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Mobile Downloads for BBC iPlayer

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David Madden | 08:53 UK time, Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Today BBC iPlayer is launching mobile downloads on smartphones and tablets.

I'd like to talk about the thinking behind this new feature, and the benefits it brings to audiences.

Part of the BBC's strategy for iPlayer in the past year has been to take it beyond the PC, and onto a host of different devices, from smartphones and tablets, to connected TVs and games consoles. BBC iPlayer is now on over 550 devices, ensuring you can enjoy BBC programmes wherever and whenever you want.

It's been something of a watershed year for on-the-go viewing: the Olympics, for example, turned into the "mobile Games" for many. For iPlayer, take-up on portable devices has been particularly impressive, with 30m requests for iPlayer content via mobile or tablet in July alone: this represented more than 20% of all requests for iPlayer programmes across all platforms.

The numbers in pink and white in the circles above represent percentages of the total amount of iPlayer requests for content on tablets and mobile e.g 34% of the requests on tablets was for Children’s content

More and more people are comfortable with watching TV across different devices depending on where they are and what they're doing. For example, our data shows that children's content is particularly popular on tablets, as they are devices kids can sit and play with wherever. BBC Three comedy is popular on smart phones, and is watched by young people while out and about or waiting for a bus or train.

There is, of course, a barrier to you watching your favourite BBC programmes wherever you want: you need to be online to stream video to your phone or tablet, which means you can't use BBC iPlayer on the tube or on a plane.

Today, that barrier is lifted. With the launch of mobile downloads for iPlayer, on-the-go viewing is transformed. For the first time, you can watch BBC programmes on your phone or tablet even if you don't have a Wi-Fi connection or 3G signal. You can download multiple programmes to your device and store them for 30 days. Once you've pressed play you can keep watching for seven more days. Why not take your favourite shows with you when you go on holiday? You could watch them on the plane, on the beach, anywhere you want.

The new mobile downloads feature is initially available on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices running iOS 5.1. We will be bringing this feature to Android phones and tablets soon, and are looking at making downloads available on other devices in the future.

iplayer downloads

A mock up of how BBC iPlayer programmes look while downloading on an iPhone

Here is how you download your favourite TV show:

• Tap the Download option on the programme you want to save

• The programme will be added to your download queue

• When you next connect to Wi-Fi, open the app and the programme will automatically start downloading to your device

eastenders ipad download

A download of Eastenders on an iPad

For those with kids who love watching Justin's House, a CBeebies favourite, they will now be able to enjoy Justin and his friends on a tablet or phone in the back of the car without the need for a 3G signal. And, people with smartphones can continue to enjoy the new series of Dr Who on the train or tube, without worrying about connections or data allowances - another benefit of downloading shows over Wi-Fi and watching them offline.

Today's launch is another big step towards ensuring BBC iPlayer and BBC programmes are available wherever and whenever you want. Download the app now and let me know in the comments what you've been watching and where.

The team would really welcome your comments and feedback on the downloads feature. When we Tweet about iPlayer we use a #bbciplayer hashtag, so if you would like to use this too that would be great.

I am always keen to know what you think and would love to hear from you.

David Madden is Executive Producer, TV & iPlayer Mobile, BBC Future Media


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  • Comment number 1.

    Cool feature but you can only download tv program's. I want to download radio program's to listen too at night when I do night shift. I know there are podcasts available for some radio programs but they do not cover much of the radio output of the BBC. What is the problem with allowing radio program's to be downloaded?

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree with the above post - That's the main reason I wanted the app - I don't have a good broadband speed where I live, and the iplayer is subject to glitches. This even applies to the version that comes with my BT vision set up. I tried to catch up with Geoffrey Smiths Jazz, and the BT vision box, lap top and ipad versions all let me down!

  • Comment number 4.

    It's just a shame you can't keep the app up to date with the most recent versions of Android.

  • Comment number 5.

    According to https://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/may/16/android-smartphone-market-50-percent and others, Android has over 50% of the UK smartphone market and Apple around 30%.

    Now let me think? Which app should the BBC develop first???

  • Comment number 6.

    Will this be rolled out to the Global iPlayer for people outside the UK, eg Republic of Ireland?
    Just wondering is it a case if this is successful we'll do it or no it will never happen due to copyright issues and licensing deals. I believe this is the reason we have less content than the regular app.

  • Comment number 7.

    Great news! Now - when can we have syncing across devices so that the programmes I've got on my desktop app can be accessed on my phone too?

  • Comment number 8.

