Updated: January 1st, 2018
2018 is here - and "CBS all access UK" is still not a thing 🙁
Never mind! The solution below is still 100% effective. To get CBS All Access in UK, do the following right now:
- 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
Total time to complete this solution: 5 minutes
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. Same with a few other fantastic US-based online streaming service like Hulu Plus and Spike TV.
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 can you use a VPN to get CBS All Access UK unblocked?. 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.
As mentioned already, ExpressVPN offer a 30-day money back guarantee - so confident are they that you will find their software effective to securely unblocking whatever online service you want to access.
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.
Another great feature of using this specific VPN is the sheer amount of devices it is compatible with. Just from the small sample list in the screenshot above, you can see that essentially any device you would ever want to get CBS All Access UK unblocked on is compatible with ExpressVPN.
So, once you've downloaded the software onto the device(s) you plan to watch CBS on, the software will automatically prompt you to install it onto your system.
This is just like any software install (or app install, if you're on your mobile device), so just go ahead and click through the steps and in a few moments you will be then prompted to open the software and give it a run!
With the VPN open, all you need to do now is get connected...
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
This is the most important step in this entire quick solution process.
For it is at this point that you are actually going to change your IP address and make your location "appear" from wherever you want (to the online services you want to unblock, like CBS All Access UK in this case).
So, choose the server you want to connect to. To watch CBS in the UK this will obviously need to be a US-based server. Luckily there are a few of these to choose from with ExpressVPN. It doesn’t matter which one you decide to go with.
To give you an idea of how the software actually looks on your device, I went ahead and downloaded + installed it onto both my Macbook and my Android smartphone device.
Here is a quick look at the connection process on my Macbook:
As you can see, very simple and clean software. Simply a "Select Another Location" option, that presents you with a list of countries (and cities therein) for you to choose.
On your mobile device, the software stays consistent with its simple and easy-to-navigate design. Here's a snapshot from my Android mobile device:
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.
So you see I definitely was not lying when i said how you really do not need any "technical expertise" at all for this solution. It's literally a three-click process to have your IP address changed, allowing you to get CBS All Access UK unblocked.
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 your favourite shows through CBS All Access UK unblocked!
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.
Is there another way to get CBS All Access UK unblocked?
I have been asked a few times why I specifically recommend going with a VPN for this solution - and if there are any other methods that do not involve a VPN.
There is one other approach to this that can work as well as a VPN.
Using a SmartDNS to get CBS All Access in the UK
A SmartDNS works in the same way as a VPN. This is a process that also "hijacks" your internet connection and re-routes it through one a separate server, allowing you to control your IP address and unblock websites + online media streaming services.
Why do I not recommend using a SmartDNS over a VPN? Simple:
A VPN provides 'military grade' level encryption on your online activity and data the moment you are connected to it.
A SmartDNS provides zero privacy protection on your online activity and data. So you are completely open and vulnerable to any individual/entity monitoring your online behaviour.
This alone is enough of reason for you to choose a VPN over a SmartDNS provider. However, should you need more convincing - just know that the price difference between the two methods is literally 1 cup of Starbucks coffee. Hardly a big price to pay to keep your online data safe, right?
Finally, I can tell you I personally review the top 10 VPN providers every 2 weeks to make 100% sure whether they are effectively allowing CBS All Access UK unblocking or not.
Thanks for reading through this guide - and if you implemented the steps we walked through above, then you will be happily viewing CBS All Access from the comfort of your UK location right now.