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New BBC Media Player for Android phones and tablets

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Chris Yanda | 11:00 UK time, Wednesday, 19 September 2012

BBC Media Player in Google Play

BBC Media Player showing subtitles and playback controls with BBC on-demand video content

Today the BBC's mobile technical teams have begun rolling out a new way of securely playing video and audio content on Android phones and tablets. It's called BBC Media Player and we are starting to use it with the mobile view of the BBC's iPlayer website. Next week we plan to release a new version of BBC iPlayer on Android which will use this player. Other applications and websites will follow.

We want people to have the best experience possible when they're watching BBC TV programmes or listening to BBC radio programmes. This means, amongst other things, making them available on as many devices as is practical.

I want to reassure you that Android is an important platform for us. And I know (not least from the comments on David Madden's recent post) that this platform is an important one for many of our users. We've supported iPlayer on Android since June 2010 .

The Android operating system is constantly evolving and has been upgraded several times in the last two years. Back then version 2.2 (FroYo) was the latest OS. Today the latest version is 4.1 (JellyBean) and in between we've had Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich.

As many of you are aware, we chose Adobe Flash as the media format to stream to Android devices. Doing so provided us with a number of cross platform efficiencies as the same infrastructure can be used for delivery on PCs, Android phones, and set-top boxes.

Adobe's strategic decision to remove support for the Flash Player plug-in meant that we had to change the way that we play back this content.

We looked at a number of solutions, but there were a few key points we had to keep in mind:

1. We needed a solution that would work on the newer Android devices running the JellyBean operating system.

2. We also had to cater for the all the devices which are still on earlier OS versions. The diagram below shows that vast majority of Android users are on Gingerbread and FroYo.

3. We needed a solution which would work both for our websites and for our native Android applications.

4. We needed a solution which would meet the security obligations we had agreed with our rights holders.

5. We needed a solution which would not require a significant and costly change to our current infrastructure.

Android platform pie chart

Platform version information from developer.android.com for the 14 day period prior to 4 September 2012

We looked at a number of different solutions, for example, Http Live Streaming (HLS) which is used to stream BBC media to other platforms. Unfortunately, HLS isn't supported on Android OS versions prior to Honeycomb.

In the end, Flash was still the best choice of media format for us to use. And the only practical technology for us to play this format back on Android is Adobe Air.

We are keenly aware that mobile development is a fast-changing environment and that this approach may have to adapt in the future. We also wanted a generic simple application that would be as transparent as possible, both for users of our websites and users of our native applications like BBC iPlayer.

For these reasons, we decided to go with a separate application that we've called BBC Media player. This approach allows us to focus on solving all of our media playback challenges in one place and in one app. Any improvements that we make will benefit everything in the BBC that uses the Android platform.

We are making this change with our eyes open. No technology is perfect. We've seen some of the challenges that other Adobe Air based apps have had in the marketplace and so we have worked hard, both internally and with our technology partners to build the best application we can.

Adobe have been a long-standing collaborator with the BBC and have been excellent throughout this process, working closely with our teams to ensure continuity and a great experience throughout the London 2012 Olympic Games and then thereafter to support our requirements around this project.

We have put a lot of work into BBC Media Player and we think it will improve your experience of watching BBC TV and listening to BBC Radio on your Android phones and tablets.

We will continue to work on this application and on improving media playback and mobile experience on Android smartphones and tablets. The team and I would love to hear what you think about this approach and how well this new application works on your device.

Chris Yanda is Executive Product Manager, POD Mobile Management, BBC Future Media

Update, Thursday 13 December 2012: Dave Price has written an update post on Android.


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  • Comment number 1.

    So, since you're still using flash, will iplayer still refuse to play audio-only content when the screen is on? This is unacceptable - it makes all your radio content unusable on android due to excessive battery use.

  • Comment number 2.

    Fantastic news! Glad to see the BBC continuing to support Android platforms as Adobe pull out.

  • Comment number 3.

    Presumably this is why video on the BBC site no longer works on my PC ("You must upgrade Flash")?

  • Comment number 4.

    Will the update next week include the offline support recently introduced for ios?

  • Comment number 5.

    I'll reserve judgment until I actually use it, but I *really* hope the content is downloadable for offline viewing.

  • Comment number 6.

    So if this app is the "one place and in one app" to "focus on solving all of [your] media playback challenges" then why not use HLS (and hence native video) on devices running Honeycomb (3.0) and later, and fall back to Flash for earlier Android releases?

    I think it's also worth pointing out that whilst you like to claim Flash as being a great solution for earlier devices, my past experience is Flash is slow and choppy compared to native video on such devices. Today even on my high-end Galaxy Nexus I could quickly spot that Flash was probably being used for playback.

    Meanwhile other DRM-using video providers, such as Netflix, are able to deliver video without Flash. Of course the large majority of Android devices support local h.264 playback, so surely you could just have your iPlayer app download the programs for offline playback (though there's DRM to consider...).

  • Comment number 7.

    Does not work (HTC Sensation, Android 4.0.3). Keeps saying I need to install BBC Media Player when I try to play anything from mobile iPlayer site (yes, I did install it.

    Ah! I have to install Air as well? So for the future iPlayer I'm going to need 3 apps installed!?!

    Nope. Installed Air and I still get prompted to install Media Player (even though I have installed it!!!).

    If Netflix can produce a media streaming app that satisfies the "rights holders", runs (and works well) on most Android devices and doesn't require the installation of 3rd party bloatware, then why can't you?

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree with Rob P above: Why not use HLS on devices later than Honeycomb? Surely it's more stable than still relying on flash based content? Who's to say Adobe aren't going to pull Adobe Air support anytime soon? The usage figures of Froyo and Gingerbread are only going to decrease over time.

    Either way - attempting to play last nights' Eastenders on my Galaxy S3 with this new app has just caused my entire device to crash. I've had to hold the power button and restart it to get control back. Immediately uninstalled the app after that.

  • Comment number 9.

    Installed it. Seems to work fine. Will wait to see if the new version of iPlayer supports offline play.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yay, seems to work on Nexus 7... quality isn't that great on the 7" screen, is there an option to play the HD streams I'm missing somewhere?

    I didn't need to install Air separately (not that I'm complaining about this!); is that expected?

  • Comment number 11.

    That is good news indeed. I wonder if it will increase the liklihood of an app for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 as they can now support HLS (via a plugin https://3ivx.com/technology/windows/metro/http_live_streaming.html%29

    Good work though Auntie Beeb

  • Comment number 12.

    If the iPlayer app now works on my ICS ASUS Transformer, I'll be a happy bunny!

