How to watch PBS Outside the US? Tips for streaming

Updated on June 7, 2024
How to watch PBS Outside the US? Tips for streaming

Suppose you love watching your favorite PBS shows, but what do you do when you travel abroad or move overseas? Suddenly you can’t stream new episodes of Nova, Antiques Roadshow, or Masterpiece anymore.

Geo-restrictions cut off access even though you want to watch legally and support public broadcasting. But don’t give up hope! With a few simple steps, you can safely bypass location blocks and stream PBS from anywhere worldwide. This guide will walk you through setting up AstrillVPN on your devices to trick sites into thinking you’re still in the US. Then, you’ll be watching the latest Ken Burns documentary or catching up on Frontline’s investigations in no time.

What is PBS?

PBS, short for Public Broadcasting Service, is a private nonprofit that provides educational TV shows and media to American audiences. Since the 1960s, PBS has produced acclaimed kids’ shows like Sesame Street, documentaries, dramas, and more.

Diverse Content

PBS offers a wide range of shows from science and history to arts and culture. They aim to inform and educate viewers of all ages. You’ll find British dramas, home renovation shows, and Ken Burns documentaries. PBS is commercial-free so there are no annoying ads.

Available Everywhere

The good news is PBS has apps to stream their programs on many popular streaming devices. You can download the PBS app on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV and stream on iOS/Android mobile devices. Some shows may require a participating TV provider login, but a large selection of PBS favorites are available for free on their video streaming service.

Why do you need a VPN to watch PBS outside the US?

Geoblocking restrictions

Due to licensing restrictions, PBS streaming services are only available within the US. They geo-block their content to comply with distribution deals. If you visit and want to stream any video, this message will be displayed: “The THINKTV livestream is not available in your current location.” A VPN bypasses these geoblocking restrictions by masking your real IP address and location.

Access US-only shows

Some great PBS shows, like Downton Abbey, The Great British Baking Show, and Ken Burn’s documentaries, are only available to stream within the US. A VPN gives you access to the full PBS streaming library, so you don’t miss out on your favorites.

Privacy and security

Using a VPN also helps protect your privacy and secure your data. Your internet traffic is encrypted and your online activity is hidden from prying eyes. This gives you an added layer of protection when streaming content on public Wi-Fi networks.

How to watch PBS outside the US with a VPN?

To access PBS outside the US, you must use an AstrillVPN (virtual private network) service. A VPN allows you to connect to a server in the US and access content as if you were located there. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Get a subscription and sign up for AstrillVPN as it has servers located in the US.
sign up for AstrillVPN
  1. Download and install the AstrillVPN app on the device you want to watch PBS on.
install the AstrillVPN app
  1. Connect to a US-based VPN server.
US-based VPN server
  1. Visit the PBS website and sign in.
  1. Open the PBS Video app and start streaming.

Using AstrillVPN is the most reliable way to access PBS outside the United States.

How to stream PBS shows Online?

There are a few ways to stream PBS when outside the U.S.

Use VPN:

The easiest option is to use a VPN, or virtual private network. A VPN allows you to connect to a server in the U.S. and access geo-restricted content like PBS as if you were located there. AstrillVPN offers U.S. servers specifically for streaming PBS and other American TV channels.

Use PBS Passport:

If VPNs don’t work for you, another option is to try PBS Passport. For a yearly fee, PBS Passport gives you on-demand access to thousands of PBS shows and documentaries to stream anytime and anywhere. While primarily meant for viewers in the U.S., PBS Passport is sometimes accessible outside the country as well, depending on current licensing agreements. It’s worth checking if it works for you, especially if you’re a PBS member or donate regularly.

Look for PBS shows:

A third choice is to look for PBS shows on streaming services available in your country like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV+. Many popular PBS programs are licensed to these services, though selection varies in different regions. Episodes are often available on-demand shortly after airing on PBS in the U.S.

How to Watch PBS Without Cable?

PBS offers free streaming of a huge library of shows on its website and mobile apps. All you need is an internet connection—no cable subscription is required.

PBS Website and Apps

The PBS website and apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV and more offer live streams and on-demand viewing of PBS shows like NOVA, Masterpiece, and Ken Burns documentaries. You can watch full episodes or livestreams of your local PBS station. The free PBS Video app is available on almost any device.

Some shows may require a small donation to unlock episodes, but the vast majority of content is completely free to stream. If you enjoy PBS’s commercial-free programming, consider becoming a member to support them.

With free streaming options available across many platforms, there are many ways to enjoy PBS without a traditional cable package.

Where can I stream PBS?

  • PBS offers a few streaming options for viewers outside the US. The PBS Video app has a wide selection of shows for streaming on iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV, and some smart TVs. Due to licensing restrictions, the catch is that live streaming and certain shows are only available within the US.
  • The PBS Passport channel on Amazon Prime Video is your best option for those abroad. For $5/month, Passport unlocks thousands of episodes to stream on-demand, including PBS favorites like NOVA, Masterpiece, and Ken Burns documentaries. You will need an Amazon Prime membership first before adding the PBS Passport channel. The PBS Video app is also available on some Amazon Fire tablets to stream a curated collection of shows on the go.
  • Depending on your location, you may also find some PBS shows available on Netflix, Hulu or for free on YouTube. While not as extensive as the US offerings, you can at least catch a few episodes of Antiques Roadshow, This Old House or other evergreen PBS classics.

With a little searching, expats and world travelers can still get their PBS fix and stay connected to the shows they know and love. Where there’s a will to stream, there’s usually a way.

How to watch PBS outside the US on iOS?

