Disclaimer: The procedure steps described below are universal, no matter if you are in China or any other country worldwide.
If you happen to be travelling to China or living in China and need to watch the BBC iPlayer on your computer or mobile device, it would be expected that you see the following message upon trying to load the iPlayer website:
Which means that the BBC servers have detected your IP address to be a non-UK based IP address, meaning you would not be allowed to watch anything in the iPlayer by using that current foreign to the United Kingdom IP address. And that is definitely not the end of the world as you can actually change your IP address with such that is UK based and therefore to be able to watch the BBC iPlayer from your current location in China.
Watching TV online has never been easier in China, and with access to wide array tools and VPN services, there's no excuse in not finding the show you want to watch. In this article, we are going to talk about the BBC online streaming service: iPlayer.
Tutorial for watching BBC iPlayer in China
Choose a VPN provider that unblocks BBC iPlayer in China from the following list and register an account with it:
Surfshark VPN - 98% of users reported it to be working Speed of UK (Manchester) Location: 173.79 Mbit ( tested - October, 2021 )
ExpressVPN - 97% users reported it to be working Speed of UK (London) Location: 118.13 Mbit ( tested - October, 2021 )
NordVPN - 95% users it reported it to be working Speed of UK (London) Location: 732.38 Mbit ( tested - October, 2021 )
Private Internet Access - 92% users reported it to be working Speed of UK (Manchester) Location: 418.75 Mbit ( tested - October, 2021 )
CyberGhost VPN - 89% users reported it to be working Speed of UK (London) Location: 107.40 Mbit ( tested - October, 2021 )
Set up your device by installing the software made for it by the provider you chose:
After obtaining a subscription for the VPN service of your preference, you would get access to all their tools and software. Depending on the device you chose to watch BBC iPlayer on, you would need a software specially made for that particular type of device and operating system. Downloading and installing that is pretty much straightforward once you log in the VPN provider website and navigate to the software section of your dashboard.
On your Computer or Laptop (in this case, we’re using SurfShark for Windows)
Or by using your browser with an extension (in our case Mozilla Firefox, but also works on Safari, Chrome, and others).
Or by using your mobile device (iPhone, Android Phone, or any Apple or Android mobile device):
Connect to one of the listed locations in the United Kingdom
Each VPN provider has many different locations around the world where you can connect to. In this specific case, you would need to search for the United Kingdom and choose any UK based server from the list.
Registering takes less than 2 minutes and only requires email address verification. Bear in mind that the BBC iPlayer does not automatically check for TV Licensing immediately upon registration, but you are obliged by law to obtain a TV licence from the respective UK TV Licensing service, which is a completely separate system.
Watch anything available in the BBC iPlayer.
After logging in, by navigating through the library of the iPlayer you can choose and play directly on the screen of your choice any TV show or movie they have in the database.
What is the BBC iPlayer?
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is one of the largest TV and news broadcasters on the planet, with BBC news being hosted by over 200 countries worldwide, including China. iPlayer, the company's online streaming service, or as it is also called - the video on demand service of the broadcaster, racked up a staggering 5.8 billion streams in 2020, a 31% increase on the previous year.
The iPlayer provided by BBC if used from a UK based IP address works on any devices that you might have - computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs.
BBC abroad has gone down particularly well in China, with the British show Dr. Who being one of the most popular on the platform. iPlayer also hosts an array of live-streaming events such as sports games, popular panel shows as well as consistent news broadcasting.
What is a VPN Service and how to use is for BBC iPlayer
When talking about accessing BBC iPlayer, we come across the same few headlines:
How to Watch or Access or Download BBC iPlayer Live Online in China.
Well, all of this can be achieved through a VPN service. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is simply a way of changing the identity source of your network connection and establishes a protected chain when using public networks. VPN's are becoming the go-to way of maintaining security online, and just so happen to allow users the chance to view content from different countries. That brings us to iPlayer, and accessing its unique content through a British IP Address.
How Does VPN Work When Watching BBC in China
Internet in China first became available in 1989 with the first public ISP connecting the country and its people to the Global Network. As of 2021, there are 829,001,808 people in China using the internet, out of the total population being 1,420,064,917 people, reaching 58.38% of the total population. Some of the major ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in China are 263.net, China Telecom, China TieTong. The highest percentage of people with Internet access and ability to use a VPN to watch the BBC iPlayer from China live in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin.
A VPN reroutes your internet traffic from your ISP in China (Internet Service Provider) through a network server. In that way, the data you send out from your computer or smartphone does not reach the website, cloud service, or app from your device IP but the VPN server IP address. The process hides your China IP address and protects your anonymity on the Internet. Here is the kicker - you can choose the location of the server you are using. It can be in the UK, US, Canada, or any other location the VPN service offers. That is how you can bypass the localisation issue of the BBC iPlayer and enjoy the quality BBC programming from every corner of the world.
How to Unblock BBC in China
To unblock BBC services, you'll first need to get your hands on a Virtual Private Network service. There are a bunch of excellent free VPNs out there, and even the subscription-based ones are becoming more affordable. Usually a site will offer a 30-day free trial, so don't forget to try before you buy. Once you have your VPN installed, you will need to connect to a UK IP address, this can easily be achieved by selecting the UK as the default country for your VPN. Once you have this set for BBC, simply navigate to their website, and start streaming. Accessing the BBC's iPlayer from China couldn't be easier.
Choose a VPN Service for watching BBC from China
VPN becomes more and more popular as people become more conscious of protecting their identity and personal information on the Internet. There is an abundance of VPS services out there. Sometimes it might be difficult to distinguish between what provider is good and which has a lower speed or IPs marked as known to be part of a VPN network. In general most VPN providers have all that is needed for watching BBC iPlayer from abroad so no worries when choosing, focus on price and choose one of the well-known brands.
Do I need a TV Licence to watch BBC iPlayer in China?
We talked about how to Use a tool to watch BBC in China, but the question still remains, do I need a TV Licence to watch BBC iPlayer? Technically, yes. The BBC requires those watching iPlayer to be in possession of a legal television licence, and although using a British IP address provided by a virtual private network to unblock BBC services can bypass these stipulations, TV Licensing is important, and we recommend that you are doing so in a legal way through one of the BBC's reputable distributors and collaborators.