  • Comment number 13.

    fantastic news! thank you for talking the time and effort to explain the background, it must have been frustrating for you all taking flak and keeping this under wraps till now.

  • Comment number 14.

    One nice to see would be the magical reappearance of the three Android navigation buttons when you press pause. All worked well on my Nexus 7 however when I paused I didn't think the back and home buttons were available at first as I couldn't see them.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hopefully, you'll one day be able to offer this content via HTML5 video. Are the BBC still working with the W3C to create a standard for DRM on the Web?

  • Comment number 16.

    I can't believe the lies here.

    "We've supported iPlayer on Android since June 2010"

    No. You haven't. A link to a webpage is not "support".

    "We looked at a number of solutions"

    No. You haven't. Because you aren't using HTML5.

    "We have put a lot of work into BBC Media Player"

    No. You haven't. You fanbois do not put work into anything but crapple products, along with all the free advertising you give them.

  • Comment number 17.

    There's more to consider than the version of Android.

    My phone used Gingerbread, but flash will not work because the processor isn't compatible.

    Looking on Google Play, Adobe Air is not compatible so I suppose I still won't be able to use IPlayer.

    The annoying thing is I expect it's just down to the DRM again, I can play the videos on the news pages.

  • Comment number 18.

    "We needed a solution which would meet the security obligations we had agreed with our rights holders."

    If you've signed up to anything that requires more restrictions that free-to-air TV broadcasts, then you are Doing It Wrong. Any interesting material will wind up on torrent sites anyway, off air. You know that, and you know that you're mucking everyone about for the sake of bolting a stable door long, long after the horse has bolted.

  • Comment number 19.

    Another request for HD content here. The streaming video on a 7" tablet looks blocky and pixelated.

    For any Nexus 7 or other tablet Jellybean users, you can sideload the flash player .apk and use Firefox browser to access the iPlayer desktop website where you'll be able to choose HD or SD video. The quality on both is far greater than that offered on this new mediaplayer.

  • Comment number 20.

    When will you provide windows phone/windows 8 support?

  • Comment number 21.

    I look forward to trying out the new latest version of iPlayer especially so if you have introduced the download functionality given to iOS users. Which brings me neatly to a point, with the explosion of Android mobile devices which are now outselling iOS mobile devices four to one why do the BBC (and quite a few other organisations) insist on rolling out updates to iOS devices first?).

    Anyhow got a long flight next month so is there any chance you could stick a few Top Gear specials on iPlayer for me to "test" the app on the plane? ;)

  • Comment number 22.

    This seems a decent-ish compromise, but - on Nexus 7 you don't have an action overflow button (3 dots thing) which presumably alters video quality. Loving the super sharp subtitles on blurry pixelated mess of a programme. Apple Once again seems to be getting preferential treatment AGAIN as we don't have 720p HD for our nice 720p HD Android phones/nexus handsets and tablets. Free Macs iPhones and iPads do indeed have a price.

  • Comment number 23.

    Thanks, BBC. Brilliant news. I'd put off buying a Nexus 7 because Jellybean doesn't have Flash and I wouldn't be able to use iPlayer. I've suddenly become a lot more interested again!

  • Comment number 24.

    It doesn't hide the soft keys during playback on my Samsung galaxy nexus, so the video isn't quite fullscreen.

  • Comment number 25.

    Maybe you should stop pandering to "rights holders" and make the BBC content free and accesible to everyone.

    Then maybe you will have some great technology options available to you other than bloated adobe air.

  • Comment number 26.

    As usual, too little too late from the BBC, they are all too busy on their Apple app so they can watch iPlayer from the local winebar with their complimentary Apple provided iDevices.

  • Comment number 27.

    I don't understand why you guys over there continue to completely ignore Android Developer Guidelines.

    Here's a tip: Have 2 apps. You can limit which version of Android can have what apps. Run Android 2.x you have the old app. Run Android 3.x or higher? You run the new app.

    1) Stop using flash, for the love of all that is holy.
    2) Use Holo UI guidelines.
    3) Give us an actual tablet app with HD support rather than upscaling the living hell out of the phone app.

    There's a reason TVCatchUp is the most downloaded free app at the moment. Because it doesn't use flash and because it's scalable to different screen sizes. You guys seem to throw a heck of a lot of effort into the iOS app which follows Apple guidelines and has a tonne of features and then decide to give very little support to the Android app rather than work around Adobe and their awful software.

  • Comment number 28.

    MarkG wrote:
    "As usual, too little too late from the BBC, they are all too busy on their Apple app so they can watch iPlayer from the local winebar with their complimentary Apple provided iDevices."

    Give the BBC a break, Mark. Android only recently decided to withdraw support for Flash, so the new player has been created in double-quick time. Please keep your troll-ish comments to yourself.

  • Comment number 29.

    Thanks for the comments. I'll try to address some of the topics raised so far.

    Background Audio
    Unfortunately, Adobe Air does not support background audio playback at this time. I, too, wish I could turn the screen on my phone off and put it in my pocket when I’m listening to a radio programme. It is a problem that is high on the list for us to solve and we will continue to look for a solution.

    HLS playback
    Yes, HLS is supported on Honeycomb and later devices. Unfortunately, we can’t use the same security model that we use for HLS on other platforms without additional work. This would likely result in an additional platform for us to support. And, as I mentioned, for now, the majority of devices are still on Gingerbread and earlier OS versions.

    Offline Play / Downloadable Content
    Full Programme downloads will be coming to the BBC iPlayer Android app in the coming months, but I can’t provide a date at this time. Rest assured it’s something that David Madden’s team are working on.

    Yes, we are still working with the W3C to come up with a DRM solution for HTML5. Unfortunately, right now it doesn’t provide sufficient security for our rights agreements.

    Adobe Air requirement
    You do not need to download Adobe Air separately. We have a captive Adobe Air runtime included within BBC Media Player to make this unnecessary.

    Continual Calls to install the application.
    We have seen this behaviour on some devices, particularly if you use the “Back” button to leave the Media Player and go back to the website. However, in most cases, if you do have the app installed and it prompts you to install it again, if you tap “cancel” this prompt will vanish and you can play the content. This has been raised as a bug and, hopefully, we will have a resolution for it soon. Eponymous Cowherd, I don’t have an HTC Sensation to hand, could you try this and let me know if it works?

    Keep the comments and suggestions coming.

  • Comment number 30.

