How to watch British TV in the USA: Beginner’s Guide

Most Brits grow up wanting to live in the much cooler USA. I know I did and have huge respect and not a little jealousy for the 750,000+ British expats who currently call the USA home.

In this guide, we are going to help you enjoy a little bit of home comfort, by teaching you the easiest way to watch British TV in the USA.

Whilst I sadly don’t live in the USA, I do live overseas and know that local TV is one of the things expats miss the most. Even though US TV has a lot going for it, it is lacking our favourite British soaps, much of that quirky British comedy that the Yanks just don’t get, and of course British news too.

The easiest way to access British TV online is by using the streaming services which just every channel offers these days. However, as you most likely already know, the bulk of these, including the BBC iPlayer, are blocked in the USA.

That’s where we come in though and below you will find a simple step-by-step guide to unblocking them using a VPN.

How to watch British TV in the USA

In order to be able to watch British online streaming services such as the BBC iPlayer in the USA, you will need to use a VPN.

A VPN is an online tool which allows users to change the IP Address (the piece of code which tells sites where you are located). By adopting a British IP Address, you will be able to access British streaming services even if you are located in the USA.

A good VPN typically costs between $5 and $7 a month, with many offering discounts for users who sign up for longer periods.

To use a VPN to unblock UK streaming services, all you need to do is follow the simple steps below:

4 simple steps on How to watch British TV in the USA:

  1. Visit the VPN provider NordVPN and sign-up.
  2. Download the correct app or software for the computer/device you are using.
  3. Select a server located in the United Kingdom.
  4. Press Connect.

After those four easy steps, all you have to do is wait a few moments while the VPN establishes a connection.

Once it is connected, you will be able to access any British sites which are restricted to British users only.

This means you can go to the BBC iPlayer or any of the other popular channels streaming services and access your favourite TV shows just as you would in the UK.

Take a look at the example image below where we connected on a Windows computer, the process is just as easy on a mobile device too.


There are of course plenty of other VPN providers out there, but not all offer the fast connection speeds of NordVPN, which are needed to stream content online smoothly.

If you are keen to try another provider, we would recommend you pick one of the following three:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. CyberGhost VPN
  3. VyprVPN

What TV can I access

With NordVPN up and running you will now be able to access every British TV online streaming service, whether it is the free-to-air or subscription-based channels you are after.

A few of the most popular with US expats are:



  • Sky Go
  • Virgin TV Anywhere
  • BT Sport
  • Sky Sports

Why is British TV blocked in the first place

This is all down to the IP Address which we mentioned above. An IP Address is a piece of unique code which is generated by every internet connection and transmitted to every site you visit.

It tells the sites where in the world you are connecting to the internet from. Sites that restrict access to people based on their location will look at this code to determine whether to let you use their service.

If you try to access them with a US-based IP Address, they will know that you are outside the UK and therefore generate a polite message, like the one below, refusing you access to their site.

Blocked website

How does a VPN work to unblock British TV

When you connect to a VPN server, it assigns you a new IP Address based on the location of the server. This means that if the server is located in the UK, your new IP Address will show that you are located in the UK too, even if that is not the case.

As a result, when you visit a site and it checks where you are located, it sees a UK-based IP Address and so allows you to access the site.

It is impossible for the site to see beyond this IP Address and know where you actually are, so they have no reason to try and block you anymore.

David Spencer

Author: David Spencer

David is VPNCompare's News Editor. Anything going on in the privacy world and he's got his eye on it. He's also interested in unblocking sports allowing him to watch his favourite football team wherever he is in the world.

Away from writing, he enjoys reading and politics. He is currently learning Mandarin too... slowly.

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