Television viewers in the U.S. once had to wait months – even years – to watch BBC programs. The Internet has made it fairly easy to catch your favorite British television shows, but it's still not as easy as watching American-made series — at least legally.
So what's an Anglophile to do?
Follow our guide for finding many of your favorite BBC series online, with a few tips on making the most of your British television experience.
The good news is that the BBC offers its own streaming service, the iPlayer, which features nearly all of their current programming. The bad news is that you can't use it if you live outside the U.K.
There have been rumors for years that iPlayer would eventually be offered as a subscription service in the U.S. It hasn't happened yet, though, which is odd, considering many Americans would gladly throw their money at the BBC for this service.
You can still watch iPlayer, because there are roundabout (legal) ways to do so: you just need a DNS service that allows you to bypass geo-blocking, which is what the BBC uses to prevent their content from being watched online in the U.S.
There are several such DNS services, and one we've successfully used is UnoTelly, which costs under $4 a month. You can get a free trial and the service is 100% guaranteed for seven days.
Once you've registered and set up your DNS service, you can watch iPlayer from nearly any device: your PC, smartphone, tablet, Xbox One, PS4 and even your smart television.
Many BBC series do eventually make their way to Netflix — arriving later than their live air dates in the U.K. If you're patient and don't mind the wait, you can catch up on recent series such as the excellent Black Mirror, Peaky Blinders, Call The Midwife, Broadchurch and Doctor Who.
Hulu Plus also offers a good variety of older British TV episodes, though the selection isn't quite up to par with Netflix. Hulu nevertheless lets you stream older episodes of Top Gear (may it rest in peace), Shameless, Peep Show, Doctor Who (Hulu offers more classic episodes than other services), Coupling and The Thick of It (featuring the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi). If you're looking for older BBC series, Hulu is the way to go.
Amazon Prime's unlimited streaming falls far behind Netflix and Hulu Plus. In fact, when we searched for BBC series on the Prime service, we only found one offering: The Hour. So you're definitely not going to get your Doctor Who fix here.
Amazon Prime does however have one thing the other services don't: the first two seasons of BBC America's Orphan Black.
Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and Google Play
If you don't want to wait months and you don't want to pony up the cash for a geo-blocking bypass service, then the only other legal way to get your BBC content is buying individual episodes or full seasons of shows. You can do that via Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and Google Play.
In the end, that will cost a lot more than signing up for UnoTelly or using the BBC's iPlayer. But if you've got the money, you can watch many BBC series online, 24 hours after they air in the U.S. on BBC America.
But there's the problem: you won't find the more obscure BBC shows not airing in the states. And you'll still have to wait to get episodes of shows like Sherlock until after they've aired on PBS, usually months after airing in the U.K.
[Photo Credit: BBC]