to see how well it works for only a few Euros.

A Brief History of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

During the Summer of 1922, 18 representatives of media related companies met with officials of the  Post Office and the British Government to discuss an idea.   It was to see if it was feasible to allow regular radio transmissions to be made for the first time in the United Kingdom.  There were groups  who had expressed concerns that military and medical transmissions would be interrupted, but eventually this was discounted.  It was a time when radio was growing exponentially in the USA and there was a growing public desire to see a full radio service launched in the UK too.

It wasn’t a quick discussion, in fact the talks lasted nearly six months however there was an end result.  A new company was formed with a license to set up eight radio stations in the major cities of the United Kingdom – that company was to become the BBC,   To be fair the action started pretty quickly and in a few months, November 14th 1922 the first broadcasts were transmitted.  A license was created to fund the station and was required to legally listen – the first radio license was ten shillings (50 pence).  It was a fair sum in the 1920s but nevertheless over one million were issued to the British public.    In 1927, the company was restructured into a public corporation led by one of the founders John Reith.

Of course, today the BBC is more famous for it’s TV broadcasts and the BBC iPlayer, and it was about this time that the technology started to appear that would make this possible.  John Logie Baird, developed a system which would make the broadcast of TV possible.  We already had the cathode ray tube which was actually created at the end of the 19th century, however Baird’s disk scanning equipment was what brought television to the masses.

Baird’s equipment was still some way off completion however and it was when he was allowed to use the BBC’s South Bank Studios that they began to develop.  The results were so encouraging that he moved to a dedicated studio in Portland Place and it was here where the service was improved until it was capable of supporting a high definition system which could be broadcast to the United Kingdom public.  There were however other systems being developed by companies like Marconi and EMI which also offered similar potential and a committee was set up to investigate all the options.  Lord Selsdon was the head of the committee and it soon deemed that public broadcasts were indeed feasible and the BBC was was tasked with developing it.

There were some guidelines set out which should be followed including the minimum definition levels – 240 lines and 25 pictures per second.  This ensured that the transmissions would have to be high definition – both Baird’s and Marconi-EMIs system exceeded the requirements.   It was decided that both should be trialed from the BBC’s new headquarters in Alexandra Palace situated high on a hill so that the transmitter would reach both London and the Home Counties.

 

BBC Deutschland ? Here’s How to Access iPlayer

There are many thousands of people who live in Germany who want to watch the BBC, yet unfortunately it is not currently available there.   Of course, you can watch a German news channel, however obviously your language skills need to be up to it.  Even for German speaking expats obviously the channels will focus on the Germany news headlines not those from the UK.   So people are keen to access British TV over the internet if they can.

If you access the BBC iPlayer site in Germany you get redirected to an international version of the site which doesn’t have any live TV or archived programmes in BBC iPlayer.  For those who try and bypass the international version and go straight to the UK based site to access BBC Deutschland this is what happens when you try and watch a programme:

BBC Deutschland

The BBC website looks up your IP address and checks which country it is registered to, if it’s not in the UK then you’ll get this message.   Anywhere in the UK and the video will stream normally without any problems.  It doesn’t matter who you are, even UK citizens who pay the UK TV license will get the same message and be blocked when they’re outside the UK.

In fact the only real BBC programmes you can get are the World Service broadcasts and occasionally you’ll get some live broadcasts streamed live to the BBC YouTube Channel – for example sometimes you’ll find parts of the Test Match Special broadcasts on here.

Now this is not some sort of British Brexit meanness, it’s actually fairly standard practice for most media companies.  In order to minimize copyright issues and maximise revenues the majority of online TV channels restrict access to their domestic markets only.  For example there are around 1400 German online channels and most of them are only accessible from inside Germany including ZDF and ARD.    It’s obviously the place to get all the germany breaking news and some have English language slots at specific times too. The same goes for media companies across the world, the vast majority cannot be accessed outside the country of origin.

