BBC iPlayer app launches on Windows Phone 8

With 145,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store, many of the big gaps that remain in the platform's app offering are now being filled. While some big names remain out of reach for now, Windows Phone 8 users in the UK have much to celebrate, with the launch of the official BBC iPlayer app. 

Earlier today, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore let the cat out of the bag: 

Back in March, the BBC confirmed that it was working on a Windows Phone iPlayer app. The wait is now over with the BBC's announcement of the new app which, in the BBC's words, offers a "shortcut to the mobile optimized website, live tile and media player". 

The app will be exclusively available to users in the United Kingdom, as domestic programming and other content created by the BBC is funded by a television 'licence fee' paid by UK viewers. While an international, commercial version of iPlayer has launched on other platforms, there's no indication of when Windows Phone users outside of the UK might be able to gain access to BBC content through the new app. 

Sadly, despite promising that the app would also be made available for Windows Phone 7.5 users, that version won't materialise as hoped. The BBC's Dave Price - head of iPlayer, Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media - explains: "Unfortunately, platform limitations with Windows Phone 7.5 have meant we've been unable to provide the same quality playback experience as on Windows Phone 8. This led to the joint decision not to make BBC iPlayer available on Windows Phone 7.5."  

Those of you in the United Kingdom with Windows Phone 8 devices can download the new BBC iPlayer app from the Windows Phone Store now. 

Source: @JoeBelfiore / BBC Internet Blog | Nokia image via Joe Belfiore; screenshots via BBC Press Office

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I've always assumed this would always be "UK only" ... as after all it is paid for by TV licensing.

We don't get all the US shows for free here either!

It's a start. Need to see more from ITV and Channel 4 though.

Shame its WP8, not available for all the 7.8 users then

Couldn't WP users achieve the same objective by simply having a bookmark for the mobile version of the website, without any need for the BBC app?

No, the site states "Your device is not able to support BBC iPlayer". And that's been pretty much the same since Windows Mobile days

the app is ok, I personally will carry on using TV Catchup which has BBC, ITV, Channel 5, E4, Film 4, Really, Viva etc

It's not a great app but it works you can watch all of the stuff on bbc iplayer. All we need now is 4OD, ITV player, Sky Go and Demand 5. Hopefully they decide to design proper WP8 apps and not just port over like the BBC today. Maybe the BBC will also consider redesigning it in the future to look like Metrotube.

Its good to have an app, but its just a web wrapper which plays the video.

Also, it isn't even native to my 920's resolution.

I believe all of their apps are actually web wrapped with PhoneGap so they could cheaply and efficiently push out their app to many platforms. The only native APIs they use (the ones not accessed through HTML/JS that is) are things like the app bar/live tile/menu bars.

I've worked with Appcelerator before which is similar to PhoneGap. Rather than using HTML/JS to create native in-app elements its appeared they've used PhoneGap to easily display the mobile webpage and manage the video wrapper.

Hopefully this is a start and we get a propper app, like youtube. Still, not complaining!

Deviate_X said,
I wonder what changed the BBC's attitude to Windows, wasn't it to small for them to bother with.

Of course it now is getting 6 or 7% market share in the UK so it's not that small any more...It's above the market share of the Mac and they support that.

kevynd said,
Are there more smartphone than pc/Mac already?!
You should compare absolute values, not percentages...

I wouldn't mind betting that there is you know.