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BBC iPlayer on the iPad update: live streaming of World Cup

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Morten Eidal | 16:48 UK time, Friday, 18 June 2010

The iPad version of BBC iPlayer has now been live for almost three weeks, and the reception has been hugely positive. And we also really appreciated your suggestions and feedback, for, as you will see below, we are always looking at ways to improve.

When we launched on May 27th, there were obviously a few items that did not make the release, so in the weeks following, we considered your suggestions and our 'to do list' and now have updated the site this week to further improve the iPlayer tablet experience.

You will now find, that, in addition to great quality on-demand TV and Radio catchup, you can now also enjoy the following:

Live World Cup Streaming


All the World Cup matches shown on BBC One, BBC Three, and BBC Red Button are now available for LIVE streaming on the iPad. When you navigate to the match listing from the World Cup link on the homepage you will see the next 6 upcoming matches.


The streams are available at both 400kbps and 800kbps. When you start watching it will start at 400kbps, and will then within 10 seconds go to 800kbps if your bandwidth permits.

Subtitles for ondemand content

As part of the work we did using the HTML5 video tag, we have also been able to include coloured subtitles. For any program where there are subtitles available, there will be an "S" shown in the player. Select this to turn on the subtitles.


This is the first BBC on-demand offering that includes coloured subtitles, where the colours change as different people speak. See more on this in Jonathan Hassell's accessibility blog (coming soon - ed).

Back button


The iPlayer Bigscreen site you see on the iPad was built mainly for TVs and set top boxes, where Back navigation is done using a back button on the remote control. On a tablet this requires an onscreen navigation option, especially if you are running iPlayer with the chrome hidden. We had this on our backlog, but it did not make the initial release. As your feedback also clearly stated a desire for this, we have now added this in the footer, conveniently placed for a left thumb operation.


One of the most tweeted about question since the launch has been how to hide the browser chrome. As many of you are aware of, this is done by saving a shortcut to www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bigscreen on the Home Screen and launching iPlayer from it. To ensure everyone can run iPlayer this way, we have added a Tips section in the footer. This will also include additional tips, and it will flag to you when there are new, unread tips added.

Things to come...

So, in relation to things to come, we have a few additional items still in the pipeline, such as the fact that the user interface still does not use the full screen (this requires some very interesting workarounds ) but, we're working on it... and we are also developing further improvements for the video player.

So stay tuned, and keep the comments coming.

Morten Eidal is Development Manager, FM&T.


  • Comment number 1.

    Still no Android version, even though you forced the unofficial app off the Market. Typical BBC, Apple comes first every time.

  • Comment number 2.

    Just a though - how about moving the video up in fullscreen mode and putting the subtitles underneath it rather than overlaying them on the video. Since the screen is 4:3 it would be a better use of the space.


  • Comment number 3.

    I agree with @CompactDistance (#1 above)...

    As a lover of the android platform the beebPlayer app was one of the must haves for your handset and now its gone with no sign of an official app from the BBC to replace it... Why did you force it off the Market?

  • Comment number 4.

    Regarding Android - see this comment on Morten's previous post.

  • Comment number 5.

    I have always and continue to be a big fan of the iPlayer, and it's become a daily use for me on my iPad in the past few weeks, however I'm having a lot of problems finding content using the big screen version.

    I listen to a lot of radio, and used to use my laptop to do this, which was great. Just flick to iPlayer, click Radio, click Categories, click Comedy, click Most Recent.

    What I've found with the big screen version though, is that I don't get anywhere near the granularity of control over new content. I never set off knowing what I want to listen to (albeit I have favourites I look out for) and when I get to the Comedy section although I can browse by sub category, that's really not what I want. It's very hard to locate the newest programmes without trying to remember what you have already heard and negotiate episodes from previous weeks.

    Also, the newest content available from the homepage only reflects TV content, and even then, not by category, so that doesn't provide a solution. Is better search/sort ordering going to be implemented soon? I do get the reason for cutting out some features and providing a slimmer service on a tablet device, but sometimes it makes me long for features that seem such simple omissions.

    Keep up the good work though,


  • Comment number 6.

    So the BBC do nothing to resolve the situation on Freeview (Britain's biggest TV provider) where multiple interactive streams have been lost but have an iPlayer ap ready for the iPad as soon as it's launched.

  • Comment number 7.


    Morten's comment fails to explain why a perfectly usable solution was forced off the platform by Aunty Beeb when your own product was nowhere near ready.

  • Comment number 8.


    Bear in mind that the "iPad iPlayer" is actually a HTML5 player, and so would work just fine on Android (and many other platforms BBC currently doesn't support), if it weren't for the fact that the BBC has *gone out of its way* to block the HTML iPlayer from all but a small set of approved devices.

    The BBC could make iPlayer work for Android instantly, if it wanted to.

  • Comment number 9.

    CompactDistance - I think this is starting to drift off topic, and the best post to discuss this on is here.

  • Comment number 10.

    Note that the facts have changed somewhat since that discussion Nick. It wasn't generally known to the commentators on that thread that the BBC actually had a non-flash, HTML video standards-based version of iPlayer at least in development, if not already deployed.

  • Comment number 11.

    The iPad version of BBC iPlayer has now been live for almost three weeks, and the reception has been hugely positive.

    Given that intro it's not off topic for this post to explain that, and why, a good number of us have a serious problem with the BBC wasting resources - our resources - to deliberately give us a worse service to no benefit.

  • Comment number 12.

    Been using iPlayer on the iPad for a few weeks now. Firstly the high quality picture looks superb.
    BUT... the picture and audio are way our of sync making it unwatchable at times. Changing the picture quality seems to minimize the delay but it is still present.
    Is this a known issues being resolved or is there something I can do on the iPad to resolve it?

  • Comment number 13.

    Desperate for streaming live BBC news and to see all content available for iPad and iPhone.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Can you let me know when we will be able to watch F1 free practice on the ipad as currently you have to have flash which is not on the ipad??



  • Comment number 16.

    Iv been using iplayer for a couple of weeks now on my iPad and two things I can not live without is live streams of the channels and radio stations.... And support for tv out so I can watch it on my tv through composite cable. Android comments were a while back now so probably irrelevant but android 2.2 now supports full flash so you don't need an iplayer app as it will work in the browser this is probably why BBC didn't care about android they knew it was coming anyway.

  • Comment number 17.

    I have android 2.2
    Why am I able to listen to some BBC radio stations live on the web via an integrated BBC flash bar, but not on others, which bring up BBCi Mobile with no option to listen live?
    BBCi Mobile is at present pointless when wanting to listen to live radio.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think this is a really good thing for my iPad but I have real trouble loading them up I have full wireless and they just take ages or if they do final work they stop and I have to restart them.



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