So How to Watch BBC iPlayer in Germany?

Ok so we’ve said you can’t watch the BBC in Deutschland – but that’s not entirely true. You’ve probably heard that it is possible to watch the BBC or any UK TV channels from Germany somehow – and you would be right. The secret is regaining some control about your privacy, all these websites look up your IP address and decide what you can or can’t see. However if you can control the origin of that address suddenly all these websites can be unlocked.

Although it’s not possible to actually change your IP address, it is possible to hide your real address and present a false one to these sites. Here’s how it’s done in this short video –


As you can see the secret is to connect firstly to another server in the country you require. So if I want to watch the BBC iPlayer in Germany then I’d initially make a connection to a UK VPN server before going to the BBC website. As soon as I do this, the IP address that is checked is that of the UK server not my own. In fact while using the program demonstrated in the video, nobody can see my true location only that of the VPN server.

These services were initially limited to one or two countries but you can see that most now allow access to a wide selection of different countries.  Which means that you can bypass pretty much any region block that you encounter simply by switching to the appropriate VPN server. So if you want to access Austria News channels or the latest news France then just pick the right country – they’re all included.

This is the method that literally millions of people are able to access the BBC and other British TV sites from outside the UK. It’s very simple to use, and can be used on a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

However it’s always best to try out the short trial first to see how it works for you.  Try it out and remember it enables all the other UK channels too like ITV, Channel 4 and 5 plus media channels all over the world.

Try it here – IDC

Using a BBC Proxy Server to Watch Outside the UK

The definition of a proxy server from Wikipedia is as follows;

In computer networks, a proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from other servers.

Not that exciting, I’m sure you’d agree so why do literally millions of people use UK proxies every single day. Well the clue is the intermediary part, because a proxy site actually sits between you and the website you visit. It effectively hides your location from the website you are visiting which only sees the location of the proxy server not you.

It does give you a higher level of privacy, however this is not the main reason people use proxies which is to evade region blocks and filters. As you may have discovered many of the best media web sites are only available in the country of their origin. So online you can only use the BBC iPlayer in the UK, NBC is only accessible in the US and so on.  However there is a way around this, you can proxy BBC programs from any country,  using a server based in the UK you can stream the broadcasts irrespective of your location.

Using a UK Proxy Server to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad

Just watch this video for information on how to use a proxy server:

Simply explained it’s a proxy server which is physically located in the UK, and when you use it then you will appear to be in the UK too. Which is why for example, hundreds of thousands of Expats are able to watch the BBC News live from anywhere in the world from the Costa del Sol to Australia. They’re not in the UK but as long as the proxy server they use is then everything works perfectly.

It’s not just the BBC, all the UK Television stations are the same – from Channel 4 to the ITV Hub.  Whenever you try and access any of these stations from outside the UK you’ll receive a little warning message.

BBC Proxy

Connect to a UK proxy server first however and the BBC and all the other stations will work perfectly.    This is because the systems work by looking at where your IP address is registered to, which of course for a UK based proxy will be the United Kingdom. Your own IP address doesn’t actually change, however when using the virtual private network that address is invisible. All the video sites will only see the location of the VPN proxy and it will appear you live in the UK as far as the web site is concerned.

However in 2016 things changed a bit, particularly regarding the BBC.  For some reason they decided to start restricting access to these servers and blocking them.   Many servers became useless particularly the free proxy server list which all stopped working.  However the best proxy server programs also operated as VPN services too and most of them still work fine.

There are no real issues about using them, the BBC does try and block many of them.  However if you use a slightly more advanced system called a VPN there should be no issue. Many people use VPN servers routinely to keep their internet connection secure, they have taken over from the premium proxy programs which previously offered some protection.

Most of the commercially available services are very easy to use and you’ll find the best of them have servers in other countries included too which means you can watch TV and movies from those countries too. These proxy switchers allow you to change your IP address to match lots of different countries with a simple click enabling you to access blocked content in other countries.

