Updated – March 10th, 2014
You Brits need your football and of course the BBC when you move to The States. Bring your sun block with you, as the sun actually shines over here, and download ExpressVPN software, so you can watch this highbrow entertainment. Let me also say that you do not have to use ExpressVPN. I can also recommend BufferedVPN and IPVanish for watching BBC iPlayer from the US. For the purposes of this tutorial though, I’m going to be using ExpressVPN.
Why Do I need VPN?
The BBC is blocked outside of the UK. They do this for copyright reasons and other ridiculous notions barristers and those who practice contract law would understand. (Have you ever met a lawyer who can answer any question in one sentence?) Most media companies also do this, because they don’t want to have you using up their server capacity when they cannot sell advertising that would be relevant for your location. If you are outside the country then you are not going to be able to shop at Harrods.
What VPN software does is give you an IP address in whatever country you want to connect to. It does this in two steps: (1) You connect to the VPN provider and (2) they send your web traffic onto as server in the country you select. This defeats the media company´s ability to know where you are located, because you’ll have a new ip address from the VPN company. Only the VPN server knows your true ip address. Don’t worry if this is confusing to you, I’m only giving you a brief technical overview as you don’t need to know much more than this (unless you’d like to in which case you can go ahead and read this post).
Privacy is what the VPN companies sell. Most VPN companies erase their logs, so that if they were subpoenaed that would not be able to unmask who you really are, unless the police or attorneys forced the VPN company to turn the logs back on. (Did you know that Hollywood almost got congress to pass a law to block the ip address of PirateBay and other sites that host movies? Those fascists.)
What client should I use?
What VPN client should you use to connect to VPN? That depends on what kind of device you want to use to connect use the BBC iPlayer or connect to the BBC web site. There is no iPlayer app for Android, but there is one for iPhones and iPads plus Apple and Windows computers. But you can watch content without the iConnect, so Android works too for that.
Here’s a quick look at how ExpressVPN software looks on my Windows:
After you connect, it will tell you that you have a new ip address in the country where you connected. You can verify this by going to the web site WhatsmyIP and click More Info About You. The web site will ask you to use your computers location. Click deny. This is what I was talking about before, it wants to access information about the network you are connected to, meaning the Wi-Fi router in your house and where your ISP (internet service provider) is located. That nails down where you are located.
As you can see, the web site thinks that I am somewhere in Leicester. That is what we want the BBC to think too.
Now you can watch BBC shows online or download them to the iPlayer for offline viewing.
ExpressVPN the Company
If this was a software review, we would have told you about the company up-front. Instead this is a how-to-tutorial. So here we will tell you a little about the company. When you pick a VPN company you should consider the following things:
Price—their monthly price is about twice the average of others. Still it is relatively cheap: costs the same as two pints of beer.
Number of ip address—if they run out of these, no one else can connect. They have over 10,000. That’s enough.
Bittorrent—if you want to use VPN to download movies and hide from the Motion Picture Association and their copyright lawyers then you need to check that your VPN service provider does not block that. They don’t.
So there you have some details on how to get this software to work so that British expats can watch the BBC using ExpressVPN. The BBC programming is certainly superior to most of the movies coming out of Hollywood. In the USA we think it is highbrowed and cultured. We think you are too because of your accent. But I know most of you are working class wage slaves just like the rest of us.