What’s the BBC and How to Watch BBC iPlayer Outside the UK?

Last Updated on August 29, 2023

Watching the BBC iPlayer from Anywhere in the World

  1. Find a VPN service with UK servers which works with the BBC (we suggest NordVPN)
  2. Install the correct software or app version
  3. Select to one of the UK servers (if NORDVPN use one of the optimized ones, list at bottom of page)
  4. Sign up for a free BBC iPlayer account (put in any UK postcode)
  5. Say that you have a UK TV licence (there’s no actual check)
  6. Stream all the BBC channels and watch old episodes from the archive (see video below)
  7. Plus you can sign up to ITVX, All4 and Channel 5 for loads more live UK TV channels free of charge.
  8. Disconnect the VPN connection when finished or connect to same country for secure browsing

What are the oldest TV broadcasters in the world?

Most of the world’s big broadcaster are now available online.  However it’s interesting to see how long these companies have been in existence.  There’s no doubt that the forerunners of TV broadcasting were initially in the USA and the UK.  Here’s a rough timeline of the beginning of television broadcasting.

The oldest television broadcasters in the world are:

  1. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) – The BBC began broadcasting television in 1936.
  2. NBC (National Broadcasting Corporation) – NBC began broadcasting television in 1939 in the United States.
  3. CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) – CBS began broadcasting television in 1941 in the United States.

Note that these are the oldest continuously operating national broadcasters, there are other broadcasters that started earlier, but not continuously.  Almost all TV broadcasters in the early years needed Government support to ensure their existence and development.

How was the BBC created ?

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was created by a Royal Charter in 1927. The charter established the BBC as a public corporation, independent from government control, with the mission to “inform, educate, and entertain.”

watch BBC outside UKThe BBC itself, was formed by a group of leading British wireless manufacturers, including Marconi, who were keen to promote the use of radio as a means of mass communication. They recognized that the future of radio was in the hands of the government, and they sought to establish a public corporation that would operate in the public interest, rather than as a profit-making venture.

The BBC’s first Director-General, John Reith, was appointed in 1927 and set about creating a national network of radio stations, which began broadcasting in 1922. Over the years, the BBC expanded its services to include television broadcasting, as well as online and digital services.

The BBC is funded by a television license fee, which is paid by all households in the UK that own a television. This funding model, combined with the BBC’s public service mission, has helped the organization to maintain its independence and to produce high-quality programming that serves the public interest.

A Little More on the BBC’s John Reith

In the history of TV broadcasting, John Reith occupied a pivotal and very important role.  It’s perhaps worth just noting something of this man’s history. ohn Reith, 1st Baron Reith, (1889-1971) was a Scottish engineer and broadcaster, who was the first Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from 1927 to 1938.

Reith was appointed the first Director-General of the BBC in 1927, just after the corporation was formed by Royal Charter. He set about creating a national network of radio stations, which began broadcasting in 1922. Under his leadership, the BBC established itself as a trusted and respected source of news and information, and a provider of high-quality cultural programming.

Reith believed that the BBC should provide a “public service” to the nation and that its programming should be educational and uplifting. He also emphasized the importance of impartiality and accuracy in news reporting, which helped to establish the BBC’s reputation for journalistic integrity.

Reith also played a key role in the establishment of the BBC’s system of funding, which is based on the television license fee, a tax paid by all households in the UK that own a television. He also helped to establish the BBC’s independence from government control, which has been important in maintaining the corporation’s credibility and integrity.

Reith resigned from the BBC in 1938, and later served as the Minister of Transport in Winston Churchill’s war-time coalition government. He was also appointed to the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1964.

What are the other TV broadcasting companies in the UK apart from the BBC?

The UK has always been an important country in the development of TV broadcasting.   Although there are many TV channels in most countries, the BBC is still arguably the world leader in many areas.   So are there any other UK TV channels worth looking at? Certainly, in addition to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), there are several other major television broadcasting companies in the United Kingdom. These include:
  • ITV (Independent Television) – This is a network of independent regional television companies that operates in England, Wales, and the Scottish borders. It was created in 1955 as a rival to the BBC and is funded by advertising revenue.
  • Channel 4 – This is a publicly-owned, but commercially-funded, broadcaster that was established in 1982. It is known for its alternative and diverse programming, and for commissioning independent production companies to produce content.
  • Channel 5 – This is a commercially-funded broadcaster that was launched in 1997. It is owned by the American media company ViacomCBS.
  • Sky – This is a satellite television service that was launched in 1989 and is now owned by the American telecommunications company Comcast. It offers a wide range of channels and services, including sports, movies, and international programming.
  • Freeview – This is a free-to-air digital terrestrial television service that was launched in 2002. It is a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, and offers a selection of channels without subscription.
  • Freesat – This is a free-to-air satellite television service that was launched in 2008. It is a joint venture between the BBC and ITV, and offers a selection of channels without subscription.
  • YouView – This is a free-to-air digital terrestrial television service that was launched in 2012. It is a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and some others, and offers a selection of channels without subscription, plus a catch-up service.

These are the main TV broadcasting companies in the UK, but there are also many smaller and specialized TV channels that broadcast in the UK.

What is the BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer is an online streaming service provided by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for viewers in the United Kingdom. It allows users to watch live and on-demand content from the BBC’s television and radio channels, as well as content that is exclusive to the iPlayer platform.

bbc iplayer in the future

The iPlayer offers a wide range of programming, including news, sports, dramas, comedies, documentaries, and children’s shows. Users can watch live TV, catch up on shows they’ve missed, and browse a library of previous seasons and entire series. The iPlayer also offers a “download and keep” option, allowing users to download certain shows and films to watch offline.

BBC iPlayer is available on a variety of devices, including smart TVs, gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, and computers. It can be accessed through the iPlayer website or through dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices. The iPlayer is free to use and does not require a subscription, but users must have a valid TV license to access the content.

BBC iPlayer launched in 2007 as a streaming service for TV shows, it added live streaming and catch-up capabilities for radio programs in 2013. It has since become one of the most popular streaming services in the UK, providing audiences with a convenient way to access the BBC’s programming on their own schedule.

Can I Watch the BBC outside the UK?

BBC iPlayer is a UK-only service, which means that it is not available to viewers outside of the United Kingdom. This is due to the rights agreements that the BBC has with content providers, which limit the geographic distribution of their programming.

However, there are ways to access the iPlayer and other UK-only streaming services when you’re abroad. One way is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which can make it appear as though you are located in the UK, and therefore enable you to access the iPlayer and other UK-only streaming services. However, the use of a VPN to access the iPlayer is against the terms of service, and the BBC has the technical means to block VPNs and other proxy services.

Another way is to subscribe to one of the streaming services such as BritBox, which is a streaming service that offers a selection of British TV shows and films, including some from the BBC, for viewers outside the UK.  It’s not an exact replacement but might be preferable for people to watch BBC in USA through a VPN if they don’t want to install any software.

It’s important to note that even if you are able to access the iPlayer using a VPN or other means, you will still need a valid TV license to watch the content, as the BBC is funded by the license fee.

Can you Get the Red Button on BBC iPlayer?

The Red Button feature on BBC iPlayer is available on certain TV platforms such as Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media. Users can access additional content, including live sports events and news updates, by pressing the red button on their remote control while watching BBC channels.

Leave a Comment