    OK, after trying it, I am so disappointed I'm almost heartbroken. Flash is dying on mobile for good reasons - it's a terrible experience. When Adobe said they would no longer support Flash for Android I thought it would force the BBC to develop an experience comparable to that which iOS users take for granted.
    Instead you've taken months just to find a way to continue providing the same substandard experience with the same substandard technology.

    Some major problems with the app at the moment:
    Playback stops when the screen is turned off - even for audio-only content.
    Playback stops when the app is not in the foreground - even for audio-only content.
    When the app is brought back to the foreground after backgrounding it or after the screen has been turned off, the content starts playing from the beginning rather than remembering your previous position.
    Video is not full screen on Galaxy Nexus or Nexus 7 - the software buttons are not hidden.
    Streaming video is not high enough quality to take advantage of the high resolutions of modern android devices.

    I totally understand the point about supporting old devices, illustrated by the android version pie-chart. But the truth is that chart will change drastically over the next year or so, and I bet ICS+ devices make a greater proportion of requests for streaming media consumption already. Or at least they would if they had been properly supported. A forward-looking decision would be to support modern ICS & Jelly Bean devices properly with HLS, with a fallback to flash for older models. You are clearly going to need to develop an HLS or HTML5 solution for android eventually if you're at all serious about providing a half-decent service, so why not do it now?

  • Comment number 31.

    Adobe AIR, seriously? I have a Galaxy Nexus, and right now iPlayer isn't available in any form to that device through Google Play. Even when it was, it didn't work well - audio & video out of sync, low quality video. The BBC's wonderful, high-quality content, available on all platforms, apart from Android, the biggest in terms of device volume. At the very least there should be HLS support for devices that support it. I'm certainly not installing AIR on my phone, that's for sure.

  • Comment number 32.

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

  • Comment number 33.

    What isn't clear to me is will the new app actually enable mobile download rather than just streaming as now? Otherwise a new app that uses Adobe Air rather than directly using flashplayer is no use to me.

    It seems some of your constraints on what sort of solution you can choose are leading to a second tier support by default. It's the need to keep it compatible with your current PC servering infrastructure is somewhat constraining if understabable.

  • Comment number 34.

    So the new media player is an Air app, right? This means you can keep using Flash content without using the Flash Player Adobe has retired on Android. You just use another Abobe engine to play Flash content! Makes you wonder how/why Air apps are so much better than using the Flash player Adobe retired...

  • Comment number 35.

    I have to say that your support for Android since 2010 has not been all that worthwhile I've always found iplayer in it's streaming only incarnation to be useless.

  • Comment number 36.

    I liked the old iPlayer app on my Android 2.3 phone.

    This new solution is disappointing so far though it is good that there is work going on. The issues I have are on my brand new Nexus 7 are
    a) you need to install two apps (AIR and BBC Media Player)
    b) when you click on BBC Media Player you get a nice screen which offers a single option to download iPlayer
    c) clicking on this causes the browser to open on the mobile iPlayer web site - does not look great on this machine and no offline storage to watch on train...
    d) when watching media the ICS home and back buttons disappear and there seems no way to recover these so one is stuck in that video

  • Comment number 37.

    Chris Yanda wrote:

    "Offline Play / Downloadable Content
    Full Programme downloads will be coming to the BBC iPlayer Android app in the coming months, but I can’t provide a date at this time. Rest assured it’s something that David Madden’s team are working on."

    Urgh, Urgh, Urgh.

    Come on BBC - Get yourself sorted out. There was a third party Android iPlayer app in the Android market 3 years ago that provided downloads - you blocked it, but don't provide a suitable alternative yourself.

  • Comment number 38.

    Think your points 3/5 are the reasons you can't supply very good support on Android rather than (4) which is the reason normally given. I notice at no point do you claim the coming update will enable mobile download on Android.

    Adobe Air/Flash really aren't very good solution and while as the user of a 2.3.3 Android device I'm pleased you are interested in supporting older devices but on newer devices you should have a different app.

  • Comment number 39.

    @33 eConundrum

    ***"It's the need to keep it compatible with your current PC servering infrastructure is somewhat constraining if understabable."***

    Actually it isn't. The streams used for iOS bear no relation to the "PC Serving infrastructure" but the BBC is quite happy to support those devices. The real reason is keeping the "rights holders" happy. There are plenty of free and open formats that are supported on both mobile and desktop platforms, but the BBC is not permitted to use them by these "rights holders"

    Note that I said "BBC not permitted", as I read that this is, in fact, the case with iPlayer. The rights holders to some BBC programmes will not allow them to be distributed via iPlayer unless they are distributed in a locked-down format, and, with the demise of Flash, that means Air.

    What these "rights holders" do not grasp (and, for the life, of me I cannot understand how they can be so stupid as not to), is that if you have your programme broadcast in unencrypted HD, then insist on a miserable, pixellated, poorly functioning DRM infested experience for the "catch up" service (i.e. iPlayer, ITV Player, etc), then you are just making work for the "pirates" to provide the service that the BBC is not permitted to.

    Its not rocket science. Its not difficult to understand. The only way to beat the "pirates" is to provide a better service than they do. At the moment Big Media Industry seems to work under the delusion that spending a fortune on lawyers and court cases to prosecute these pirates and lobbying the Government to introduce freedom-restricting (on the Internet) legislation while providing law-abiding people with an atrocious end-user experience is the best way to keep control of their content.

    It isn't, of course. They stand a snowballs chance in hell of stopping online piracy unless they get the public onside. At the moment their control freakery makes the pirates appear the lesser of two evils.

  • Comment number 40.

    Not directly related but any chance of bringing out a Global Iplayer on Android for us ipaddleless ex-pats? The telly in Italy really is dire!! Yours desperately, Deep in Rome.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm the host of this blog.

    Now that Chris has answered some of your comments can I ask for some people commenting to be careful about their tone. I know some of you hold strong opinions and you can express these forcefully without becoming abusive please.

    So, keep the comments coming but please be civil.


  • Comment number 42.

    Thanks for the updates Nick / Chris - any comments on the lack of the HD streams for those of us with HD-capable tablets?

  • Comment number 43.

    @29 Chris Yanda

    I open the iPlayer website in the device browser (tried both the built-in browser and Google Chrome) Select a programme and see the "Click to play" thumbnail. Tap that and the player starts. I see a black screen with a frozen "wait symbol" in the centre. A few seconds later it returns to the web browser which now displays the "please install" message. Tapping "cancel" just takes me back to the "Click to play" thumbnail.

  • Comment number 44.

    "The streams used for iOS bear no relation to the "PC Serving infrastructure" interesting cowherd, I had not thought about that.

