How to Stream BBC in the USA

For many years people have been using proxy servers to stream the BBC in the USA.   The numbers are not certain but it is estimated that millions of people regularly watch the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 from all over the world using the internet.   Since it’s creation the BBC have restricted access to the iPlayer application to a specific market:

  • Physically located in the UK
  • Purchased a TV license

The license check is little more than a confirmation before you access the site, however the location check is a little more sophisticated.   When you connect to the BBC , the site looks up your physical location based on your IP address.  If you’re in the UK you go direct to the site, however all other users are redirected to the ‘International Version’ of the BBC website.  This version does not contain live streams or access to the BBC iPlayer merely a few small clips of shows and the main news site.  Basically it’s a different site – BBC USA is a cut down version without all the TV streaming capability.

Most global media sites do the same, they run domestic sites which contain all their live streams, videos and a cut down international versions for everyone else.  It can get frustrating but fortunately there is a workaround which involves hiding your real location.  Proxy servers where the simple solution for most, an intermediate server which hid your real location – a proxy based in the UK would allow you access to British TV, a US one for all the American sites and so on.  Better still some proxies were available for free online, so you didn’t even have to pay to bypass the restrictions.

Unfortunately this has started to change, proxies have not worked for many years – in fact the only site that didn’t block them was the BBC until quite recently.  Nowadays they’re next to useless for bypassing geoblocks, every media site can detect their presence without difficulty.   The alternative is the VPN server which acts in a similar way to a proxy sitting between the client and the web server, except the connection is encrypted and almost impossible to detect.  Most people across the world now use VPNs routinely to either access these blocked sites or to bypass restrictions in their home countries like China and Turkey, both of whom heavily censor what you can access.

So now only secure encrypted VPNs like Identity Cloaker will work, in fact you’ll be hard pressed to find any commercial proxy services although they are still used for internet marketing and other purposes. The video above demonstrates how easy it is on a computer, simply pick the country you need (i.e. the one which matches the service) and then you should have full functionality. Sites like the BBC will work perfectly with a UK server, although you’ll need a subscription to watch commercial stations like Sky Go.

Here’s how you watch it on an iPad – the method on other mobile devices is very similar.

If you try another VPN service make sure you check with a trial account or email them first as lot of them are starting to get blocked or withdrawn to legal action. VPNs cannot be detected easily but media sites can ban individual IP addresses and they also target any web site that openly advertises the facility to access them. All the best VPN sites never mention media sites like Hulu or the BBC at all and only advertise their specific service.

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