Watch BBC iPlayer in Holland with a VPN-service

With BBC iPlayer you have easy and commercial free access to TV- and radio broadcasts from the BBC, from your smart-TV, laptop, smartphone or any other device with an internet connection. This online streaming service, also known as BBC Media Player or iPlayer for short, has been introduced in 2007 and has been renewed a few times since. What hasn’t changed is the fact that TV broadcasts are only watchable from the UK with BBC iPlayer. Radio broadcasts are available outside the UK, except for the most sports related radio programs. Do you also want to enjoy the BBC broadcasts, but from the Netherlands? Use a VPN-service. How does this exactly work and why can’t I use a BBC iPlayer without VPN?

What is BBC iPlayer?

The British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC in short, is the public broadcast company of the United Kingdom. With a yearly budget of almost 5 billion pounds the BBC produces programs with a popularity far beyond the UK. Examples of BBC-classics which became worldwide successes are the nature program Life on Earth, car program Top Gear and various comedies like Yes Minister, Fawlty Towers and of course Monthy Python. In 2017 soap series like East Enders, the comical talk show The Graham Norton Show, the science fiction series Doctor Who and the satirical panel quiz Have I Got News For You are all examples BBC programs which are popular outside the UK. Brits who want to watch these programs can use the BBC iPlayer. This program is roughly the British equivalent of ‘Uitzending Gemist’ of the NPO. Originally, you were able to watch a program up to 7 days after broadcasting, but in 2014 this period has been extended to 30 days. As of 2011 you are also able to find broadcasts of commercial networks on the BBC iPlayer. To watch these broadcasts you will be redirected with the service of the concerning commercial channel, for example ITV Hub for all ITV channels.

Why is BBC iPlayer not available outside the UK?

Due to the geographical restriction on broadcast rights the BBC iPlayer can only be used inside the United Kingdom to watch TV programs. Most radio programs can be listened to outside the UK without restrictions. An exception are the football- and other sports programs where rights restrictions apply. The BBC launched Global iPlayer in 2011, which was made available in a range of other countries, among which was the Netherlands. The TV selection of the Global iPlayer was however limited and it had to be paid for whereas the iPlayer in the UK could be used for free. In 2015 the BBC terminated the Global iPlayer. One of the reasons given were the many discussions with local broadcast companies and cable companies about broadcast rights. That has been the main reason why the Global iPlayer was never introduced in the US in the first place.

With VPN you can use BBC iPlayer in the Netherlands as well

Because of geographical right restrictions it is important to the BBC to check whether people using the iPlayer or coming from inside or outside the UK. For this purpose the BBC checks the IP-address of the visitors. The IP-address is a unique number that belongs to only one particular internet connection. Only your internet provider knows that your IP-address belongs to you, but there are others who are able to know from which country you are, thanks to your IP-address. For the BBC this information is sufficient to deny users outside the UK access to the iPlayer. At the same time the system shows its weakness: if you are able to connect using a British IP-address, you are still able to use the BBC streaming service from the Netherlands. Subscribers of a VPN-service do no directly connect with a website or with services but through one of the servers of a VPN-provider. When this VPN-server has a British IP-address, it will look like you will visit the iPlayer from the UK to the BBC. In this way you are able to watch all BBC broadcasts with the iPlayer as if you are in the United Kingdom.

Which VPN-services are ideal to use for BBC iPlayer?

A VPN-provider can only help you with a British IP-address if it has servers available in the United Kingdom. If you are looking for a VPN-service to use iPlayer from the Netherlands, you will have to check where the servers are of any VPN-provider you might want to use. Usually it won’t be a problem since the UK is quite a popular location for VPN-servers. Allowing you to enjoy your BBC broadcast without being annoyed by a buffering stream or other small or big irritation because of a slow internet connection. It is also important that you choose a VPN-provider with fast servers. The most VPN-services will delay your internet connection slightly, since your internet connection now runs through an intermediary, however quality VPN-providers keep this lag to a minimum.

Watch all popular BBC-series with VPN

British TV programs have always been quite popular in the Netherlands. Whether that is because the similarities in humor or simply because BBC programs are very high quality produced: programs like Fawlty Towers, Monthy Python or recently Top Gear are at least as popular in the Netherlands as they are in the UK. To watch BBC series which are not broadcasted on Dutch TV you need to use a VPN-service. Thousands of people worldwide are using a VPN-service to be able to use the BBC iPlayer. For real viewing pleasure you should not pick the first VPN-provider which

Written by

Kees van Vliet

Kees van Vliet

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