BBC iPlayer app released for iPad and Android

The BBC has finally released its long awaited iPlayer iOS and Android app, according to Wired. However, some users are seething at the fact that it can only be used on the iPad and not the iPhone, and even then only over a Wi-Fi connection. This seems to be a concession to mobile broadband operators who are pushing content providers to contribute to the costs of high bandwidth applications over 3G.

The app for the iPad in particular is a marked improvement over its web based predecessor, allowing you to drag the shows that you are interested in with a touch of your finger into your favourites and you can view all your favourite shows on one page.

The app, however, aside from its Wi-Fi limitation, has some other annoying quirks. You can't download shows for offline viewing unlike its PC and Mac counterparts. The fact that an iPhone version is absent seems to defy logic other than for protecting the purses of mobile operators in terms of costs. However, if that was the case, the iPod Touch shouldn't be barred from entry. 

BBC iPlayer is provided free as part of the TV license fee that people have to pay in the UK to watch television shows that have already broadcast. Interestingly enough, it seems that TV licensing in the UK hasn't developed a way to track down people that watch TV shows over the internet without paying your TV license. The service will be available in the US from April through payment of a monthly subscription, which will be perfect for all you US Top Gear and Doctor Who fans.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Oil and Gas corporations targeted by hackers

Next Story

World of StarCraft development continued as Starcraft Universe

50 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The mobile site works perfectly on my iPhone 4, and this app worked great watching Top Gear last night on the iPad.

It doesn't work very well on the HTC desire.. it works ok in the lowest bit rate but anything above that and its dropping frames.

By far the greatest annoyance for me with the Android platform is listening to radio streams and particularly the BBC iplayer radio stuff, without the screen on.. this app still doesn't solve this.

Like Teebor, I find this app completely useless on the Galaxy S. The streaming more than "stutters" - in my case anyway it freezes completely for 30 secs at a time. A lot of work is obviuously still needed on this one - it's completely unusable as it is now. I don't know if other Android users have the same problem, but for the Galaxy S it's a definite no-no...

I just tries this on my Galaxy S and its bloody terrible, the streaming stutters and the audio is really bad until it cuts out and doesn't come back after about 5 seconds.

"The fact that an iPhone version is absent seems to defy logic other than for protecting the purses of mobile operators in terms of costs."

Unprofessional journalism doesn't look better when no research is done to support a statement. i

lflashl said,

lol rest of the world doesn't get to see it!

Oh I can load up the streams then it stops when it says "Do you have a tv license ?" and pauses but I mean if I want to watch bbc news online I just use livestation [http://www.livestation.com] or just actually watch it on tv here in NZ. But the whole point of both being geographically and license restricted is pathetic.

Digitalx said,
another useless app for rest of the world, just as useless as tv licenses.
Since the license pays for the BBC in the first place, it's not useless. Since UK residents are the people paying for the license, it's a bit rich to ask for it for free in the rest of the world?

Digitalx said,

Oh I can load up the streams then it stops when it says "Do you have a tv license ?" and pauses but I mean if I want to watch bbc news online I just use livestation [http://www.livestation.com] or just actually watch it on tv here in NZ. But the whole point of both being geographically and license restricted is pathetic.

lol its there product so there choice! im still waiting for tvnz ondemand to release something for the iPad!!!

Kirkburn said,
Since the license pays for the BBC in the first place, it's not useless. Since UK residents are the people paying for the license, it's a bit rich to ask for it for free in the rest of the world?

Well maybe they should get commercial funding then same as we have in NZ with TVNZ. It's a bit rich when they have a "world news service" if only british people can watch/listen to it ?

Digitalx said,
Well maybe they should get commercial funding then same as we have in NZ with TVNZ. It's a bit rich when they have a "world news service" if only british people can watch/listen to it ?
The worldwide-specific services are generally commercial, and not restricted.

necrosis said,
Not exactly "released" if its not in the US is it?

huh ? Well netflix, hulu and Pandora etc aren't exactly released because nobody other then americans can use them. This is just another to chuck of the geographically challenged pile of useless crap on the internet.

Not in market place, went to web based market place, found app and indicated it's not available fore my carrier >< T Mobile.

The ONLY BBC show worth watching is Top Gear in my opinion and I get that on Netflix thank you very much. I hope this fails. It's UK's scheme to tax people internationally with their ridiculous and antiquated (much like the regal system) TV tax. I won't play.

ManOfMystery said,
The ONLY BBC show worth watching is Top Gear in my opinion and I get that on Netflix thank you very much. I hope this fails. It's UK's scheme to tax people internationally with their ridiculous and antiquated (much like the regal system) TV tax. I won't play.

You hope the BBC fails? You're off your face.