    Considering I can easily use Get iplayer to record iplayer programs on my PC....should I want to of course not saying I do if anyones legal department is watching, it does seem silly of the rights holder.

    I should say I have no interest in keeping copies of programs longer than a day or two so I can watch them on the train, considering I can digitally record from all BBC channels using my telly and keep it indefinatley this online DRM obsession seems especially silly.

    I do find the BBC's inability to provide HD downloadable content to my Galaxy S rather poor after all I can download HD movie rentals from Google play in such a way the rights holders are clearly not worried.

  • Comment number 45.

    What would help as users of iplayer is a roadmap of the developments planned - possibly up to 6 months ahead. I am clearly not the only one here who feels that iplayer on Android is not getting the level of development effort that is being put into the Apple platform. A roadmap would help us to provide the BBC with feedback for what we are looking for out of the solution, and would hopefully encourage the BBC to make their major functionality releases available at the same time on Android, Apple, and possibly even WM8. Very dissapointed about the lack of an offline solution, and would like to know the target date for it to be released.

  • Comment number 46.

    So the offline target date is still 2013 and will you be supporting gingerbread for that? Next weeks launch sounds like a none event to me as it really won't make much difference to us Android users, still flash based and still no downloads. How can you expect us to react positivley to this news

  • Comment number 47.

    Another question, the BBC don't implement any effective DRM on their streams as a certain third party app developed to allow downloading of your programing points out you stream unencrypted via a published standard, so how does this equate to effective DRM?

    It certainly seems there is little hope for true Android support (with mobile download), in the near future.

    I guess my main reaction here is to be depressed by the lack of resources the BBC seem to put into this it's a major platform and yet your list of constraints failr to acknowledge this and given how current streams don't have effective DRM is puzzling why that is such a blocker to you on Android.

    Have you looked into deals with other provides e.g. Google Play allows download of rental movies across serveral android OS levels with high quality I often watch rental movies on the move, clearly this is a solution with DRM.

    As you are unable to provide a worthwhile app for Android yourselves could you strike a deal with goolge to use their app as a channel to make your content available free?

    Just looking at your considerations and decisions I don't think the BBC is going to provide a good level of Android support for a pretty long time to come. So maybe consider alternatives using what's already out there.

  • Comment number 48.

    @43 Eponymous Cowherd, Sorry to hear that. I hadn't realised you were getting no playback on that device. We'll raise this as a separate bug in addition to the repeated prompt to install.

  • Comment number 49.

    Media format in Flash Player or Adobe AIR providing a high-quality video and BBC have a good and best choise, congratulations BBC.

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't understand why my wife's iPhone gets an HD, smooth stream and I, on my Phone, get jerky, blocky video. It's not the phone, when I connect to other services, I get smooth, clear video.

    I can't get 4.1 on my Android phone, so I guess I'm screwed. I bought this expensive phone just because it supported the Flash/iPlayer.

  • Comment number 51.

    Ok one final post form me before I remove iPlayer, and BBC Media player from my Galaxy S since they are only going to be continuing to waste space, with no mobile download for many months.

    You try to assure us you take Android seriously as an OS and do not favour iOS in your development. For me you fail totally for the following reasons;

    1) To support iPhones you do not try and make cost savings by using existing PC streams. It's this that's led to Android users being stuck with a substandard glitchy app. That still fails to support download.
    2) The BBC then faced the problem of flash player being decommissioned and had to find another solution to go on supporting Android in some form. So again they went for the quickest cheapest solution regardless of well know quality and compatibility issues with Adobe air.

    This much touted update means I will need an extra application on my phone e.g. both BBC Media player and BBC iPlayer, will be just as poor as the current version if not worse being based on adobe air, still will not support downloads for months or years. Why should this reassure us the BBC take Android seriously as a platform?

    Two other points announcement of mobile download for newer Apple devices only just before iPhone 5 launch, is that really co-incidence BBC? And if you want to go to considerable effort and have the knowledge all BBC broadcast and internet media is not properly DRM protected and can be recorded and moved to Android, indeed Freeview has not protection at all. Not that DRM is an excuse for you as I was thinking when watching the downloaded rental of avengers assemble with DRM and no flash on my Galaxy S with Gingerbread on the way home tonight.

    Ok going to leave this now before I tun hulk green, thanks for expending the minimum effort to tick that support Android both BBC...that is what I think, so long.

    P.S. posting this from my PC as on my Android for some reason the Post Comment and preview buttons don't appear on this site though I can login and everything else works, (more top notch Android Support).

  • Comment number 52.

    Ugh... Still can't believe Adobe and Android have done this, I mean it's not as if Flash is a legacy format just yet..

    I enjoy using my phone to look at the same sites as I do on my laptop - 'apps' and 'mobile versions' could roughly be translated into 'kind of like the website you enjoy browsing, only not as good...

  • Comment number 53.

    Re: comment 17

    I just tried it. My phone is not compatible.

  • Comment number 54.

  • Comment number 55.

    I understand that it is easier to work with iOS as it is a single machine/os thing. Android is many versions on many machines. BUT, surely the BBC should then have many more developers working on it. Not just one team, but 5 teams or however many it takes. It's obviously very important to a lot of people. It's not like the been is a small outfit. If there's money for Citizen Khan then surely there's money for more developers..? I wouldn't even mind if you use some of the Citizen Khan money to be honest.

  • Comment number 56.

    A step in the right direction BBC, thank you.
    I don't think your date for support of android is correct, in truth ever since you shut down myplayer there has been no consistent iPlayer support on android.
    I worry that you have maybe jumped from one doomed third party app (flash) to another (air). I presume that you know what you are doing though.
    Did you consider maybe developing this short cut solution for legacy devices and maybe a full solution from android 3 and above? Legacy will naturally die off with that approach meaning you won't have an issue when air ultimately runs into problems.
    I agree that it would be a much simpler world if there was only one platform to support and I think we all know which platform the BBC would like to win through. I think I'll pull up a chair, get some popcorn and watch as the windows phone 8 gang join in the 'me too' club in the coming months :-)

  • Comment number 57.

    As has happened before (and is still happening) with the android iplayer app, I cannot install the new media player app from the Channel Islands. When clicking the button in the iplayer web page Google Play store opens but tells me strangely 'this video is not available in your country'. If I search for the app seperately in the store rather than going through the button, it doesn't show up at all, neither does iplayer. I have mentioned this on a previous blog and someone said they would look into it, but obviously the situation hasn't improved.

    It seems that restricting the app to UK availability in Google Play fails to include the Channel Islands, so this may be something you need to work with Google on. As license fee payers the same as anywhere else in the UK we should not be excluded from the android version of iplayer because of our location.