    @dukeofearl - There may be more Android users but IOS users currently use their device more. Many people have an android phone but just use it as a phone not a smartphone. Its also much harder to develop for the various different Android versions. Its the logical decision at the moment for most App developers

  • Comment number 9.

    "The new mobile downloads feature is initially available on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices running iOS 5.1."

    I didn't see *that* coming.

  • Comment number 10.

    @Rob_Quads, as a developer for both IOS and Android that is not actually universally true. For android you develop one app that (if you do it correctly and follow the design guidelines) works on all devices no matter how big or small or what shape they are. For IOS you are really developing an ipad and a iphone app. Granted, if you don't do the android one correctly you may have issues and there may have issues but I'd imagine the BBC is big enough to do stuff properly. The BBCs issue is that they based iplayer on android completely on a 3rd party piece of software that they knew was being withdrawn (flash). They took a lazy gamble and it didn't pay off. The fact that most people use Android so soon after the gamble is just an unfortunately side effect of technology moving so quickly and large development processes moving so slowly. It has nothing to do with the two myths that you mistakenly have quoted.

  • Comment number 11.

    This is amazing. Thank you!

  • Comment number 12.

    Will this mean that the app will finally be available for devices that can't run Flash???

  • Comment number 13.

    @stanleywinston - Its obviously VERY hard to code to the guidelines then (only know iOS myself) as its a small %age of the apps out there that are supported on all Androids OS levels.

  • Comment number 14.

    Will this app (for Android) be the new (non Flash) iPlayer app, or will they be separate and will it/they be based on Adobe Air (I certainly hope not!! The Air based ITV Player is even worse than the Flash based iPlayer, and that's really saying something)!!!

    @10 stanleywinstone: Thumbs up!

  • Comment number 15.

    Why start by saying "Today BBC iPlayer is launching mobile downloads on smartphones and tablets." and only later clarify that it's Apple only?

    Are you able to say whether the Android support will be in days, weeks, months or years? And will it come before or after you stop requiring flash on Android?

    And why wifi only? Surely it should be up to users to manage their 3G data usage. At the very least you should give the option to download over 3g as well as wifi.

  • Comment number 16.

    @13 Rob_Quads

    "(only know iOS myself)".....

    A bit like criticising a Ferrari when you have only ever driven a pedal car, then!

  • Comment number 17.

    It's been mentioned on the blog before (in relation to the app on the Nexus 7/JellyBean) that the delay in the Android app at the moment is down to DRM and that the app is in the testing phase (if this is wrong/out-of-date hopefully a BBC bod will correct me).

    Flash was the goto product for Android's iPlayer. It incorporated DRM and was established on many Android devices. I don't see that as lazy. Developers reuse existing functions and products all the time. No sense re-inventing the wheel.
    Recent developments see Adobe withdraw flash and Jelly Bean not include it. Meaning the push towards developing the Android app has to be a new app with a new DRM model, rather than further changes to the existing app.
    HTML5 streaming is already available so that's easy enough but a working DRM model is more difficult - especially given Androids more open ecosystem. I think we can assume that the BBC will have to jump through many red-tape adorned hoops to show that any solution must protect the content and prevent, to the best of it's ability, unauthorised copying and distribution.
    Now that's going to take longer than a fairly minor tweak to the existing iOS app.

    So while it would be great if a multi-platform solution could have a unilateral release there's no sense holding back features on some platforms to wait on others.

  • Comment number 18.

    No Subtitles available, that's very disappointing.

  • Comment number 19.

    This will perhaps patch up the DRM bypass previously made available to iOS devices and exploited by get_iplayer.

    If it was OK to provide material DRM free to iOS devices thus far, then it should also be OK on Android devices now.

  • Comment number 20.

    The ability to multitask when using AirPlay has been removed - how come??

    Previously you could play / pause an AirPlay-ing iPlayer programme using the Apple Remote App -- you could then cary on using other apps on your phone whilst the stream continued to play via AirPlay in the background -- losing this ability is seriously annoying!

  • Comment number 21.

    Finally the iPlayer app on my Samsung Galaxy S will go from one of the most useless APPS on there to one of the most useful. I've been waiting for this since you luanched the Android App. Sadly as you've only launched the feature for Apple devices seems I'll have to wait a bit longer.

    How soon, is soon roughly. By previous experience this could be anything from a few weeks to a year or more. BBC seem to think of the Android app as a poor cousin.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have to agree I find it frustrating this has taken so long and doubly frustrating that the BBC are only launching for apple devices when Android devices make up a higher % of the up Smart phones and pads over all.