No you don't here is a quote from the TV Licensing website "You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder." See how it states watch or record not on demand or streaming programs. Your need one for IPTV which allows you to watch tv online at the same time it's being broadcast BBC iPlayer does not allow that

http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/

"If you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV you must, by law, be covered by a TV Licence, no matter what device you're using."

Anyway, really glad we got a proper android app, I could use the web browser but it was temperamental. But the app when I first tried it today was buggy and slow. So I hope it improves.
But at least it's a start, you've got three different types of video quality. The lowest is 400k.

You do not need a TV License to watch content on BBC iPlayer, this has never been the case, all though the BBC has considered it and has sought approval it's still seperate

Windows Tester said,
You do not need a TV License to watch content on BBC iPlayer

Not really, you DO need a TV license to watch TV as it's being broadcast, whether that's over the internet or normal broadcast. Time shifted iPlayer stuff is different and doesn't currently need a TV license

While you're at it Beeb, how about a WP7 version, oh, and a decent touch-interface for Windows. I happen to have a very nice Win7 slate, and I use the iplayer Bigscreen, but it would be nice to have something a little less basic.

How about making a proper web-app that utilises touch interface well. I know they have iPlayer Bigscreen and that's OK, but I would love something that would work on a Windows slate, thanks. And WP7 while you're at it too.

WiFi only, and it forces you to install a 10mb separate app (Flash)... No thanks. I only have WiFi at home and at work. At home I would much rather watch on a TV, and I'd get sacked if I watched TV at work, so this app is essentially useless until they enable 3G streaming.

And as others have said, the ability to leave radio channels playing in the background, and being able to download programs to watch when you have no signal is a must.

With a tiny bit of modification it'll work over 3G Really should allow downloads though, and background playing for radio...

Mike said,
With a tiny bit of modification it'll work over 3G Really should allow downloads though, and background playing for radio...

Care to share please? (via PM if necessary)

Seems a bit odd really. The app doesn't really offer anything more than the website you can access through mobile safari. And the reliance on flash for android is a bit odd too.

I really hope they update it to allow downloading of shows. Otherwise it seems a bit pointless tbh (especially as you can't stream over 3G).

WelshBluebird said,
Seems a bit odd really. The app doesn't really offer anything more than the website you can access through mobile safari. And the reliance on flash for android is a bit odd too.

It relies on flash!? No wonder it's not available on HTC Hero. I will never understand why they stopped beebplayer for android, allowed great tv and radio playback..

WelshBluebird said,
Seems a bit odd really. The app doesn't really offer anything more than the website you can access through mobile safari.

Well it does really. It's a much smoother experience, removes the safari menu bar, improved playback for radio, and live TV + radio.

I actually used to avoid using the Mobile site, as it just wasn't an enjoyable experience for me.

The iPlayer is provided free as part of the TV license fee that people have to pay in the UK to watch television.

I thought that it was a tax regardless of if you watch TV or not. Or am I mistaken?

Shadrack said,
I thought that it was a tax regardless of if you watch TV or not. Or am I mistaken?
If you are watching TV live via whatever device, you have to have a license.

Not having an iPhone version is disappointing, since it is more ubiquitous than iPad and Android.

Shadrack said,

I thought that it was a tax regardless of if you watch TV or not. Or am I mistaken?

You are. You only need one if you watch live TV (on any device).

acnpt said,
Mistaken.
You only have to buy a license if you want to watch live TV.

Wrong! You need one for internet or tv - not just for bbc channels too.

r3stle55 said,

Wrong! You need one for radio/internet or tv - not just for bbc channels too.

Err No, your wrong. You don't need a license for radio.
Like I said you need a license to watch Live TV....on any device.

iPad app is a great improvement, and has to be one of the best looking apps around.
Live radio works in the background. Plus hold down on a program and you can add it to your favourites.

Hopefully we will see some updates in future, such as downloading.

Lexcyn said,
Is this available in Canada too? Hmm ... I will download it and try.

"The iPlayer is provided free as part of the TV license fee that people have to pay in the UK to watch television. The service will be available in the US from April through payment of a monthly subscription, which will be perfect for all you US Top Gear and Doctor Who fans."

US Top Gear...? hmmm I bet that's great, I can just imagine all the clever humour and sarcasm...

Lexcyn said,
Is this available in Canada too? Hmm ... I will download it and try.

Can't find it in the market so probably not available in Canada.

Jaxkesa said,

It means Top Gear viewers based in the US. The BBC wouldn't be showing the US version of Top Gear would they, same as they wouldn't show a US version of Doctor Who.

Didn't they cancel the US Top Gear? I thought they stopped making it because everyone preferred the UK version.