BBC iPlayer provides some of the most popular streaming content available on the net today.
Arguably one of the most popular series available on the BBC is Blue Planet 2, which offers a fascinating view of the world under oceans.
Sadly, if you’re a resident of another country outside of the U.K. or a U.K. resident visiting abroad, you’re in for some trouble, as the popular series is available only to viewers inside the U.K.
Luckily, there is a way for viewers outside the U.K. to view Blue Planet 2 and other BBC iPlayer content.
In this article, I’ll show you how to use a VPN to watch Blue Planet 2 overseas (outside the U.K.) in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Mexico or anywhere else.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) assigns a new, temporary IP address to your internet connection, making it appear as if you are located in another country. (For this article, we’ll concentrate on getting an IP address in the U.K.)
Once you’ve got that U.K. IP address, Blue Planet 2 will be right at your fingertips.
This article will focus on the best VPNs for opening access to Blue Planet 2 and other BBC iPlayer shows while you’re outside U.K. borders.
How to Watch Blue Planet 2 Abroad With a VPN
Viewing Blue Planet 2 from outside the U.K. by using a VPN takes only a few easy steps:
- Subscribe to a dependable VPN provider. (I recommend ExpressVPN.)
- Install the latest version of the provider’s VPN app on your device(s).
- Log in and select a server located in the U.K.
- Log into your BBC iPlayer account to view Blue Planet 2 or the service’s other excellent content. If you have any issues, you might have to try a new server or two on the list to obtain access.
Note: You’ll need a U.K. TV license to watch BBC iPlayer. If you’re a resident of the United Kingdom, you likely already have a U.K. TV license, which is required to view any content from the BBC iPlayer website or app.
Luckily, the BBC iPlayer site apparently depends on the honor system, so you can simply click “I have a TV license” when prompted. You will need to input a valid U.K. postal code. Sign up while connected to a U.K. VPN server, so you’ll have a U.K. IP address.
What Is the Best VPN for Watching Blue Planet 2 While Abroad?
If you research VPN providers, you’ll find that each provider has its own set of both strengths and weaknesses. While some providers offer wide-ranging global server coverage, others pride themselves on high-speed connections.
When you’re looking for the best VPN to open access to Blue Planet 2, always look for a provider with U.K.-based servers, speedy connections with no data caps and good multi-platform support.
I tested all of my favorite VPN services, and my test data proves that the following 5 VPNs are the best services to use to watch Blue Planet 2 from outside of the United Kingdom:
- ExpressVPN: This provider prides itself on comprehensive global server coverage, which includes 7 locations in the U.K. The provider’s reliable, encrypted connections provide plenty of bandwidth, with no data caps.
- NordVPN: While this provider is the best bargain on this list, it doesn’t skimp on features. It offers plenty of U.K. servers, top-notch privacy and security features and more.
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost delivers streaming-optimized connections via multiple servers located in the United Kingdom. It offers comprehensive app support along with easy-to-use browser extensions.
- Surfshark: Surfshark offers excellent multi-platform support (with unlimited connections per username) and a SmartDNS feature for devices not compatible with a VPN. Not the best global server coverage, but it does have servers located in the U.K.
- PrivateVPN: A proven performer with multiple streaming services and has U.K.-based servers. Offers great bandwidth and solid multi-platform support.
In addition to opening up new content vistas, a VPN can also add a protective coating of encryption to your connection, protecting your online activities from the eyes of those who shouldn’t be watching, making it an excellent way to keep your online banking and shopping sessions undercover.
When considering the best VPNs to use to watch Blue Planet 2 from abroad, I considered the following factors:
- Can unblock BBC iPlayer
- Has servers based in the U.K.
- Provides plenty of bandwidth, with no data caps
- Offers optimal multi-platform support
- Provides strong privacy and security protections
Below, you’ll find my list of the top 5 best VPNs for watching Blue Planet 2 while you’re abroad.
ExpressVPN is my choice for the best VPN for opening up access to Blue Planet 2 (and other BBC iPlayer content) from outside the United Kingdom.
The provider has 3,000+ VPN servers in 160 server locations in 94 counties, with server farms in 6 cities in the U.K., providing access to Blue Planet 2 while you’re abroad.
Blue Planet 2 is available in dazzling high definition, making it a great way to show off your Smart TV’s HD display. ExpressVPN provides connection speeds that are more than up to delivering HD video to your devices.
BBC iPlayer is available on all of the popular computing and device platforms, and even a few not-so-popular platforms, making multi-platform support an important consideration.
ExpressVPN offers native apps for Windows, Android, macOS, Linux, iOS, Chromebook, Kindle Fire and more. In addition, browser extensions are available for the Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers.