  • Comment number 58.

    If Adobe Air saves you development time and server resources on Android why not use it on iOS as well

    It would surely reduce the amount of transcoding required.

  • Comment number 59.

    To confirm, this will at some point allow me to see all videos on all of the BBC websites? Is there any timeframe for this?

    My personal usage scenario of BBC video services mostly involves watching videos on the BBC News and Sport websites, but I still use iPlayer from time to time. While I have the iPlayer app on my Android phone (HTC Desire HD) I hardly ever used it, mostly because the video quality was so poor and I don't see much point in watching extended content on such a small screen.

    When I got a Nexus 7 I bought it anticipating that BBC video content wasn't going to be available for a little while due to Flash not being supported. I assumed that your solution to this was either going to have a quick turnaround (which it hasn't been IMO) or baked a bit longer but be better than what was already on offer for my phone – better quality streaming, maybe other bells and whistles as well.

    After trying out the BBC Media Player so far I am finding the experience with iPlayer no different than my phone – still a poor quality stream that appears to be worse than the standard 480p (though correct me if I'm wrong). I'm not necessarily asking for 720p or above but certainly when it is available on the desktop and (I presume from reading other comments) iOS devices the option for Android should really be the same.

    I can live with playing catching up on new features such as downloading in advance in the short term, after all you've only just released your current basic solution and are probably still feeling through things. But feature parity where possible should at the very least be on the roadmap.

    As for media on the BBC News/Sport websites I guess I'll be waiting even longer to be able to play them on my preferred device. That said functionally if the solution for iPlayer works as smoothly as it will with the rest of the BBC websites then it's definitely a step in the right direction. And as bad as it is for Android users I spare a thought for the dedicated users of lesser used mobile operating systems, at least we have something.

    In short, mostly good job with the implementation (except for video quality), but very poor show with the turnaround time.

  • Comment number 60.

    Could I please also request that this is updated to support tablets properly and HD streams. The buttons are much too large on tablets and the video quality is much too low on its 10" screen; indeed, the quality is poor for a 720p phone.

  • Comment number 61.

    Galaxy tab 7.0 plus

    Have installed BBC media plugin as asked but when I launch iplayer programmes I get a black screen with audio only. Any ideas. Thanks

  • Comment number 62.

    Great to see a new Android app release. While I'm not going to get involved about the ideological Flash vs non-Flash debate, there are a few disappointments with this app.

    1) Lack of offline support is the biggest issue for me, and means the app isn't very useful for me at all. Given phones/tablets are primarily mobile devices that will be used outside the home, and 3G internet connections aren't up to streaming video, that pretty much means the main use case for this app isn't supported. As others have noted, it doesn't seem like the technical challenge can be that great since other services on Android allow DRM'ed downloads.

    2) The video quality of the streams is very poor compared to the streams available for PC (I can't comment on iOS). While this makes sense on a phone, it makes for a pretty poor viewing experience on a 10" 720p Android tablet. Is there any reason the HD PC streams aren't available?

    3) With an increasing number of people watching content on mobile devices, I think it's high time BBC content was available for UK license fee payers while abroad. Could users be provided with login credentials based on their licence fee number, so that they could access BBC content from non-UK locations (both through the PC and Android/IOS interfaces)? Again this is one of the key use cases; when I'm at home I'll typically watch BBC on my main TV - it's when I'm away (eg. on holiday abroad) that I might want to access iPlayer from an Android device or PC.

    As an unrelated aside, I'd like to congratulate the BBC tech team on the excellent job they did with online content for the Olympics - really great stuff.

  • Comment number 63.

    I agree with #62 James Lee - the ideological debate over flash, air, etc is irrelevant; as long as it works I don't care what you do under the covers.

    I tried watching again last night, but the quality is SO poor on a 7" screen that I couldn't bring myself to carry on. We really need higher quality streams available for this to be any use on even half-decent screens, at the moment it really is only appropriate for phones with small, low-res screens (and I suspect those aren't a high proportion of streaming-media consuming devices!).

  • Comment number 64.

    I would hardly call the flash vs. non-flash debate ideological, it’s the entire reason the BBC’s Android support is substandard and lacks a lot of features.

    What this blog admits in a very round about way is that the BBC went for the cheapest to implement solution to supporting Android, regardless of feature support and quality and continue to do so. Points (1) and (2) would not prevent the BBC developing a bespoke solution that worked across platform from 2.1 onwards. Point (4) is odd because for reasons we can’t discuss here if we don’t want to be moderated I fail to see how the BBC are currently meeting this criteria with their current streams. As for (3) I would see this as a nice to have not in anyway a necessity.

    I can understand why they would go for a cheap flash based solution back in the day when they produced the original iPlayer (though without mobile downloads it’s always been useless on the move), but really in 2012 and with Flash player going down the BBC should have been willing to spend on a proper solution as they did for Apple, because Android is a popular platform and is not going away.

    It sounds and please correct me if I’m wrong Chris that next weeks new release is just a continuation of the BBC’s current level of support for Android necessitated by the withdrawal of flash player from the market. No new features except now you will also need to install BBC Media player to use iPlayer.

    It’s also plain from your article that you know that while Adobe Air is a cheap solution, it’s a problematic one that’s going to have quality and compatibility issues and the BBC fully understand that.

    It further seems that in terms of even levels of support that a lot more was spent on the bespoke Apple solution and it was not as constrained when it came to trying to utilise the infrastructure you’d built for PC.

    I have now removed BBC Media Player and BBC iPlayer from my phone as they really do only waste space.

    I will check back next year and see if the BBC have decided to accept that Android is an A grade platform that is here to stay and deserve to be fully supported with a solid, reliable, and fully functional iPlayer.

    Really very disappointed in the BBC, and now have very low expectations of you in the future.

  • Comment number 65.

    It looks like you are doing a good thing for the majority [what else would most organisations do?]. Unfortunately for me, my [old!] laptop is running on Mac OS [X] 10.5.8 'PPC', which is unsupported by Adobe for any version over their 10.1.'x'. So, like others here, I can no longer watch video on BBC iPlayer and on the BBC website [as far as I am aware]. Any suggestions [apart from 'springing' for a new computer, which would be anything but easy on my modest pension] would be gratefully appreciated.
    Cheers, Dave.

  • Comment number 66.

    I was wondering if Chris Yanda is suprised that Android users are mostly not thrilled by this announcement are convinced by his arguments as to why the BBC have stuck with flash? Did he really expect a largely positive reaction?

  • Comment number 67.