    Why does the BBC have a bias towards iOS? And it's true the headline is missleading should be "BBC Launch mobile downloads for Apple devices, Android users will have to wait"

  • Comment number 23.

    Can David Madden, please post something about how long "soon" is likley to be for Android and also why he went for an Apple only initial launch. He must have known considering more devices in the UK run Android that it was going to insense a lot of people.

  • Comment number 24.

    @Rob_Quads, where do you get your staistics from on % of Android users who use their phone as a smart phone. I assume your claim is based on hard evidence.

    Secondly version fragmentation is not an issue really it's easy to develop an app that will work on 2.1 upwards if the developer knows what their doing and doesn't truly need to use functionality from later versions.

    Fragmentation was talked up by Apple to try and put people off developing for a competitor and really isn't as big a problem as people make out.

    Over all I have to say developing for Android is in many ways easier.

  • Comment number 25.

    @17 mrplow

    "Flash was the goto product for Android's iPlayer. It incorporated DRM and was established on many Android devices. I don't see that as lazy. Developers reuse existing functions and products all the time. No sense re-inventing the wheel."

    Yes, but this was an attempt to put huge tractor wheels on a pushbike. It was lazy to use Flash, IMHO, and it resulted in a very poor user experience. If the use of Flash wasn't lazy, then the complete failure to address many of the serious issues with the Android iPlayer client in 18 months and the failure to react in a timely manner to the loss of Flash IS lazy. If the BBC were a company relying on this software for its business it would have gone under by now!!!

    "I think we can assume that the BBC will have to jump through many red-tape adorned hoops to show that any solution must protect the content and prevent, to the best of it's ability, unauthorised copying and distribution."

    Which is, patently, ridiculous. If the BBC turns out another shocker like the Android iPlayer (or the, even worse, ITV Player) in the name of "Content Protection" then they will be shooting themselves in the foot. Where do you think all of those Android users go to get BBC content on their devices if they can't get it, reliably and in good quality, from the BBC? This maniacal obsession with protecting content at all costs is actually making work for the pirates and torrent nuts.

  • Comment number 26.

    I've been able to download copy protected movies for hire from google Play to my Galaxy S for months, really the BBC have no excuse at all. I can only think most of them have iPads.

  • Comment number 27.

    @rob_quads. I don't think its obviously harder to code for android and I'm not sure where you get your stats about only a small percentage of apps working from. The only apps that don't cope well with the dynamic screen layouts are really old. Fragments (as the apis for dynamic sectioned screen layout is ironically called by Google) has been around since version 3.0 which is about 2 years old. Its the nature of software development nowadays that as APIs change and core OSes are updated then applications must keep up. That is the same for android and IOS. Maybe you could point me in the direction of some of your apps you've developed that have helped to form your opinions.

    And the use of flash was a shortcut by the BBC. (Perhaps lazy was the wrong word but most people in development or elsewhere are aware that tightly coupling your product to a company that you have no control over could be considered reckless.) Everyone new it was being phased out it just caught a lot of people by surprise as to how quickly it was pulled. To be honest its fairly rubbish on mobile anyway so the user experience is usually pretty floor.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi - I'm the host of this blog. While the discussion of Flash is interesting I feel it may be drifting a little off topic. Has anyone commenting used the mobile downloads app? Do they have any further questions about the app itself?


  • Comment number 29.

    @Nick Reynolds - a question about the app itself: how soon will the android version be available?

  • Comment number 30.

    @Nick Reynolds.

    Probably not, since more people are likely to be frustrated Android users rather than iPhone/iPad users. Speaks volumes in my opinion!

  • Comment number 31.

    "While the discussion of Flash is interesting I feel it may be drifting a little off topic. "

    Not really. The BBC's Flash based screw-up is the reason for the parlous state of the Android iPlayer app, including it's not getting the update that this post is about.

    Unless of course, that supposition is incorrect, in which case maybe either you or David Madden would like to chip in to the conversation with some actual information about what is going on with Android support?

  • Comment number 32.

    Why does this app insist on having ios ver 5.1 ?
    Im currently on 5.0.1 as i think are a lot of people are.
    No other app on my ipad or phone that i have updated or used requires that level.

  • Comment number 33.

    Ok initially this is a great move in the right direction, but seriously, no Android app with download yet? Techonology is moving fast indeed, but the BBC don't really seem to be able to keep up with the pace. The Android app really should have been developed first in this case, it would have made a nice change!

