The BBC iPlayer app is a piece of iOS software that has been eagerly anticipated. Up until the app's release, mobile users have had to make do with using the mobile version of the iPlayer web site to view streaming video from BBC television channels and listen to radio broadcasts. The app provides access to live broadcasts as well as programmes from the past week.
As had been hope, BBC iPlayer is a slick app that has been perfectly designed for the iPad. You can easily navigate through the available videos and programmes, using the Featured and Most Popular lists to home in on suggested viewing and listening. You can also browse through the schedule to check what you can look forward to in the near future.
If there is a programme you always watch online, you can add it to a list of favourites for easy access. This means that you can quickly jump to new episodes as they become available without the need to scour the rest of the available videos.
There are a few niggles with the app, the first being that it is only possible to use BBC iPlayer over a wifi connection. For most people this is not going to be a problem, particularly considering that the app is only available for the iPad not the iPhone, but the option of making use of a 3G connection would have been nice. Another omission is offline viewing - unfortunately it is not possible to download shows to watch when you do not have an internet connection.
Overall, BBC iPlayer is a great success. Video and audio quality is of a suitably high standard, and you have the option of dropping image quality if your connection is not up to the task of delivering high quality content.
Version 4 adds these changes:
- Created a new Home screen that includes a selection of editorially curated programmes including a group of the most popular programmes on iPlayer at the moment.
- New Category pages, each with a selection of editorially curated programmes and a simple A-Z list to make finding programmes via your favourite categories even easier.
- New branded Channel pages showcase programmes that are specific to each individual channel
- Home, Channel and Category pages all include editorial collections
- Subtitles are now also available for downloaded programmes.