Plus, ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer service provides access to Blue Planet 2 for PlayStation, Xbox, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and other set-top devices.
ExpressVPN coats your connection with a layer of military-grade 256-bit encryption, and it keeps no logs whatsoever connected to your online travels. Bitcoin is available as a payment option to protect your payment privacy.
This provider allows 3 concurrent connections on the same login. If you want more connections, the service is compatible with numerous router makes and models, allowing you to protect all of your connected devices via one access point.
- Does an excellent job of unblocking BBC iPlayer
- HD video-capable connection speeds
- Top-notch global server coverage, with plenty of servers in the U.K.
- Excellent privacy and security protections
- 24/7 live customer support
- One of the more expensive providers
BEST FOR UNBLOCKING BLUE PLANET 2:ExpressVPN is the best choice to unblock Blue Planet 2 from outside the United Kingdom. Offers reliable unblocking power, fast speeds and excellent privacy and security protections. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available, so you can try it risk free.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN is the runner-up this time around thanks to its low price, plentiful number of servers in the U.K., HD-optimized connections, wide platform support and optimal security and privacy protections.
While NordVPN’s country count of 60 isn’t the best in the business, it’s the average. Its server count of 5,000+ servers does rank among the best.
The provider has 670+ servers located in the United Kingdom alone. However, NordVPN doesn’t specify in which cities the servers are located, nor does it allow you to select a specific city. Still, that won’t affect access to Blue Planet 2.
Reliable access to BBC iPlayer means you’ll have easy access to episodes of Blue Planet 2, and the provider’s HD-capable streaming speeds mean your stream will start playing quickly and will remain sharp the entire time.
BBC iPlayer is widely available on numerous popular connected platforms, and NordVPN has those covered. The Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android TV and Linux platforms are all covered, and browser extensions are available for the Chrome and Firefox platforms.
You can protect your streaming boxes, game consoles and any other connected devices not on the list above by making use of the provider’s compatibility with various makes and models of routers.
NordVPN protects your internet connection from eavesdropping by using military-grade encryption, and it protects your privacy by following a strict no-logs policy. The provider also accepts Bitcoin, keeping your payment information completely anonymous.
- 670+ servers located in the U.K. alone
- Low-price leader
- Handles HD video with ease
- Above-average multi-platform support
- Can’t choose a specific server location
BEST BARGAIN VPN:NordVPN is the low-price leader on this list. While the provider has 670+ servers in the U.K., it doesn’t allow you to specify a server location. The provider’s app support has most of the popular streaming platforms covered. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
CyberGhost is included on this list thanks to reliable access to Blue Planet 2 and the rest of the BBC iPlayer content from outside U.K. borders.
It also ranks here because of its easy-to-use apps, making it an excellent option for first-time VPN users.
CyberGhost’s global server coverage (3,600+ servers in 59 countries) is merely average, but it does provide 400+ U.K.-based servers located in Berkshire, London and Manchester. (London and Manchester offer streaming-optimized servers.)
The U.K. servers provide reliable access to BBC iPlayer content, with HD-capable connection speeds. Those fast connections are protected by 256-bit encryption and kill switch protection in all of their apps.
The provider keeps no logs of any kind related to your online travels while connected to their servers.
CyberGhost has the most popular connected platforms covered with native apps. Apps are available for the macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV and Windows platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are available.
Amazon Fire Stick and Android TV users can also take advantage of native apps. Additionally, users can protect their Linux box by following CyberGhost’s easy-to-follow instructions.
CyberGhost allows up to 7 simultaneous connections on a single login, and you can protect even more connected devices thanks to the provider’s compatibility with numerous models of routers.
- Streaming-optimized U.K. connections
- Easy-to-use apps
- No logs = excellent privacy protections
- Accepts Bitcoin
- Specific server selection takes more clicks than it should
STREAMING-OPTIMIZED U.K. SERVERS:CyberGhost offers a large number of streaming-optimized servers in the U.K. On top of providing HD-capable connections, the provider does a top-notch job of protecting your privacy and online activities. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
Surfshark makes it into the top 5 list thanks to its comprehensive multi-platform support, unlimited simultaneous connections and SmartDNS feature for devices not compatible with Surfshark’s app support.
Surfshark is lacking in global server coverage, with only 800+ servers located in 50+ countries. Both their server count and the number of countries they are stationed in are below the industry average.
However, the provider has servers stationed in London and Manchester, providing full access to BBC iPlayer servers, which it does a reliable job of unblocking.
The provider delivers native app support for the Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, iOS and Amazon Fire Stick TV platforms. Plus, extensions are available for the Chrome and Firefox platforms. Additionally, you can set up the VPN on various router makes and models.