  • Comment number 34.

    @28 Nick Reynolds

    Hello Nick

    I asked a couple of questions regarding the Android implementation of this app (post 14). I repeat them here:-

    Will the "download app" and the Android iPlayer for Android be the same app, or separate apps.

    Will this app (or apps) be based on Adobe Air or have any other 3rd party requirements?

    I can add to those:-

    What is the ETA for this/these apps? I know the article states "soon", but I'm all too familiar with how long "soon" can mean in BBC parlance. Are we talking days, weeks or months, here?

    What will be the minimum device specs required to run this/these apps. Will be updating a couple of the family's phones soon, these will likely be budget Android devices (due to cost), and I'd like to know if iPlayer can be used on them. So what will be the requirements for Android version, screen resolution, processor, memory, etc?

  • Comment number 35.

    I'd like to know if this feature will come to the YouView platform? I'd like to be able to schedule a recording/download of a program during the night when my ISP does not count my usage.

  • Comment number 36.

    Great work releasing the version for the smaller market share first! Thanks for nothing.

  • Comment number 37.

    Hah! I'm happy! I love the BBC!
    (smug iPad owner and licence payer)

  • Comment number 38.

    Is there any plan to cater for Windows Phone in the future?

  • Comment number 39.

    @28 Nick Reynolds - I'd love to give some feedback, but I'm another frustrated Android user!

  • Comment number 40.

    It sounds like a great idea. I'm gutted that I won't be able to use it because I have a Nexus 7. When will there be a version I can use?

  • Comment number 41.

    Anyword on a Windows 8 App or a Windows Phone 8 App ?

  • Comment number 42.

    So disappointed there are no subtitles. My daughter is profoundly deaf and disabled and it would have been great to be able to download programmes with subtitles for her.

  • Comment number 43.


    just don't know why you've launched on IoS but not Android. I, my kids, most of my work colleagues all have Android phones. Please could you consider launching on Android in the very near furure.
    Also I seem to have trouble viewing TV streams on Android eg BBC ONE BBC TWO - I used to get them easily but my bookmarks no longer work - could you publish the URLs for all the BBC streaming channels more widely

  • Comment number 44.

    "Hi - I'm the host of this blog. While the discussion of Flash is interesting I feel it may be drifting a little off topic. Has anyone commenting used the mobile downloads app? Do they have any further questions about the app itself?" from Nick Reynolds

    Dear Nick

    I would like to use the app and comment on it - but you're launched on IoS as per my earlier comment & not on Andorid :-( ( for some reason )


  • Comment number 45.

    @38 Zef, 41 Johnny:-

    The problem is, which do they develop for? Phone 7 or Phone 8? Microsoft's decision to make Phone 8 100% incompatible with Phone 7 means that they would have to develop two apps.

    And there is no upgrade path, either. If you have a Phone 7 based device it will only run Phone 7 apps and cannot be upgraded to phone 8. If you have a Phone 8 device it cannot run Phone 7 apps.

    And people complain that Android is "fragmented"!!!

    Personally, as a developer, I wouldn't touch either with a bargepole. It has poor market penetration and the fact that this is the second time that Microsoft have rolled over developers and users with an incompatible phone OS (the first was from Windows Mobile to Phone 7. Again 100% incompatible with no upgrade possible), who is to say they won't do it again with Phone 9?

  • Comment number 46.

    As an iPad user - this is working great. Two enhancements:
    1. Series record, rather than downloading each episode.
    2. Allow me to specify when the downloads occur. I've got a 10Gb monthly allowance during 8am - midnight, with no limit between midnight and 8am. Please allow me to specify when downloads happen.

  • Comment number 47.

    Still no support for nations' radio stations?

  • Comment number 48.

    @44,45 Brasshat:-

    I'm fairly sure I know why "iOS and not Android". Its a really stupid reason (as I outlined in my earlier posts), but, as far as I can tell from the digging I have been doing, this is really how it is:-

    As far as I can tell, the various "right holders" of the programmes the BBC put onto iPlayer (that is the production companies who make the programmes) will not allow their product onto Android without fully closed DRM layer between the OS (Android) and their content. Until recently, this was Flash. It provided an atrocious user experience which probably drove a lot of people to grab the programmes from, shall we say, non-official sources and is likely to have actually increased file-sharing of BBC programmes but, hey, at least they didn't rip it directly from iPlayer, eh?

