It’s now been more than a year since BBC iPLayer started blocking VPN programs in earnest. Previously they had finished off the simple proxy server access, which had worked from the release of the BBC iPlayer in December 2007. It’s surprising the proxy access was allowed for so long, it was perhaps the last major media service which hadn’t blocked them. Certainly a simple proxy hasn’t worked on sites like Hulu, Netflix or any of the other TV channels for several years.
So how many VPNs now work with BBC iPlayer? Well it’s difficult to say for sure because it keeps changing, one thing for sure there are certain characteristics of the services which do remain:
- Focus on VPN Functionality (not TV Watching) – the majority of services which openly advertised the ability to bypass the BBC iPlayer Geo blocks have pretty much gone. Seeing a copy of the BBC logo or anything similar on a VPN site means it’s likely to be near the top of the hit list.
- Multiple Servers – many of the smaller VPN providers relied on a small number of UK servers. Unfortunately this meant that you’d get thousands of individual streams on a few IP addresses, easy to detect and simple to block.
- Securely Configured – a lot of the so-called secure VPNs where little more than simple proxies, these got wiped out pretty much en-masse last Summer. Unfortunately some of them still advertise the ability to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad just to grab your subscription money – try short trials or demos before buying a longer subscription.
- Residential Support – although the BBC haven’t yet tried to restrict access based on classification of IP address, it would be no great surprise if this happened soon. Netflix were very successful in restricting access to only residential based IP addresses (those assigned by ISP to home customers). The BBC may follow suit this year and your VPN service will need to have residential addresses in it’s infrastructure.
There’s no doubt that things have got a lot tougher for the VPN services over the last few years although there’s still many of them still functioning well. Fortunately my favourite one – Identity Cloaker still works perfectly with all the media sites including the BBC – here’s a video of it in action during April 2017.
As you can see it’s working perfectly and this year Identity Cloaker have expanded to include many more UK servers and introduced a special network of residential based IP addresses. At the moment these have been restricted to use only when you try and connect to Netflix but hopefully they can expand this to BBC iPlayer if the need arises .by