Literally millions of people across the world use proxies and VPNs nowadays, hiding your real IP address just makes sense. More web sites across the words are limiting access based on your location for a variety of reasons. Many of the ones which broadcast tv online are concerned about copyright restrictions which are still assigned on a country by country basis. Whilst of course in other countries, the filters and blocks are assigned as a means of political and religious control such as Turkey and Iran for example.

Most of us though just don’t like to get blocked online, and these simple web proxies with unlimited data accounts basically bypass them all. Just like the BBC in the UK, there are media sites all over the world which restrict access based on your IP address. My favorite ones are generally the UK TV stations which I access using the UK proxy servers when travelling. However it’s worth checking out Canadian or US TV channels for some great documentaries and movies not available elsewhere for example.

At the time of writing, . is still working perfectly as a BBC proxy and in fact all the major media sites.

You can try the no obligation, trial of Identity Cloaker for the cost of a sandwich!

Does BBC iPlayer Ireland Work ?

For a weekend trip to Dublin when the FA CUP is on, this is a crucial question –  does BBC iPlayer work in Ireland! or outside the UK! Now the corporation may have lost most of the premium football games, but they still have the FA Cup, Match of the Day and regional football broadcasts. So although it’s great to watch some top of the table Premiership clash on Sky, for the average football fan like me who unfortunately supports a team outside the Football league the BBC channels are a lifeline.

BBC Iplayer Ireland

How to Get BBC Iplayer Ireland

My favorite Saturday would be a trip to the wonderful city of Dublin, a few quiet beers and retiring and watching BBC, perhaps Match of the Day followed by the BBC News at my hotel. Which should be easily accomplished using the BBC website, except it doesn’t work in Ireland at all. In this post-Brexit, border building world – for some reason Ireland is considered a foreign country and BBC license payers are blocked from watching British TV from there. If you took a TV and a powerful aerial, perhaps you could watch it on the roof of your hotel and get most of the BBC channels but the convenience of streaming BBC iPlayer Ireland is inaccessible.

It’s something to do with licensing I suppose which you can confirm if you search the BBC site for information, however I think a little slack should have been applied to our closest neighbour. I can’t really see the harm in allowing BBC iPlayer Ireland access, although interestingly, you can’t watch RTE’s (Ireland’s national broadcaster) web content from the UK either. Fortunately it’s only blocked by the tediously annoying IP addressing region locking which seems to be used all over the web.

That is if you don’t have a UK IP address then you can’t access BBC iPlayer and the live streams. I should point out that this restriction doesn’t apply to Northern Ireland where you can watch BBC iPlayer without restriction. For everywhere else you just have to pretend you’ve got a UK address and you’ll be fine – here’s how it’s done:

The video will show you how you will be able to access BBC iPlayer in Ireland or any other country outside the UK for that matter.  The technique is fairly straight forward, you just relay your internet connection through a UK proxy based server. This fools the BBC site into thinking you’re in the UK and everything works fine.   This also means that you can watch UK TV abroad free wherever you go.  Unfortunately the server needs to be really fast and configured securely so that it can’t be detected but there is a growing industry in VPN service providers who can supply these.

It’s worth getting a VPN service that has servers in other countries too, because you’ll find this irritating behaviour happening all over the place especially in the popular online media sites. It’s certainly not restricted to the British Broadcasting Corporation and you’ll notice that it’s also incredibly common on sites like YouTube aswell where videos can be specified to play only in certain countries. Be aware that many of the iPlayer videos that suggest using simple proxies are out of date, they no longer work in 2017. You must use a VPN to access BBC on demand in Ireland.

So that’s it, you can travel and enjoy British TV online just use a VPN connection service to trick them. It’s not illegal, or breaching copyright as European rules state that streaming media is not the same as buying or downloading it. Needless to say the BBC don’t like the idea of a global iPlayer much and do block loads of these services regularly but if you choose a decent secure one like IDC then you’ll be fine and it will always be available to watch.

