In this article I will show you a simple process how to watch PBS outside of the US.
If you’re trying to watch PBS outside of the US, you’ll have noticed the “we’re sorry, but this video isn’t available in your country due to rights restrictions,” error message. You’re seeing this message because PBS is only available in the US (…to users connecting from US internet connections).
This is obviously a nuisance if you’re (an American) trying to watch your favourite show in another country. But don’t worry, there is a simple fix.
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How to watch PBS outside of the US: Quick Guide
To watch PBS outside of the US the first thing you need to do is get a VPN that works with PBS.
There are many VPN providers out there, but only a few guarantee fast enough speeds, and a reliable connection, to watch PBS outside of the US.
Total Time: 2 minutes
Create a new account with ExpressVPN ($6.67/month)
Download and install the new VPN app
Connect to a server in the US
Watch PBS wherever you are
Why can’t you watch PBS outside of the US?
You receive the “we’re sorry, but this video is not available in your country due to rights restrictions,” error because PBS only has the rights to broadcast its shows in the US.
Like many other entertainment providers, PBS cannot broadcast its content in countries where it does not own the broadcast rights. So when you try and stream on PBS, this error will come up and you will not be able to view the content.
To watch PBS outside the US and get around these “geo-blocks,” you need a good VPN that fools PBS into thinking that you are watching from inside the US.
VPNs do this by changing your IP address. IP addresses are like landline telephone area codes. They contain information that identifies where you are connecting to the internet. A VPN will provide you with a US IP address, so it looks like you connect to the internet from the United States.
Will any VPN work?
PBS pays a lot of money for their broadcasting rights in the US. Thus, they try to protect their investment by blocking users from viewing their content outside of the US.
VPNs are very popular. Research suggests that globally one in four people use VPNs to view online content.
For this reason, broadcasting companies like PBS are doubling down on locating and blocking VPNs. They do this using three methods:
- PBS monitor for IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks. This is a simple test, but lesser VPNs will fail it, meaning your IP address will be identified and blacklisted from viewing content abroad
- There are GeoIP databases that collect IP address information. If your VPN uses an IP address on one of these databases, your connection will be blocked from viewing PBS content abroad.
- PBS will check each IP address. If there are a large number of connections coming from the same address, PBS will blacklist it.
Lower-end VPN providers are not able to provide enough IP addresses to avoid these blacklisting methods. Fortunately, good VPN providers like ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.49/month) avoid these blocks by playing a cat and mouse game that allows you to watch PBS outside the US.
How do VPNs get around PBS blocking methods?
Good VPNs can keep one-step ahead of the game by playing cat and mouse with streaming services like PBS.
See a list of good VPN providers at the bottom of this article.
Every time PBS locates and blocks an IP address, (good) VPN providers like ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.49/month) close that IP address and open a new one. This will allow you to reliable watch PBS outside of the US.
What VPNs will work with PBS outside the US?
If you have already subscribed to a VPN and it doesn’t work, this can be frustrating. But if you choose one of the VPN providers below, you will be making a wise decision as you will be able to watch PBS outside the US, at any time.
All of the VPN providers below, play cat and mouse with PBS, ensuring there will be an IP address you can connect to, to watch PBS outside of the US.
The fastest and MOST reliable VPN of 2022Number of servers: 3,000+ | Speed: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 160 in 94 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes ExpressVPN is still the best VPN. And importantly, it ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video etc. ExpressVPN is usually very good at playing Cat and Mouse with online streaming sites (apart from BBC iPlayer). Meaning, whenever one of its servers is blacklisted it creates a new one – giving its users a constant stream of servers that aren’t blocked. Needless to say, this is a valuable attribute if you’re looking for a VPN to unblock streaming sites. Its app is easy-to-use and free to download on pretty much any device you can think of. Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, FireStick, Android TV, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Linux, even Apple TV (with a workaround). It’s got it all covered. The app is another main reason this VPN is so good at unblocking TV streaming sites (that claim they block VPNs) is that its software takes a pragmatic approach to user management. While other VPNs tempt customers by promising them access to hundreds/thousands of servers in multiple countries, ExpressVPN does things differently. With ExpressVPN you only have a handful of server locations to choose from. Once you select your location the app takes care of the rest. Assigning you to the fastest available server that’s not oversubscribed. This simple technique is so important, as it keeps ExpressVPN’s servers operating at lightning-fast speeds and prevent its IPs from getting blacklisted for “abnormal” usage in the first place.
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A very quick and trustworthy VPNNumber of servers: 5,000+ | Speeds: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 62 countries | Devices supported: 6 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes NordVPN is the most widely-used VPN in the world. And its easy to see why. It’s a polished app that delivers fast connections (more on this later) to a massive network of VPN servers. It’s the most reliable at unblocking popular streaming services too – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. This is because NordVPN hired full-time technical team (that’s responsible for monitoring its servers connections with popular TV streaming services) and has been aggressively investing in its network of IP addresses in key locations. Another interesting thing to note is that NordVPN is an industry leader in its development of Nordlynx technology. Nordlynx is built using the WireGuard, a new VPN tunnelling protocol designed to outperform current standards (OpenVPN and IPSec). The benefits, according to NordVPN, are dramatically faster transfer speeds while connected to a VPN. My tests – New Zealand to London – confirm that Nordlynx is currently the fastest VPN on the market. However, the difference isn’t dramatic, a few Mbps is all.
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The great low-cost VPN optionNumber of servers: 1,000+ | Speed: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 275 in 100 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes If you’re looking for an excellent VPN, with an even better price tag, Ivacy ($1.16/month) is a great option. This VPN has all the features you need to stream BBC iPlayer, in HD, from any country in the world. I’ve been testing the app recently on Mac, PC, Android, iOS and FireStick and the results have been impressive – unlocking BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. with ease. The Ivacy app is a little different in regards to its UX (user experience). Instead of just selecting a UK server, you need to select the specific BBC iPlayer server. Don’t worry, this isn’t a bad thing – by connecting to a dedicated BBC iPlayer server, it simply means that you’re connecting to an IP address that Ivacy knows works with BBC iPlayer. For an extra $1.99/month (£1.74) you can add-on a dedicated IP. This will buy you sole access to an IP address in a country of your choice, meaning you won’t have to share your IP (and speeds) with any other use. I don’t recommend this though, using the regular Ivacy servers is enough 95 per cent of the time.
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5. CyberGhostNumber of servers: 6,000+ | Speeds: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 200 in 90 countries | Devices supported: 7 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes CyberGhost is one of the more established VPNs on the market. It has a well-established, and well-tested global network of servers that perform well. From my tests over the past several months, CyberGhost has no trouble at unblocking major streaming services – US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max etc. This VPN performed well at maintaining download speeds, well above 65 per cent of my regular (non VPN) ISP speed. That said, there’s nothing really unique about the service. Which forces you to look at its price-point. And there’s nothing special here. Its short-term $12.99/month price tag puts is well above the industry average of $10.10/month. Similarly, its long-term $2.75/month for 3 years deal isn’t much of a “deal” either. Oddly, CyberGhost’s most unique feature is its a 1-day, no obligations, free trial. This is an appealing offer to customers who are new to VPNs. However, it’s important to remember that most reputable VPNs will offer customers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so try not to be too seduced by the offer.
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