    My suspicion is that they will plump for Adobe Air. I have asked if this is the case a few times on these forums but have not received a reply. This is the runtime used by ITV Player, and it gives and absolutely horrendous user experience (it rates 2.1 / 5 on the Android Market compared to iPlayer's 3.1 / 5, which is still really poor for an app from an organisation like the BBC).

    My guess is that they are struggling to get an acceptable user experience with Air, or whatever DRM capable runtime they have gone for and want to get one that is, at least, no worse than the current Flash based iPlayer. This would certainly explain why we still don't have a Jellybean capable iPlayer, despite the demise of Flash being known for some time.

    On another note: Heard Danker crowing about how great this app, and mobile iPlayer are on R4 PM last night. Not a mention of Android, nor did Eddie Mair question him about it. PM is supposed to be a news programme, not a BBC PR platform. There are big issues with the Android iPlayer and I expect the BBC to be taken to task for them if iPlayer is covered on one of its news programmes. Really annoyed about this!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Downloaded 5 program's last night on iPhone over wi fi. Trying to watch today on the train and not working. They just hang like I player is trying to connect.

  • Comment number 50.

    @Nick Reynolds "Has anyone commenting used the mobile downloads app? Do they have any further questions about the app itself?"

    Please could you answer my question about the app on post 20.

  • Comment number 51.

    Would like to try this but it insists on using 5.1 version of apple ios
    Im on ver 5 but not upgrading to 5.1 just for this.
    Unsure why it would be requiring this version, any comment?
    Will have to wait for ios 6, coming soon

  • Comment number 52.

    I've noticed there's a high quality download option. What is the resolution of the standard and high quality downloads?

  • Comment number 53.

    @Nick Reynolds, sorry can't help whith having not been able to try it yet and all, you see my Galaxy S is android based so you still haven't released this feature for me.

    Talking about flash is all very well but you seem to be avoiding the whole only releasing for Apple devices issue...when is this feature coming to android.

  • Comment number 54.

    Looks great but no radio? That would be really good for listening in the car etc.

  • Comment number 55.

    Yet again...... why no update to allow download option on Android????? Not everyone is an Apple slave!

  • Comment number 56.

    Please change the headline on the blog to "Mobile Download for iPlayer on iOS 5.1 only..."

    Maybe without the misleading headline and complete lack of discussion of reasons for not releasing for the Android App. at the same time you'd have less frustrated android users on this blog.

    Since supporting the feature on iOS 5.1 only for an undefined period of time would seem to lend itself to comercial advantage for a single manufacturer of pads and smart phones e.g. Apple I wonder if this actually violates the BBC's charter to be commercially impartial.

    Not discussing the issue or using misleading headlines won't make it go away the BBC have to understand that. We won't a full explaination of what's going on, what the eta on Android is and why the BBC have this policy of seperate feature releases for different iPlayer SMART phone APPS.

    In the meantime I'll go on not enjoying being able to catch up with BBC programes on my daily commute and ignore the iPlayer APP on my phone since without this essential feature iPlayer on Android is pretty much useless as it always has been.

  • Comment number 57.

    Thanks for the comments - do keep them coming! I thought I’d take this opportunity to respond to some of the questions you raise on this blog post.

    Why is only TV content available to download and not radio?
    There are some rights and permissions that we have to work through to get all radio programmes available as downloads on mobile. In the meantime, you can always use our podcast service, which offers a wide selection of radio programmes as a free download. BBC podcasts are available to download here: bbc.co.uk/podcasts

    When will downloads be coming to Android ?
    We have more technical work to do to offer full programme downloads on Android devices. We are working on it now and hope to release a new version of the BBC iPlayer Android app with downloads in the coming months. I hope you appreciate that I can't be specific on exact dates here, we've got a lot of testing to do and some more development work to get it all ship shape before we release it. But I can assure you that we've got the work in hand.

    Why is the BBC iPlayer app only compatible with iOS 5.1 and above ?
    Well, there's a purely technical reason. We found that the new iPlayer app worked best and was more stable and reliable on iOS 5.1, so we decided that was the best iOS version to go for.

    Why are subtitles not available on downloaded programmes ?
    Subtitles are available on programmes that are streamed in the BBC iPlayer app. We are working on enabling subtitles on downloaded programmes and will be rolling this out in a future update.

    is BBC iPlayer coming to Windows Phone 7 ?
    The BBC want to bring BBC iPlayer to as many people as possible and are always looking at new platforms and devices.

    Unfortunately, as Windows Phone 7 doesn't support HLS or Adobe Flash, the formats we use for streaming videos, we can't make BBC iPlayer available on this phone at the moment.

