How to Watch CBS in the UK
Updated: December 12, 2016
- Start by setting up a VPN account
- Then download + install the VPN software onto the device(s) you plan to watch CBS in the UK on
- Next, open the VPN software and connect to a US-based server location
- Login to your CBS account or signup for one if you haven't already
- Enjoy CBS in the UK
How to watch CBS in the UK in more detail:
I don’t know what it is about CBS that has got me so hooked. I guess it’s the mix of exciting classic shows and shows from my youth. But I’m a sucker for sitcoms and for me the best around right now is ‘the Big Bang Theory. There’s been nothing better since Frasier, which is also still on CBS. Then there’s the CSI series of course which are all great, and the late night topical shows, with the likes of Stephen Colbert and James Corden.
Whatever it is, when I found myself posted to London with work for a year, missing CBS was one of just a handful of things I was worried about. But having found an affordable place to live, worked out how to get around on the underground, and located a bar which showed the basketball, I eventually figured out how to stream CBS on my laptop as well. Turns out it’s much easier than I had feared.
Why is CBS not Available in the UK?
You may be wondering why I can’t just log into the CBS site and watch their CBS All Access service. Well that’s how I usually watched in the US, but as it transpires, CBS All Access is not available in the UK.
When visiting the site, you are greeted with an error message telling you the service is not available outside the USA. It turns out this is because of the rights to the shows on CBS. Being a US channel, CBS only owns the rights to broadcast their shows in the USA. The rights to broadcast them in the UK are held by other broadcasters, but as many are not popular here they are scattered all over the cable channels and are shown at all hours of the day and night. No good for me at all.
Not wanting to upset the production companies who sell the rights, CBS have to stop people accessing their online streaming service if they are outside the region when they own the rights. And they do this using a technology known as geo-blocking.
How is CBS Blocking Access in the UK?
Geo-blocking is a much more straightforward technology than it might sound. Every internet users transmits data, known as an IP Address, to every website and streaming service they visit. This IP Address contains various pieces of information, but the important one for geo-blocking is the geographic location from which you are logging onto the web.
Geo-blocking software can tell from your IP Address if you are outside the USA, and if it detects this, it automatically blocks you from using the service. So even if you have a CBS account, as I did, if you try to log on from the UK, you will find you are unable to.
The only way to evade geo-blocking technology is to change your IP Address so it looks as thought you in the USA. This is where a VPN comes in, because a VPN will reroute your data via an external server and it is the IP Address of that server which CBS will see. If that server is in the US, CBS is fooled into thinking you are too, and you are able to use their site.
But how to use a VPN to access CBS All Access. Well read on, and I will show you just how easy it is.
How to Use a VPN to Watch CBS in UK
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
The first stage is to sign up for a VPN. I will use ExpressVPN to demonstrate how easy this is.
So you first have to visit the ExpressVPN website. You can do this by clicking on any of the links dotted around this article. Once there, you can select which of their subscription packages you want to sign up for. This will depend on your budget and the amount of time you want the service.
Don’t worry. If you are not completely satisfied, you have a free 30-day trial during which you can get your money back at any point.
Once you have chosen your package, you will be redirected through their simple payment process, which accepts all the usual international credit cards and other payment options.
When you have finished, you will be invited to confirm your account via an email. Do this, and then the site will let you download and install the ExpressVPN software.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
To download the software, all you have to do is select the right download from the menu below depending on your operating system and device. Some packages will allow you to download to more than one device as well.
Click the right link for you and follow the simple onscreen instructions to download and install ExpressVPN onto your machine.
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
Then all that remains is to choose the server you want to connect to. To watch CBS in the UK this will obviously need to be a US-based server, but there are a few of these to choose from. It doesn’t matter which you opt for.
Below is an example of the ExpressVPN software connecting on both my Macbook and Android smartphone, respectively:
Click on the server of your choice and you will have to wait a few seconds for the connection to be established, and then you are all set to go.
Step 4: Setup CBS Account
And you’re all done. If you have a CBS account, all you need to do is visit the site and you will allowed to log in and watch shows as usual.
If, however you don’t have a CBS account, you will need to set one up. You can easily do this by entering a US state and Zip code, and a genuine US address (it doesn’t matter which). Then you can put in your credit card details. At the last time of asking, it was still accepting overseas credit cards, but if that has since changed, it should still accept American Express cards from anywhere, so try with one of those.
And you will be ready to enjoy the great selection of shows available on CBS All Access.
This method helped me to enjoy CBS while I was stationed in London, and it can work for you as well. Do let me know of your experiences and any comments or questions you have using the comments box below.
If you are unsure about using ExpressVPN for whatever reason, this method will of course work with other VPNs as well. Above you will find my pick of the Top 5 VPNs currently on the market for streaming CBS in the UK. Happy viewing.