Remember you can use a VPN like this to open up all sorts of blocked sites, using a UK server allows access to all British channels you can even watch Sky Go abroad if you have a subscription with them.  It’s not restricted to computers or laptops either as you can enable the VPN connection on other devices too – if you subscribe to Identity Cloaker they’ll show you how to watch BBC iPlayer abroad on iPad and smartphones too.

The servers in other countries are useful too, there’s loads of brilliant US media sites like Pandora, Hulu and NBC which stream content for free.  If you connect to a US server before accessing Netflix you’ll get the US version which has thousands more movies and TV programmes.

So it’s a lot more than just a BBC iPlayer Ireland application, it’s a world wide web enabler!

Try the IDC here

Free Trial of BBC iPlayer VPN Service

For many years it has been relatively simple to bypass the Region locking operated by the BBC iPlayer application. Although technically the BBC has restricted access to people located in the United Kingdom, in practice it was quite simple to use a simply proxy or VPN program to change your location. So for example if you wanted to watch the BBC in Australia you’d simply find a free proxy and use that to hide your location. Early in 2016, the BBC stopped this practice and blocked all proxy access and many of the VPN services from accessing the site.

free trial of bbc iplayer

There are still a few VPN services which work and fortunately there are also some Smart DNS services you can use too. Here’s a free 14 day trial of one of the best – Smart DNS Proxy which you can use to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK.

Demonstrating Free trial of BBC iPlayer

Now it’s not one I use all the time, but I’ve had a few subscriptions over the years and it’s always worked well especially with the BBC. The reason I mention this one is because it’s one of the few VPN services which offer a proper free trial and also it’s reputedly got very good speeds from Australia to their UK based servers unfortunately not something I can verify from Europe.

Click here to try – free trial

For anyone just needing a solution for a couple of weeks, perhaps travelling abroad or maybe just want to listen to the cricket on Test Match Special the free trial will be perfect for this and accessing BBC iPlayer outside UK  for a short time.  Don’t worry about the BBC iPlayer sign in either, if you’ve got an account just use that.  If you haven’t then just create one either from the website or on the BBC iPlayer app, just remember to put a UK address and postcode in when it asks.

There are two services included in the free trial, the basic Smart DNS solution which works by intercepting requests for specific blocked sites like the BBC and Hulu then routing part of the connection through a proxy in the specified country.  This is basically the ‘lite’ solution it provides no security, encryption but should allow access to most region locked content, it only works with specified sites although the list is comprehensive and works with the majority of big media sites which aren’t available normally in Australia like US Netflix, BBC media iPlayer, ITV hub and so on.

The full service includes the VPN client too, which provides a secure, encrypted tunnel to access anything and should work with all blocked and region locked sites including things like gambling sites and individual videos.  If  you’re travelling or away from home, you should use the VPN as it provides a layer of security which is important if you need to access things like webmail or online banking through unknown wifi connections for example.

However if you’re just streaming video or using the BBC iPlayer radio then there’s no real necessity to encrypt your connection.   A big advantage of using the Smart DNS service is that after you’ve set it up it’s pretty much seamless.  Indeed you can’t even tell it’s being used, you can use the BBC sign in page without having to start any software or make any connection.  There’s only one drawback if you reset your IP address you’ll have to re-enable it to work again, although that’s only a click of a mouse.  However it means that Smart DNS is not ideal to watch UK TV abroad free online if you’re using a mobile device and moving around a lot.

Anyway if you’re just looking for access to the BBC for a holiday, then the 14 days the trial last is perfect.  Don’t be spooked by all those BBC iPlayer VPN not working stories, although it’s true some where blocked over the last couple of years the two mentioned in this page are still working perfectly.

At the worst you can use this as a free trial of BBC iPlayer plus it also gives you a decent chance to use it before you make up your mind.