    @coja1 Thanks for pointing out the multi-tasking problem with AirPlay. We'll look into it.

    @apcotton Thanks for the suggestions.

    @Benny Har-Even The BBC iPlayer offers downloads in Standard and High Quality with high quality being a larger file that may take longer to download. Standard Quality is encoded at 800kbps and High Quality at 1500kbps

  • Comment number 58.


    Why is the Podcast service not part of this app? Why bother explaining where you can get them, when surely it's easy to just make it part of the software?
    Why is it taking so long to get it on Android? I don't understand the obsession the BBC has with iPhones, apart from they're officially sanctioned by the corporation in the workplace. Don't you want the largest possible user base?

    Both of these things should have been available when this was launched, especially given the resources your department has at its disposal. James Cridland has it spot on. Disappointing.

    (An Android using BBC Licence Fee payer)

  • Comment number 59.

    Re: 57 David Madden.

    Reading between the lines:-

    You won't be supporting Phone 7 because it doesn't support HLS or Flash, therefore we can assume that delivery to Android will use one of these? HLS is supported on Android >=3.0, but iPlayer "help" states the non-Flash Android iPlayer app will be "made available to all Android 2.2 and above devices, including the Nexus 7 tablet."

    So I have to assume that you will be using Flash? And, unfortunately for us poor Android users, that is going to mean Adobe Air? Is this correct?

    Have asked this question several times. A simple yes or no answer will suffice. If you don't know whether you will be using Air, then you are a lot further away from delivery than you intimate.

  • Comment number 60.

    @David Madden thank you for replying on the Android issue.

    Could I ask was development on both Android version and iOS started at the same time?

    Or did you start iOS development first. If they where started at the same time and given the same budget and emphsise can you comment on why Android development has proved so much more difficult?

    A frank discussion of the issues you've hit that have delayed it might help alleviate our frustration.

    If however iOS development was started first can you explain why the BBC favour the apple devices.

    I can also understand you may not be able to give us an exact release date working in software development myself. But may I ask why you did not hold back on releasing this functionality for mobile iPlayer until you could offer the feature on both popular platforms?

    I ask because it could be seen as the BBC giving comerical advantage in the SMART phone/ Tablet market to Apple over it rivals such as (HTC, SAMSUNG, LG, etc) who all use Android. Especially as you are launching many months appart and for the newest Apple devices.

    Anyway I remain rather frustrated by the way you fanfared the release of Mobile iPlayer downloads when in fact you don't support it on all versions of the APP, and the facts I may still have to wait months or even over a year by the sounds of it for what I have always considered an essential feature to make Mobile iPlayer anything but useless. I at least appricate a little communication on the subject and hope you will address the issues more fully in the future.

  • Comment number 61.

    Fantastic update.
    1. I understand why you used a custom player in the app because you can skin it but the downside is that the audio of a tv programme stops if you hit the sleep button to lock the screen. iOS functionality of the native player is that the audio of video keeps playing after you lock the screen.
    2. It would be good to be able to favourite stations/channels rather than individual programmes for quicker access rather than 4 or 5 navigation steps every time you open the app.
    3. Looking forward to BBC ID integration so that favourites and play positions of programmes are synced between desktop and mobile.

  • Comment number 62.

    Why was this not developed for Android first as it is the more popular format now?

  • Comment number 63.

    @62 In terms of devices actually being used for browsing iOS (Apple) is far more popular: https://www.padgadget.com/2012/07/02/apples-iphone-and-ipad-crush-android-in-web-browsing/

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm sure the same is even more the case for iPlayer usage stats - the Android owners don't use the app because it's crap, and that gives the iOS devices an unfair (market) support. Which is rather the point people have been making.

  • Comment number 65.

    @63 DBOne

    I think that is what is termed a "strawman" argument. The number of people browsing web sites is not related to the number of people using streaming apps. Its like saying bicycles are more popular than cars because more bicycles than cars are seen on cycle paths.

    And, if Android iPlayer is less used than its iOS counterpart, then you are comparing chalk and cheese. The existing iOS iPlayer is far superior to the current Android iPlayer which, quite frankly, is an appalling mess (not to mention the large number of Android devices it cannot run on due to its reliance on Adobe Flash).