Those apps protect your online travels with kill switch protection and by blocking online ads and tracking cookies. They also sport “MultiHop” protection, which routes your internet connection through two VPN servers, helping to obfuscate your actual IP address.
The provider’s military-grade-encrypted connections are more than capable of smoothly streaming the beautiful high-definition video of Blue Planet 2.
Your privacy is fully protected here, as the provider keeps no logs of any kind related to your online activities while connected to Surfshark’s servers. You can also keep your payment information anonymous if you opt to pay using Bitcoin.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections on the same login
- Kill switch and ad-blocking protection
- Above-average app support
- Reliable U.K. servers
- Global server count and coverage are both lacking
- Single-month subscription carries a high price
BEST FOR LARGE FAMILIES:Surfshark is best for users who need many connections, such as a large family. Global server coverage is a bit sparse, but there’s reliable access to Blue Planet 2. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available, as well as a 7-day free trial.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
PrivateVPN just made it into the final 5, but it does make it, thanks to excellent multi-platform support, HD-capable connections and more.
This provider hasn’t been around as long as some of its competitors, but it has quickly gained a good reputation in the VPN industry.
With just over 150 servers in 60 countries, the provider is far behind any of the providers on this list when it comes to global server count. However, it has servers stationed in London and Manchester, so it meets your Blue Planet 2 needs.
Your privacy is well-respected at PrivateVPN (it is in the name of the provider, after all), and the service keeps no logs of any kind connected to your online antics. Plus, Bitcoin is available as a payment option, keeping your payment info under wraps.
PrivateVPN delivers excellent connection speeds, providing more than enough bandwidth to handle BBC iPlayer’s high-definition streams.
iOS, macOS, Windows and Android apps are available, and Kodi users will be glad to hear that an add-on is available for their favorite media app. All of these apps protect your connection with military-level encryption.
Unfortunately, no 24/7 support is available, so if you have any issues, you better hope it’s during office hours.
While the service allows up to 6 devices to simultaneously connect using the same login, users who need more connections can use PrivateVPN with various makes and models of routers.
- Well-encrypted, HD-capable connections
- Top-notch privacy protections
- Multi-platform support includes an add-on for Kodi
- Total server count is severely lacking
- No 24/7 customer support
GREAT FOR KODI USERS:PrivateVPN’s comprehensive multi-platform support includes an add-on for the popular Kodi media app. Delivers HD-capable connections and excellent privacy protection. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Can I Use a Free VPN to Watch Blue Planet 2?
Absolutely. Or, you can try, anyway.
If you don’t mind facing severe limitations, like slow connection speeds and a limited server selection, then go for it.
All joking aside, though, using a free VPN provider puts your online privacy at risk.
Free VPNs are not charities. Any VPN provider needs to have some type of income stream to keep the power turned on and the internet connection from being turned off.
So if they’re not selling subscriptions, they’re selling something else.
Some free VPN providers make their money by selling information about your online activities while you’re connected to their servers. (That’s right, they keep logs.) They sell this info to advertisers and other interested folks.
Plus, the provider might also score a few bucks by injecting ads and tracking cookies into your browsing sessions.
In addition to giving up your online privacy, you’re also giving up many of the features that a paid VPN subscription provides, such as immediate server connection – some free VPNs will require you to sit in a user queue before connecting to a server.
When you do get the go-ahead to connect, you’ll likely find your server options are restricted to a select few servers. The same servers all free users are connecting to, possibly slowing down your connection. (Think highway traffic jam.)
It’s your call, but I would avoid a free VPN provider like the plague.
How Do I Access Blue Planet 2 With a VPN?
You need to be located in the U.K. – or at least appear to be located there – to be allowed access to Blue Planet 2 and all of the other fine content available via BBC iPlayer.
So, you’ll need to load your favorite VPN app and select a server located in the U.K. This will give your device an IP address located inside U.K. borders, making it appear you are located there, too.
As I mentioned earlier, in theory, you’ll at least be required to have a U.K. TV license to view content on the BBC iPlayer website or app, Blue Planet 2 included.
In my experience, the BBC iPlayer site is operated on the honor system and takes your word that you have a TV license.
During signup, click “I have a TV license” when prompted. You’ll be asked to enter a valid U.K. postal code. (You can find one by using Random Postcode Generator.) That’s all there is to it.
What Else Can I Do With a VPN?
A VPN is also the best way to protect your online antics from observation by third parties. A VPN helps keep your activities anonymous when using public Wi-Fi hotspots, sharing files via P2P and performing any other online activities.
VPN providers like ExpressVPN can unblock Blue Planet 2 for you, so there’s no reason to miss any of that beautiful underwater action while you’re outside the U.K. and overseas in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Mexico or anywhere else.