  1. Get a subscription and sign up for AstrillVPN as it has servers located in the US.
  2. Download and install the AstrillVPN iOS app on the device you want to watch PBS on.
  3. Open the VPN app and connect to a server located in the US.
  4. With your VPN active, open the PBS Video app on your device. You may need to sign in with your PBS account or create a free account to access content.
  5. Open the PBS Video app and start streaming.

How to watch PBS outside the US on Android?

Here are the steps to set it up:

  1. Sign up for a subscription.
  2. Download and install AstrillVPN app on your Android phone or tablet.
  3. Once installed, open the VPN app and connect to a US server.
  4. Open the PBS Video app on your Android device. If you haven’t already, download it from the Google Play Store.
  5. With the VPN running and connected to a US server, you should now be able to stream shows and movies for free on the PBS Video app, just like viewers located within the US.

How to watch PBS outside the US on Smart TV?

  1. Once you’ve signed up for AstrillVPN, download its Android or iOS app on your smart TV.
  2. Log into the AstrillVPN app
  3. Select a US server to connect to.
  4. Open the PBS app on your TV or a streaming service that offers PBS like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV or AT&T TV Now.
  5. Sign up and enjoy!

What can I watch on PBS Outside US?

Even though you’re outside the US, you can still enjoy popular PBS shows through streaming services. PBS offers a variety of science, nature, history, and arts programming programs for all ages.

Some highly-rated shows on PBS include the acclaimed documentary series :

  • Frontline, which investigates important social issues.
  • Nova explores cutting-edge science stories.
  • American Masters profiles influential cultural figures.
  • Sesame Street teaches kids letters, numbers and sharing.

Why is AstrillVPN best for watching PBS outside the US?

AstrillVPN is one of the best VPN services for accessing PBS outside the US. It offers super-fast speeds so you can stream shows without buffering, and it has a large network of servers in the US to choose from.

Once you sign up for AstrillVPN, you can select a US-based server and your internet traffic will be routed through it. This tricks PBS into thinking you’re accessing it from within the US. AstrillVPN also uses strong encryption to hide your online activity and location.

With AstrillVPN, you get access to PBS, PBS KIDS, PBS Passport, and the PBS Video App. You can watch popular shows like Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Victoria anywhere in the world. AstrillVPN works on many devices, including Windows PCs, Macs, Android, and iOS, so you can enjoy PBS wherever you are.

For unblocking PBS outside the US and streaming without restrictions, AstrillVPN is a great choice. With fast speeds, US servers, and affordable plans, you’ll be watching PBS in no time!

How to watch your PBS station live?

The easiest way to stream PBS live outside the US is through the PBS website or app.

PBS Website

Visit and select “Watch Live TV.” Access the live stream with your cable or satellite provider info. If you don’t have a TV provider, you can sign up for the PBS Passport streaming service for $5/month to access live streams from your local PBS station.


Download the PBS Video app on your streaming device, such as Roku, Fire TV, or Apple TV. Once installed, open the app and select “Live TV” to view your local PBS station’s live broadcast. Again, you’ll need to log in with your cable/satellite information or PBS Passport account to access the live stream.

The PBS Kids 24/7 channel is also available as a live stream for the little ones. Between these options, you should be able to catch all your favorite PBS shows as they air, no matter where you are. Staying up to date with programs such as PBS Newshour, NOVA, and Masterpiece Theatre is now easier than ever.

Troubleshooting PBS issues

If you’re having trouble accessing PBS from outside the US, try these troubleshooting tips:

1. Check your device settings

 Make sure location services are turned off for the PBS app or website. PBS uses your location to determine if you’re accessing from within the US. With location services disabled, PBS will think you’re in the US.

2. Use a VPN

A virtual private network masks your location and tricks websites into thinking you’re accessing them from somewhere else, like the US. Many VPN services offer US servers that will allow you to stream PBS.

3. Clear your cache and cookies

Your browser stores information about the websites you visit. Clearing your cache and cookies will reset your browser and may fix issues with accessing PBS.

4. Try a different browser.

 If PBS isn’t working in your usual browser, try accessing it differently. Different browsers can sometimes have better luck accessing geographically restricted content.

5. Check PBS for any service issues

Occasionally, PBS experiences technical issues that can disrupt streaming. Check the PBS website or social media to see if they’ve reported any current service problems before troubleshooting your access issues.


Here are some common questions and answers to help you out:

Is PBS free on Firestick?

Yes, the PBS Video app is free on Fire TV devices like the Firestick. You can download the app and access a live stream of your local PBS station and on-demand shows. However, you will need a VPN to access the US-only content outside the country.

Is PBS free in the USA?

PBS content is freely available to stream in the US. PBS is a non-profit public broadcaster funded by donations from viewers. It offers both live streams of PBS member stations and a huge library of on-demand shows, documentaries, and movies.

Is PBS free on Prime Video?

PBS shows are not included with an Amazon Prime Video subscription. However, many popular PBS programs can be purchased as separate add-ons through Prime Video. You can also access a live stream and on-demand content for free through the PBS Video app on Amazon Fire TV devices. But again, if you’re outside the US, you’ll need a VPN.


With a couple simple steps, you can gain access to all your favorite PBS shows no matter where you are in the world. Using AstrillVPN to mask your location is really the key that unlocks the door. Sign up, connect to a US server, and it’s like you never left home. Enjoy catching up on all those amazing documentaries, British dramas, and kids’ shows that make PBS such a national treasure. Don’t worry, your secret binge-watching is safe with that encrypted connection. Just sit back, relax, and let yourself be whisked away by the magic of public broadcasting.

Was this article helpful?
Thanks for your feedback!

About The Author

Bisma Farrukh

Bisma is a seasoned writer passionate about topics like cybersecurity, privacy and data breach issues. She has been working in VPN industry for more than 5 years now and loves to talk about security issues. She loves to explore the books and travel guides in her leisure time.

No comments were posted yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Reload Image