    I'm fairly sure that if the BBC finally came up with an Android iPlayer client that:-

    • Worked on all Android devices (not just "High end" ones)

    • Managed to play for an entire programme with the sound synchronised with the picture

    • Didn't need the screen on just to listen to a radio stream

    • Didn't lose its position when you answer the phone

    • Didn't keep losing your favourites

    • Didn't randomly crash halfway through almost every programme

    You would see far more iPlayer hits coming from Android than iOS
  • Comment number 66.

    I have noticed there some programmes that aren't available for download.

    Match of the Day 2 and the Football League Show are two examples. I guess this is due to rights issues.

    Is there anything in the pipeline to make these shows available?

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • Comment number 68.

    I see the iPlayer help pages for the download app are now saying it will be available for Android early 2013. You are joking, right? That timescale suggests you have barely started work on it!

  • Comment number 69.

    David: will you ever be providing HD downloads for iPad?

    iPad3 does have an amazing Retina screen, and it would be wonderful to see Doctor Who in all its HD glory...

  • Comment number 70.

    So Android in 2013.....you started work on it when the Apple version was almost ready didn't you. No need to answer my question on that any more.

    Oh well seems Mobile iPlayer remains useless to most of us for now. I will be trying to contact other press organisations with questions about the BBC's relationship with Apple.

    At the moment I feel that the bbc have failed me as a license payer and shown very clear commercial favour to Apple.

  • Comment number 71.

    How many people does the BBC have on the Android development and when did they start. The bland statement hidden in the FAQ explains nothing of why this version is so very far behind.

    This will mean 2 years of having this app on my galaxy S as useless dead weight. While you fail to develop this solution.

    And still the BBC won't discuss or answer questions about this really rather major issue of unequal mobile OS support.

  • Comment number 72.

    I like the application.
    Quick question why can't I download things like Newsnight and Andrew Marr?

    Will I be able to at some stage?


  • Comment number 73.

    How soon is soon? The BBC announcement was to be released on android soon.......this was a week ago? A week in the tech world is a long time...and as per previous comments android is now outselling iOS so you really need to get your development dept thinking as to who should receive updates first!! Please let the 50% of the smartphone market know when they can expect the release!!

  • Comment number 74.

    have to agree with the huge majority of posts here complaining about the bias to apple. BBC loves apple in all its news coverage and application support even though android is more popular. My nexus 7 would be a perfect iplayer device if the bbc execs could ever put down their no doubt freebie ipads for a moment and see what the rest of the world chooses. Should android users stop paying our license fee, you would miss our money. Maybe apple would make up the gap with another boatload of free iPads for you.

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

    @73 Charlie G:-

    The BBC iPlayer help pages are now stating "early 2013" for the Android update.

    @74 steveking1000:-

    I really don't think its a BBC bias towards Apple. IMHO it is a media industry bias against Android. The people who produce the programmes don't like Android. They perceive it as insecure and assume that any iPlayer client that isn't 100% abstracted and isolated from the underlying operating system will allow their programmes to be ripped off.

    This is the reason for the use of Flash in Android when there are far better and more reliable ways of offering iPlayer content to Android users (as BeebPlayer and MyPlayer proved before the BBC had them killed off at the behest of these "rights holders".

    I'd like to offer a little prediction regarding the next version of iPlayer for Android:-

    It will arrive sometime around February. It will use Adobe Air as its runtime, and it will be an absolute stinker.

  • Comment number 77.

    > For the first time, you can watch BBC programmes on your phone or tablet even if > you don't have a Wi-Fi connection or 3G signal.

    I'm surprised by this statement, since several years ago on a Nokia smartphone I was able to use the official BBC iplayer app to download programmes and then watch them offline.

  • Comment number 78.

    @28 Nick Reynolds

    I use iPlayer many hours each day and welcome the download feature on my iPhone and iPad. However, I mostly listen to radio drama and comedies and it would be fantastic if the download facility applied to radio content as well.

    Will this happen?

  • Comment number 79.


    Now that you have suggested it, I'm confident that the development team will pause all Android development to put this iOS feature in.

  • Comment number 80.

    Why is the IOS app not stopped due to DRM issues with streams being available as DRM-free files while you continue to use DRM as the reason you can't release on Android? We're many years into this saga now and still you mess about giving DRM-free streams to IOS while complaining that Android can't handle DRM.

  • Comment number 81.

    You also don't even offer Google Plus share options on your pages but you have some largely defunct options on there, I get the feeling the BBC still thinks it's 2008.

  • Comment number 82.

    Have a problem, this does not work on ios6 for ipad2, just crashes
    Reinstalled app and no joy
    Have asked around but noone else has moved to ios6 i know yet.
    It worked ok on 5.1

  • Comment number 83.

