BBC iPlayer – it’s great. But until now the experience on a phone or tablet has been pretty limited, with lower-quality streams and no ability to download TV episodes. However the Beeb has now enabled downloads on iPhones and iPads.
From today, UK iPad and iPhone users will be able to download TV episodes using BBC iPlayer. Android users aren’t currently in on the update too, but will be soon.
Being able to download TV programmes will come in tremendously useful for when you’re out of the UK, as you can’t stream TV freely when abroad. It’s something that BBC General Manager Daniel Danker agrees with, saying “It means audiences are liberated from the constraints,” and “it fundamentally changes what it means to go on holiday.”
He may be being a bit dramatic, but it’ll be a great way to stave off those homesick moments that can creep in when you start to get a bit sick of 40-degree heat – just stick on an episode of Eastenders. At present, downloads can only be made over Wi-Fi but there are plans to open this up to 3G connections as well.
Some iPlayer metrics from the BBC
The downloads are fully DRM’d up, like those of the desktop version of iPlayer. From the time you download a TV episode, you’ll be able to watch it within 30 days, or seven days after it has been initially watched.
The popularity of BBC iPlayer is demonstrated pretty well by the figures racked-up by the Olympics opening ceremony back in July. There were 1.7million views of that programme – and while it doesn’t compare to the 27 million of the actual TV broadcast, it shows that iPlayer is no longer the preserve of tech enthusiasts.
BBC iPlayer has been around for almost five years. An international version of the service launched in July this year, letting folk from other countries subscribe for 6.99 Euro a month to watch numerous classic British TV shows including Doctor Who.