Click here to try – free trial

How to Stream UK TV from Abroad

All the UK major TV stations broadcast online, however none of these are accessible when you’re outside the UK. Instead you’ll either get blocked or like the BBC you’ll get redirected to an ‘International’ version which has no video or live streams available.

Here’s the screen of the BBC International version:

stream uk tv

You’ll notice several differences from the domestic BBC screen:

  • Redirected to BBC.COM
  • Different Design
  • No TV Link
  • No BBC iPlayer Link

It’s designed for a different audience, that is anyone connecting from outside the UK.  It’s still a great news site but unfortunately it’s missing the core of the BBC content i.e. all the Live TV, Radio and archived shows.   You can’t watch the  BBC stations live and also the stuff that has already been broadcast is missing too.

The BBC site determines your location based on a single piece of information – your IP address.  Every address is registered to a specific country and effectively determines where you are connecting from.  So a UK based IP address would get the full BBC site with access to all the programmes whilst any other address is redirected to the international version.

Fortunately there is a workaround and it involves using a piece of software which can effectively hide your real location from anyone.  It’s called a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and it gives you complete control over what you can access online – you can even watch the BBC from Australia without an issue.

This video shows how you can use one of these. Using a simple secure method for hiding your real location and keeping your connection details private. It’s a trick used by millions and you can see the VPN in action here controlling the location each web site sees when connecting. Using the program demonstrated effectively opens up all the UK Television stations online irrespective of your location.

So yes you can stream UK TV stations abroad directly to your computer whilst on holiday, travelling or simply because you prefer British TV stations to the local versions wherever you happen to be.

Watch BBC News Abroad Online

For many of us, the memories of our first foreign holidays were punctuated with a desperate search for newspapers in English. Even though you were only spending a couple of weeks on the Costa del Sol, it was easy to feel completely isolated from all the world and domestic news. Finding a copy of the Daily Mirror which was only a couple of days old and three times the cover price was about the best you could hope for.

Nowadays things have changed of course, most of us have access to the internet in our pockets but browsing the web for news is not quite the same as watching the BBC News abroad online. This you would think was simple however unfortunately all the BBC programmes including the BBC news live video are simply not available when you access the internet from outside the UK.

There are in fact two completely different versions of the BBC website dependant entirely on your location. Outside the UK you will receive the ‘International’ version which is fine but doesn’t contain any live TV, BBC iPlayer or the ability to access most radio stations.    The simple fact is that outside the UK (Germany for example)  the BBC is a commercial organisation called BBC Worldwide.

The domestic version which you can access from within the UK has all the features and you can watch any BBC programme either live or on ‘catch up’ for a few weeks after.  It’s an incredible resource and forms the basis of many people’s entertainment, remember all these programmes are completely free of advertising and commercial breaks.   You can even download the programmes to watch offline on any device you like.

How to Watch the BBC News Abroad

Fortunately there is an option to be able to watch the BBC News and all the other great programmes when you’re outside the UK  – here’s the video

With a little effort you can have access to all the BBC online channels including the BBC live stream and through the iPlayer application. All you need to do is convince the BBC website that you are in the UK by routing through a UK address and you can watch the BBC News live online irrespective of your location.

There was some hope that all this wouldn’t be necessary in the future, as the European Union were pressuring digital content providers like the BBC to supply their product to license fee payers across the European borders.  The expectation was that anyone who had paid the license fee would be allowed to access the full BBC site from Germany, France or anywhere in Europe, probably using some sort of code linked to their TV license.

Unfortunately it’s likely the BBC will probably quietly shelve these proposals due to the UK Brexit vote. So for travellers, expats and anyone who simply want’s to enjoy the BBC News headlines and all the UK televisions channels which are currently online then investing in a VPN service seems a sensible and inexpensive option.

This is our recommendation, a security programs that still actually work for to watch BBC News abroad, then can we suggest trying out – IDC, it’s been working with the BBC iPlayer for nearly ten years now and still works perfectly well.