    Well, I have just tried to install this on my daughter's HTC Wildfire S. Can't install because it requires an ARMv7 processor and the Wildfire uses an ARMv6 based CPU.

    So the app won't work on my HTC sensation (installs but won't work) and isn't compatible with the other Android device in the Family.

    This really is exceptionally poor show. I know and appreciate that this is down to strong-arm tactics from these "rights holders" forcing the use of Flash based technology, but perhaps its time the BBC stood up to them. The BBC must account for a significant amount of their income, so perhaps its time to bully them back?

  • Comment number 68.

    The rights holders aren't forcing flash based technology that is a combination of them and the BBC's wish to support Android on the cheap and avoid any solution that would require real investment.

    Sounds like even taking into account their on Criteria the BBC have fallen at the first hurdle here since while they support a range of Android OS levels they don't support a fairly large number of popular Android devices on these OS's thanks to using Adobe air rather than a bespoke solution.

    Another question couldn't iPlayer and BBC Media player be combined into one application? iPlayer seems even more pointless now Media player does the actual playback.

    Honestly the whole solution seems like a on the cheap cobbled together mess not worth the effort of downloading.

  • Comment number 69.

    So, what's with that screenshot? Still from The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe, with a subtitle from The Girl Who Waited .... has it been doctored or was something bugged when the shot was taken?

  • Comment number 70.

    "I agree with #62 James Lee - the ideological debate over flash, air, etc is irrelevant; as long as it works I don't care what you do under the covers. "

    The point is that is doesn't work, and that's because of the perverse use of Flash.

  • Comment number 71.

    'Give the BBC a break, Mark. Android only recently decided to withdraw support for Flash, so the new player has been created in double-quick time. Please keep your troll-ish comments to yourself.'

    @fathertedrules seeing it was ADOBE who ceased flash support (announced in November 2011, ceased AUGUST 2012) Auntie have a good while to brsinstorm/create a suitable solution. Unfortunately Mark speaks the truth - Apple ARE getting preferencial treatment by the BBC in this regard. If the BBC BOTHERED to put down their iPad and actually split the android app into froyo-Gingerbread and Honeycomb upwards we would have better experiences.

  • Comment number 72.

    @Andy M I lol'd and there's an 'action overflow' button (3 dot thing/menu button for older phones) which isn't there on the real app either.

  • Comment number 73.

    Read the Wikipedia page on BBC iPlayer. There are some interesting links on there.

    The truth is, as long as you provide a terrible iPlayer experience for the majority of your customers, then the bedroom coder will almost always win.

  • Comment number 74.

    It's disappointing this update couldn't including the download functionality. Surely if you've done it for iOS it should be fairly trivial to do the same for Android. It certainly shouldn't be months away.

    That certainly doesn't tie in with trying to claim Android is an important platform for you. Once again it's all about iOS and you're only supporting Android because you can't get away with not doing it.

  • Comment number 75.

    #64 / #70 - Flash can provide a reasonable user experience (the desktop website, for example, or side-loading flash onto Jellybean and using Firefox on a modern Android device), but that isn't really the point I was making.

    The application should meet certain basic requirements, which currently it does not do (off the top of my head: decent/HD quality as per iOS, audio with screen off, easy to use, works on older devices as they have broken the old flash-based system). If they can make it meet those requirements while still using Adobe Air, I couldn't care less - the important thing is the end-user experience.

    I personally suspect it is unlikely that they will be able to meet those requirements while using Air (particularly working well on the older devices pre 3.0, where the huge footprint of this app makes it difficult or impossible to install), so I suspect a native app would be a much better option, but if they can make it work, the fact that they're using Air or Flash or whatever underneath is not the important issue.

    One final point - the originally stated reason for using Adobe rather than HLS was to support devices

  • Comment number 76.

    I find this amazing. You have had nearly a year since the original announcement that flash was going away on android to come up with this fudge. You even had to plead with Adobe to keep flash on google play for longer so that you had more time. What do we end up getting? Flash repackaged in AIR. No HD streams, no downloads. Almost certainly not optimised for tablet. Exactly what do we pay our license fee for. The bare minimum is being done. At least everyone on Honeycomb and above should be able to have a HLS app. Netflix can do it.

    This seems to me like you just can't be bothered transcoding your content for Android despite the fact that its now the marketshare leader and growing all the time. And don't get me started on how broken the BBC news app is on a nexus 7.

    Disgraceful really.

  • Comment number 77.

    "We are making this change with our eyes open. No technology is perfect. We've seen some of the challenges that other Adobe Air based apps have had in the marketplace and so we have worked hard, both internally and with our technology partners to build the best application we can."

    Roughly translated, we make this decision knowing Adobe Air is glitch and crash prone and currently won't run on some newer hardware. We hope that eventually Adobe might get round to fixing these obvious major issues that will make iPlayer unusable for many, but honestly it was the only cheap solution so you guys will just have to like it or lump it.

  • Comment number 78.

    End of my comment #75 got cut off:

    One final point - the originally stated reason for using Adobe rather than HLS was to support devices pre 3.0 - most of these devices have limited storage space for installing apps and cannot fit a 26MB application, and as Eponymous Coward noted, it also doesn't work on some older processors. So it isn't supporting the vast majority of those pre 3.0 devices, so that reasoning does not hold.

  • Comment number 79.

    Something i forgot to mention in my post. Its actually pretty shocking to hear the Dev admit to the failings of AIR/Flash (for instance the lack of audio when the screen is off) yet still the Beeb are determined to offer us a badly functioning service.

  • Comment number 80.

    Putting aside for the moment that the BBC obviously aren't serious about Android support and are just looking to tick boxes as cheaply as possible as this blog shows, I would like to know what the point of retaining iPlayer on Android at all is?

    Why not incorporate iPlayers functionality into BBC Media Player as it seems the iPlayer application will just be a search engine and wrapper now, seems pretty pointless having it really.

  • Comment number 81.

    This is very frustrating - you banned BeebPlayer and haven't since provided us with something better. iPlayer on Android has never quite worked properly and now you're essentially redirecting us to a website. You could provide a two-app solution, but no - that's too much work, apparently.

    Meanwhile iOS users get an app for their iPhone, and another for the iPad. That's.. how many apps? What a bunch of elitists..

  • Comment number 82.

    I know the BBC's treatment of Android has not been brilliant to this point (especially compared to iOS). However even I am willing to cut them some slack given the drop of Media Player is only the first part of the new solution for iPlayer on Android. For what it's worth the media player performs much as I would expect and I don't see any reason why the HD streams can't be supported.

