How to Watch BBC iPlayer in Canada
Updated: December 12, 2016
- Start with getting a VPN account setup
- Then download and install the VPN software to your device
- Next, open the software and connect to a UK-based server location
- Once connected, go to BBC iPlayer and you will have access to the service from Canada
- If you are denied access then try another VPN listed in this guide to unblock the service in Canada
How to watch BBC iPlayer in Canada in more detail:
Believe it or not, the second most popular destination for British expats is not Australia, New Zealand, or Spain, but Canada. I didn’t know this until my Mum told me, before announcing that she was planning to emigrate there herself. She had spent more than 50 years living in Slough which, with all due respect, is not the most picturesque of places, and decided not long after my Dad passed away that she wanted a complete change for her retirement.
I think the choice of Canada was made mostly because of her love of 1990’s TV show, Due South, but she insists it was because I was in New York and she wanted to be closer to me, but not too close. The fact that it is actually quicker for me to fly to London and travel to Slough than get to the small town in Ontario she had set her heart on didn’t matter.
To be fair she loved it there and there wasn’t much she missed from home. The biggest by some way was EastEnders, the popular BBC soap opera. I don’t think she has missed an episode before moving, so as a present, I helped to set up a VPN on her laptop to enable her to watch it on the iPlayer. She had no idea it would be blocked in Canada, so it was great that I could sort that out quickly and easily and let her keep watching her favorite show. And if you keep reading I will explain exactly how I did it.
Why is BBC iPlayer not Available in Canada?
I should first explain why she couldn’t watch shows like EastEnders on the iPlayer in Canada. It is all down to rights issues. TV show rights are sold to broadcasters on a country-by-country basis. The BBC is a British TV Channel and there is therefore no reason why it should have the Canadian rights to a show.
Even for programs it makes itself, like EastEnders, it will sell rights to different countries around the world. The upshot of this is that they are not able to offer their online streaming service overseas as it will be in breach of the rights held by other broadcasters. Therefore, they have to block users overseas from accessing the iPlayer, and they do this using something called geo-blocking.
How is BBC iPlayer Blocking Access in Canada?
Geo-blocking works by reading the IP Addresses of users who attempt to stream content on the iPlayer. An IP address is a piece of data every internet users transmits to every site they visit, which includes details of where in the world you are located.
If the iPlayer sees from your IP Address that you are not located in the UK, it will automatically block you from streaming content. How to get around this? Well, the easiest way is by using a VPN.
A VPN will redirect your internet via a server located in a different country. The websites you visit will only see the IP Address of that server rather than your connection, so if that server is located in the UK, the iPlayer will be fooled into thinking you are to and allow you to watch shows.
It’s pretty easy to set up a VPN to do this, and if you keep reading I will talk you through the process step-by-step.
How to Use a VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer in Canada
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
So first you need to sign up with a VPN. As I noted at the beginning I will be illustrating this article with my pick of the current VPNs, ExpressVPN. You can visit their website by clicking one of the links on the page and once there, you can choose from one of their subscription packages.
They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t totally satisfied, so just pick the package that looks best to you, and then follow the simple instructions to make your payment.
Once you have made your payment, you will be send an email with a link in it. Click on this link to activate your account.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
The next step is to download the software. This is also very easy. All you have to do is choose the correct operating system from the menu you can see below, and then click on it before following the onscreen instruction that follow.
These will walk you through the few steps to download and also install the software on your device and should only take a few moments.
Step 3: Connect to UK-based Server on VPN
Lastly, you will need to connect to a UK server. ExpressVPN has a number to choose from and it doesn’t matter which you opt for. Click on your choice and then wait a few moments while ExpressVPN connects you.
Once you are connected, you are to all intents and purposes surfing the web in the UK, at least as far as the iPlayer is concerned. Head on over there and you should be able to watch any of the programs that take your fancy.
My Mum was certainly pleased not to have to miss her EastEnders fix every day, although she still sits down to watch it a 7.30pm every day, which amuses me greatly.
I know a lot of other British ex-pats in Canada use VPNs to watch the iPlayer as well, and it is a tried and trusted technique. Do leave me any comments you may have on this process in the box below.
If you are really not keen on ExpressVPN, there are of course other VPNs on the market, and to help in your search I have listed my top 5 below. If you want to know how to watch BBC iPlayer in Canada, a VPN is really your only solution.