How to Download Videos from BBC iPlayer Abroad

The BBC iPlayer has a fantastic feature which sometimes people forget about – the ability to download iPlayer abroad that is save videos from BBC iPlayer onto any device which is able to store them. So for instance you can easily download a load of programmes onto the hard disk of your laptop and watch them anywhere you like. You can watch downloaded videos anywhere, there’s no Uk only restriction and you don’t even need an internet connection. Perfect for short trips abroad when the hotel wifi costs a small fortune.

download videos from bbc iplayer

To download a programme to your computer simply visit the BBC iPlayer site and go to the programme you want as normal.  Then instead of streaming look for the ‘download’ tab which should be near the bottom.  You’ll be asked if you’ve installed the BBC downloader before with this message –

Download iPlayer abroad

If you’ve never downloaded directly then simply select yes and let it install BBC iPlayer Downloads application – it’s not very big and installs quite quickly.   That’s it really the downloading application will install and you can download as much as you like space permitting – if space/bandwidth are an option then select the SD versions of anything. Your iplayer downloader will work fine on any number of devices.

If you’re abroad, it’s virtually the same but you’ll need to hide your location in order to download anything.

The following video shows how it works

Download Videos from BBC iPlayer

So just to summarise:

  • You Can Watch Downloaded Programmes Anywhere in the World
  • You Can Only Download Whilst in the UK (or using a UK VPN)
  • You can Watch at Any time until they expire (Depends on when they were broadcast but usually a few weeks)
  • You Don’t Need an Internet Connection to Watch them

The files can get quite large so be careful that you’ve got enough storage on your device particularly on Smart Phone, the HD versions are much bigger so stick to SD if space or network speed is an issue. There are apparently some methods to even remove drm from iplayer or even convert bbc Iplayer files ro mp4 format although I’m not sure if any of these work that well.  If you just download them normally then they will eventually expire usually in a couple of weeks, there are apparently some iPlayer ripper programs about but I’m afraid I’ve never tried them.

During 2017 there have been some updates to the BBC iPlayer site, in particular you now have to create a user account before using the site.  If you’re outside the UK, don’t worry simply enable you VPN, connect to a UK server and then create the account as normal.  It will ask you for a UK postcode during the registration but as long as you use a valid one it won’t be a problem (just pick any UK postcode).   The account is primarily to keep track of your preferences and viewing habits in a user profile.

If you leave the VPN connected, then you can watch any of the programmes by streaming them directly to your computer.  Make sure you’re connected to a UK server though, this ensures that you have a UK IP address when connected.    Although the BBC have been blocking some of the less sophisticated VPN services during 2016 there are still a selection that are still working fine.   The one I recommend is called Identity Cloaker which has been working fine with BBC iPlayer for nearly ten years. It is also extremely fast which makes it ideal if you want to download videos from BBC iplayer quickly.


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  1. Eusian
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks this is very useful as I’m going to work abroad for a few months and I’ll miss the BBC. One other question if I may, would this also allow me to access an English Netflix account – I’d heard they’d blocked all VPNs.

    • welshexpat
      Posted September 17, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      You’re in luck – Identity Cloaker is one of the very few VPNs which still work with Netflix. However there are some caveats – firstly you have to use the Identity Cloaker software not set up the VPN manually. Secondly it’s primarily setup to use the American version of Netflix (by selecting a US based server. However the UK version of Netflix also seems to work ok, so try that if you prefer. They’re not advertising it on their site in order to avoid being targeted by Netflix but it’s been working fine for nearly a year now.

      Being low key is important nowadays, it’s one of the reasons why Identity Cloaker has never been blocked by the BBC too in over a decade. Never pick a VPN that advertises directly the ability to access these channels they never last long.

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