    It would be useful if there could be a statement to the effect that HD is coming to the native app when it's ready though.

  • Comment number 83.

    I see that the BBC Media Player is scoring 2.6 / 5, which is atrocious for an app from an organisation like the BBC and lower than iPlayer's own score of 3.1 (which is also exceedingly poor). Of the 156 people that rated the app, 88 (more than half) gave it one or two stars.

    I think we can read from this that most users believe this app, like the Flash based Android iPlayer, isn't fit for purpose.

    And lets not forget that that poor score doesn't reflect all of those users of lower end devices that cannot run BBC Media Player at all!!!!

    Its not good enough. It really, honestly, isn't. We know Android devices (including ARMv6 devices) are capable of providing an excellent iPlayer experience using existing iPlayer streams (as proved by BeebPlayer and MyPlayer), so the "keeping costs down" argument doesn't wash. We know that the BBC provides iPlayer content that can be downloaded and played on Android devices (as proved by that desktop app we are not allowed to mention lest we have our posts deleted).

    We know it CAN be done, because it has BEEN done, and that is what is making us Android users so very angry.

    Do you, seriously, want us to turn to the "pirates" for BBC content? You must do because your attitude (or rather the entrenched attitude of these "rights holders") in forcing these Flash based monstrosities onto us is leaving us little other option!!!

    Frankly I'm sick of waiting. As an experiment I tried that application-that-shall-not-speak-its-name and it works really, really, really, well. I just watched a programme on my phone in a quality I could never experience using iPlayer. This is the benchmark you have to meet. This is the standard to aim for. Why can't you do it?

  • Comment number 84.

    @32 Alex:-

    They have had over two years of "slack" since they killed off two decent 3rd party iPlayer client apps (BeebPlayer and MyPlayer). They still haven't managed to deliver an iPlayer Client for Android users that is fit for purpose.

    For me, personally, the "slack" has run out.

  • Comment number 85.

    Problems with Playback
    For those of you who are having problems with getting BBC Media Player to work we do have one potential workaround which I have heard has been successful on a few devices. Try uninstalling the app and then reinstalling it. Go to Settings -> Applications Manager (or App Manager or similar) -> BBC Media Player, tap “Uninstall” and follow the prompts. Then install it again either from your Downloads folder or by downloading it again from the Google Play store.

    Poor video playback
    This is something we are working on and will continue to work on. With the launch of BBC Media Player we have not changed any of the actual streaming formats or bitrates that were used before. We are working on improving these, but these streams are shared across multiple platforms — not just PCs and Android devices, but set-top boxes and games consoles as well. Any changes have to be very carefully tested. Rather than change both our method of playback and the format and bitrate of the streams, we thought it was important to make one change at a time. That said, our own internal testing has shown better playback on most devices and OS combinations. And this solution does give us JellyBean support which was lacking before.

    Other applications
    BBC Media Player will be used for other sections of the BBC aside from iPlayer. It will take us some time to roll this out, however, as we need to work with individual teams to help them integrate the product.

    Future plans
    In parallel with our development of the BBC Media Player we are continuing to evaluate competing technical solutions. Moving to this separate player has been a big jump and I recognise it may seem disruptive at first. It does, though, now give us the opportunity to incrementally improve our video and audio playback in one place for all BBC content. We will be updating the BBC Media Player app much more frequently than we have updated the Android version of iPlayer in the past. In particular we should have another release within one month that will allow you to resume playback of any content from where you stopped it in the BBC Media Player. That release will also, hopefully, fix some of the bugs that have been pointed out in our initial 1.0.1 release. Downloads, as both David and I have said, is coming for Android, but I still can’t provide a definite date.

  • Comment number 86.

    @Chris: and HD streams are supported by the media player?

  • Comment number 87.

    As a technology company we review and rate devices and applications on a regular basis.

    When we took a look at the player across multiple android devices we found performance varied wildly, this is due to the implementation of flash.

    https://wonderlabsseo.com have been busy testing different video streaming methods over various devices recently and have found HTML 5 to produce the most consistent playback experience.

    We would recommend to the BBC that they explore the possibility of using HTML 5 as it is the way of the future, flash is a dying breed and needs to be accepted. Apple have!

  • Comment number 88.

    The BBC just isn't taking Android seriously. It should be possible to provide the same streams to Android and iOS but it's easier to hide behind claims of content owner restrictions than tackle the issue. Different apps for different platforms shouldn't be necessary - after all it's just a bit of video.

  • Comment number 89.

    #86 @Alex, regarding HD streams...

    That's a tricky question to answer. It depends on how we define HD and which devices the BBC Media Player is running on. I can say that, on some devices, the BBC Media Player can definitely support higher bitrates and more modern video profiles than we are now using. However, Android is an open platform, and Android devices are greatly varied in terms of their capabilities. We've found that not all devices can handle some of the higher bitrates and video profiles we've tested, so we need to be careful in terms of how high we do go. These decisions also have to be made in the context of our overall infrastructure and their impact on other platforms that might share these streams. Wherever possible, we try to share streams across more than one platform to control overall costs.

    We also need to make sure we are only delivering streams to devices that can handle them. One promising development is that with JellyBean, there is now an API available which should reveal which video codecs a device can support but this will require additional development work and testing.

    So, I can't say that we will deliver "HD" streams, but I can say that we will continue working to improve the streams we have available on Android as well as ensuring those streams work as well as possible on as many Android devices as possible.

  • Comment number 90.

    iPlayer is a great service, but I'm frustrated by how limited the Android app is. The inability to listen to radio without keeping the screen on is my main gripe: I simply don't use it because it eats my battery so much. Where possible, I download podcast episodes of radio shows, but what's available is much more limited.

    HD is the other annoyance, I can play HD streams on my HTC One X via the desktop version of the site, but not the app, which would be much simpler. The YouTube app apparently enables or disables the option for HD video based on screen size - would this be possible in the iPlayer app? Or why not add an option in settings to enable HD video, labelling it "experimental" and warning users that it might not work on all devices?

  • Comment number 91.

    BBC Media Player has now received 235 reviews on Google Play. Average rating 2.3. 126 people (well over half) rated it one star. Only 64 voted it 4 or 5 stars.

    @88 Chris. The BBC isn't hiding "behind claims of content owner restrictions", this really is the case. If you dissect the "key points" in the article for both Flash and, say, HTML5, as suggested by "Wonderlabs":-

    1. We needed a solution that would work on the newer Android devices running the JellyBean operating system. Both will work, though you will get a significantly better experience and performance using HTML5

    2. We also had to cater for the all the devices which are still on earlier OS versions. The diagram below shows that vast majority of Android users are on Gingerbread and FroYo. Again, both work for ARMv7 based devices. HTML 5 will also work on ARMv6 and Intel based Android devices.