    Windows Phone 8 please!

    And how about radio downloads - the idea of watching TV on a phone doesn't appeal to me as I've a far bigger screen at home. However listening to the Radio 4 comedies and drama's that don't make it to podcasts would be really really good!

  • Comment number 84.

    I love the fact that iPlayer can use Apples Airplay function, but i do think that it needs an update and when using the Airplay feature to seems to lag and buffer quite a lot, when not using this feature it works perfectly without buffering. I know it is not the network as bbc iplayer from mac desktop to Apple TV works perfectly. Not a major issue but would be nice, also as previously mentioned download of radio broadcast would be nice.

  • Comment number 85.

    Have been downloading programs for my train trip to work all week and this feature is bloomin marvellous! Now I can watch horizon and sky at night in peace - thank you! The download feature is great on my iPhone but would be even better to have on my Nexus 7 - good communication wins fans .... tell us when this feature is expected to arrive on android.

  • Comment number 86.

    Loving the downloadables on iphone. Been able to catch up on a few things on the bus. However I shall add to the clamouring for a viable Android version as a user with an iphone and an android tablet. I suspect that's a pairing that will grow increasingly common. Particularly given the cost/value of the nexus 7.

  • Comment number 87.

    Ive already mentioned this on here

    Have a problem, this does not work on ios6 for ipad2, just crashes
    Reinstalled app and no joy.

    Im not alone, as I have asked a number of my friends and they cant get this to work on ios 6 either. Has it not been updated for ios6 yet.
    Im using the web one ok in safari and google chrome on ipad.
    Or is it just on the ipad, as i have a friend who is running ios6 in an iphone 4 and it works. Not sure who or where to let someone at BBC know.

  • Comment number 88.

    Ios6 on iPad 3 seems to be OK.

    However, playing through Apple TV has a problem. Streamed programmes work as expected: just turn on AirPlay to Apple TV. But downloaded programmes say "An error occurred loading the content" on the tv and "We're sorry this downloaded program cannot be played" in the app. But if I turn mirroring on as we'll, it all then works - not just mirroring the screen, but playing properly. It's a nuisance, but at least it can be done.

    Btw why isn't there an airplay button in the player like there is in every other video player?

  • Comment number 89.

    Also re airplay, the native video player let's you turn off the iPad screen while playing, so it uses much less battery, but if you do that on iplayer, it stops playback.

  • Comment number 90.

    Been checking back regularly and still no sign of Android download functionality, when can we expect this ?

  • Comment number 91.

    The "shadow" icon iplayer on my ipad has been trying to install for at least 24 hours. I can't uninstall it or install it. Can anyone help?

  • Comment number 92.

    You are lucky to have this working on the ipad, but see you have an ipad3.
    I just cant get this working at all on mine at home or at work, two different ipad 2s
    I also have work colleagues and friends who have ipad2s and ipad and cant get this to work, it just crashes always. The old one never did this.
    Odd as most people tell me to use the website than the app, they say its better.
    Ive actually found my old version of the app for the previous version in itunes backup and put that on my ipad2 and it works fine now, so sort of happy.

  • Comment number 93.

    So when are downloads coming to Android? It's been a month but no sign yet...

  • Comment number 94.

    It's a good job I have a Nokia. As I can download and stream programs. Pity my Nexus 7 tablet can't :(

  • Comment number 95.

    We really need to able to do this on Android devices, I'm unhappy that Apple devices get this facility and others don't. Come on BBC!!

  • Comment number 96.

    Has this feature been disabled for some reason? The Download option is not showing up on any new content posted today to the app on my iPod Touch. I've really been enjoying getting to watch BBC shows on my way to work and this is most disappointing!

  • Comment number 97.

    When will this be available for Android? I don't understand why this is only available to users of Apple products. I pay my licence fee too, and I can see no reason why there is this discrimination.

  • Comment number 98.

    Hi - BringTheNoise - comment 96 - please see the BBC iPlayer FAQs.


  • Comment number 99.

    I am joining this one late but can you now look to improve the range to include Android and investigate downloading radio shows which have music in them. Perhaps you can reduce the quality to show that they cannot be copied?

  • Comment number 100.

    I just want it to work on my brand new Nexus 10 - says incompatible on Play store..guess I have the wrong Jelly Bean ...4.20 instead of 4.10 ( There isnt that much difference?).... I am not happy if it works on new Apple products as has been suggested...... why the seeming bias towards Apple devices????????


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