VPN for BBC iPlayer on a Fire TV Stick

Some may recall a thread I started a few weeks ago here:

Essentially, I was having problems with the Surfshark VPN for watching BBC iPlayer here in France. There were two issues - live streamed channels never working to start with, plus random buffering and instability once the stream was established.

Well, I have tried three alternative VPNs since then and all fixed the live stream initial error issue. However, none has fixed the random buffering and consequential problems. It’s the same with both Fire TV sticks we use. I have been using Cyberghost but it really couldn’t cope with Eurovision last night. I then, in desperation and curiosity, decided to try ExpressVPN, widely regarded as the best VPN out there. I’d say ExpressVPN was a bit more stable than Cyberghost, but the buffering problem was certainly not fixed by ExpressVPN.

My Cyberghost trial period is up in a couple of days and I’m minded to stick with that as ExpressVPN is more than twice as expensive.

Watching iPlayer on a PC or Android phone using Cyberghost seems very reliable in comparison.

My conclusion is that the BBC iPlayer app is not well optimised for Fire TV Sticks. I can just hope that it improves with development.

I hope this is interesting or even helpful to some of you!

BBC iPlayer has been total crap for as long as I can remember with buffering, using both the app and browser version.

I’ve used NordVPN on an Asus router for about 4 years now and have never had any speed or stability issues. I have had issues where a particular server stops working on iPlayer, but simply changing server fixes this. I suspect that if you’re running the VPN on the firestick, then the firestick is not powerful enough to run the VPN plus the video decode and display at a high enough rate to give stable video. I know someone who uses ExpressVPN on a router and it’s very stable for them.

This seems to confirm that it’s the firestick that is the issue.

I very rarely use iPlayer now, but when my wife was back in Scotland a month back she complained again that on two PC’s and her phone with a 100mb fibre connection, it was still at times a stuttering mess.

I am just starting out using firestick. I have used UKexpatVPN because they guarantee you can get all the UK channels and also being trying NordVPN. Certainly we occasionally get a second or so of buffering but nothing overly problematic or annoying but we did have a problem during Eurovision last night which I put down to the amount of streaming that was probably going on.

Our main problem is we cannot get any of the Channel 4/All 4 stuff live. Even though we get all the other UK channels we want, that one always tells us we have a geolocation error. Any ideas?

I have been using Windscribe VPN for almost 3 years. Works well.

I tried that as well, same problem as the others on the Fire TV stick.

There’s another thread on here where the consensus was only very recent firestick might be able to do but defo not older ones

I’ve not had problems on my PC or Android phone, only the Fire TV stick.

I believe FireTV sticks have supported VPN apps for quite a while but I also understand that the earliest ones might not. I bought a Roku stick for my daughter to use at Uni about 7 or 8 years ago and that really struggles today as apps becoime bigger and more processor-hungry.

I tried that, too, but it didn’t solve the random buffering problem on the Fire TV strick.

Hmmm. Seems to me that you’re consistently saying that the VPNs you have tried work fine on anything other than your Firestick :thinking:

Correct - with the caveat that I’m only interested in using the VPN for watching BBC iPlayer on the Fire TV stick.

If it is only on the Firestick then that is likely where the problem lies.

As a start, have you tried clearing the cache of the iPlayer app, also restarting the Firestick?

That’s what I’ve been trying to suggest :thinking:

Just a thought, do you have a smart TV running Android?

Many times!

It’s also my conclusion in my original post!

No, one is WebOS (LG Smart TV) and the other is an old Panasonic TV. I’m not aware of any VPN apps for WebOS TVs.

Can only suggest a factory reset of the Firestick.