    3. We needed a solution which would work both for our websites and for our native Android applications. Again, Both will work as most modern browsers (e.g. Google Chrome) support HTML5

    4. We needed a solution which would meet the security obligations we had agreed with our rights holders. Ah, here's the crunch. Only Flash will satisfy the "rights holders"

    5. We needed a solution which would not require a significant and costly change to our current infrastructure. As HTML5 delivery is already used for iPhones, then there is no real cost involved in supporting Android, too.

    So, there we have it. The only "key point" than cannot be satisfied by using an open format is the need to keep the "rights holders" happy. For the other points the HTML5 solution is, actually, far superior.

    I'm fairly sure all of this is not down to the BBC, itself. Flash (including Air) is completely unsuitable for a resource constrained mobile device and will always result in a poor user experience and exclude a large number of users because of its requirement for a high-spec device to run it. As long as Flash/Air is used the Android iPlayer experience will always be poor and the BBC will continue to receive a massive amount of bad publicity for it.

    I cannot imagine that they would voluntarily do this to themselves.

    My own opinion, though I believe it is accurate as I have posted this opinion several times on this blog and have never had it contradicted, is that it is the rights holders who are primarily responsible for insisting on the use of Flash and, therefore giving us the atrocious end-user experience we have come to expect.

  • Comment number 92.

    I can watch Netflix in near HD quality on both my Android phone and tablet, I can watch HD video on Youtube, I can watch HD video from the Vimeo and Dailymotion apps etc. I can watch BBC in HD using the sideloaded Flash player plugin on my Jellybean Nexus 7 and on my ICS phone.

    I am a massive fan of the BBC and all the innovative work it does online, but I fail to comprehend how after all this time, you still haven't come out with a decent solution to Android iPlayer playback.

    In 2012 on my Android devices using the official BBC Media Player I can still only watch video of a similar (if slightly better) quality to the streams that were available to Symbian and other feature phones years and years ago.

    How is that other companies can provide video playback with DRM (Netflix, Sky, Google etc.) and decent quality streams that work across multiple devices using native applications, and the BBC are now progressing to Adobe Air with all the same limitations of Flash with the increased file requirement of embedded Adobe Air runtime. This is going to cause issues on most of the older Android devices with severely limited space.

    Do any of the high level BBC management use Android devices, and do any people in the Online and Technology team have Android phones as there main device?

    Massively dissapointed is an understatement.

  • Comment number 93.

    @eponymous coward: Do you know if it is easier to "rip" streaming content from a non-rooted Android device than it is a non-jailbroken iPhone.

    I am trying to understand what the reasoning behind not using the high quality streams that are available to iOS on Android when they are perfectly capable (in most cases) of playing them?

  • Comment number 94.

    @Chris Yanda: Thanks for the reply regarding HD. I would (as others have suggested) make the support of HD streams an experimental feature rather than delaying a "perfect" solution for the sake of lower spec devices. The current stream on my Nexus 7 is obviously fairly low bit-rate and it can certainly handle a lot more. Even my old HTC Hero had a degree of hardware support for video and I expect most mainstream Android devices have plenty of video processing grunt in them.

    This is probably worth a future post but I'm sure a post about all the current iPlayer streams available would be of interest to many of the followers of this blog. I seem to recall the BBC has discussed it's encoding pipeline before and I'm sure you could crowdsource some of the compatibility testing. If you posted up some rights cleared example files under all the various codecs I bet the community would happily give feedback. It would be easier than waiting for people to use the-script-that-must-not-be-named to get at the other streams.

  • Comment number 95.

    It's clear from the comments here that many people suspect the BBC prioritises iOS over Android, so perhaps this point could be addressed: Does the BBC publish information on how much license-payers' money they have invested in developing streaming video solutions for iOS over the past 5 years, compared to the same figures for Android?

    If this information isn't currently available, I think publishing it would do much to shed some light on the situation. It's entirely believable that developing for the wide range of devices running Android is more costly than dealing with the relatively limited choice of iOS devices, so either way the information would be illuminating. We need to know if the resources are being used at all, before we can judge if the are being used wisely.

    Secondly - on DRM: Since 3rd-party android apps were able to access unencrypted iOS streams without problems before you shut them all down, this has naturally raised suspicions of a double-standard being applied between the two platforms. Can you be specific about precisely what requirements are placed upon you by the rights-holders, explaining and expanding upon the restrictions this places upon the solution you develop? If rights-holders are happy for streams to be broadcast unencrypted to the iPhone, but require certain security measures in place in the official BBC apps that receive those streams - well that's exceedingly stupid of them but at least not entirely your fault.

    Finally - there have clearly been many difficulties and sacrifices involved in developing a solution in-house using Adobe's products. The app is a massive download, it is pretty much useless for radio, and the video quality is much poorer than on iOS. These are all problems of which you are aware, but are unable to provide a timescale for their resolution. On the other hand, people say Netflix have a good solution. So, has there been any exploration of the possibility of purchasing or licensing that instead? Perhaps that's not how things work - I've no idea - but it seems to me you're not direct competitors. It's certainly wasteful to keep struggling to re-invent the wheel when somebody else has already invented a quite serviceable automobile.

  • Comment number 96.

    It really would be helpful if the DRM issue was expanded up BBC.

    Specifically I'd like to know what the constraints placed upon you are how the current app and streams that support it meet the criteria and how solutions other than flash on Android wouldn't.

    Because it's very hard for us to bring up the obvious points for discussion here since their are certain things we can't mention without getting moderated for encouraging illegal behaviour even when we aren't we are just trying to discuss DRM with you, since that keeps being given as an excuse.

    Why is it that google have a solution and you can't find one? e.g. Google Play movies.

  • Comment number 97.

    Have the BBC team been able to find their way to work today? Or have you all become lost because of the new Map App on you brand new iPhone5s?

  • Comment number 98.

    Utter rubbish! I'm locked into the Catch-22 of install - play - install. None of the 'fixes' above work - android 4 generic tablet which DID play iPlayer material perfectly.

    Another great example of 'If it's working, let's break it!'.


  • Comment number 99.

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

  • Comment number 100.

    eConundrum (comment 97) - please moderate your tone. Your comment is mean spirited.

    Can I remind people on this thread to stay on topic. This is not a general discussion of piracy or the BBC's approach to content protection. If you are interested in the BBC's approach you may find this blog post from 2010 worth reading.



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