Links: iPlayer Radio on Android and the rise of tablet streaming

Content Producer

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Hi everyone and welcome to another round up of news about BBC Online.

We announced the launch of the new BBC iPlayer Radio app on Android earlier in the week and the feedback has, for the most part, been positive both on the blog and across the industry.

As Digital Spy commented: 

The folks at the Beeb took their time porting the service to the fragmented Google operating system, but they've put a lot of care and creativity into tailoring it appropriately.”

The new BBC iPlayer Radio app on Android mobile and tablet devices


PC Advisor praised the new version of the app:

Navigating through the app is very pleasing, with a beautifully implemented dialler […]The schedule itself is a delight to use and is an easy way to keep track of what is coming up. It may seem slightly odd breaking the radio side of iPlayer away into a separate app, but it many sense it makes sense, and the dedicated interface is something that works very well indeed.”

While comments on James Simcock’s post were mixed:

# KevinThis sounded great, particularly the alarm to radio feature. However, not being available prior to Android 4 is a massive let-down.”

# PlastixVery big thank you for creating a native android app from the ground up, and not simply an iOS port. Having quickly tested it, it is already leaps and bounds ahead of previous attempts to create android apps. Good job.”

The release of the iPlayer press pack for March also provoked a lot of discussion.

Maintaining the high post-Christmas viewing figures, the big story was the continued growth in tablet viewing which for the first time surpassed requests on mobile by 200,000.

Techcrunch observed:

“[iPlayer] is exactly the sort of app you’d expect to thrive on the tablet form factor — which is both portable and has a screen that is large enough to view high production value video content without compromising the overall viewing experience. And the BBC’s iPlayer data bears this out: with considerably higher tablet usage for TV programmes vs radio content.”

In response to both these figures and the release of the iPlayer Android app this week Forbes have published as interesting article discussing the future of content streaming for the BBC. As Ewan Spence comments:

Streaming video is not an easy thing to do, and when you are expected to cover every single new device that hits the market, there is not an easy solution. […] Everyone needs to be aware that the BBC is going to have to spend more of their budget on online services and less on programming. Streaming technology is not a new technology, and the BBC is not creating a new market with the iPlayer, they are simply following public demand. Calls for them to slow down spending on the iPlayer in 2013 to allow space for commercial organisations to ‘catch up’ should be balanced against the public demand for the service, and the public demand should win out.”

Inside Secure, suppliers of embedded software and digital security systems have been working with the BBC on technology enabling the download of TV content to mobiles and tablets for a period of 30 days. The INSIDE Downloadable DRM Fusion Agent is integrated into the BBC iPlayer iOS app which should be released on Android in the near future.

As reported by The Register:

Fusion Agent, as Inside Secure calls its DRM platform, is now shipping in the iOS version of iPlayer, and the software is already ported to Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich and above), so support for iPlayer to download onto platforms beyond iThingies should hopefully arrive soon, delivering a good part of the "feature parity" promised by the BBC late last year.”

If you’re interested in developing for Android then you may be interested in a job opportunity in BBC News.

And if you’re just starting out in the industry check out the new Technology Apprentice scheme run by the BBC and other broadcasters.

That’s all for this fortnight folks, hope you enjoy the sun this weekend.

Eliza Kessler is content producer for the BBC Internet blog.

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