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BBC iPlayer 4.4

Catch up with the last 7 days of programming from the BBC

by Nick Peers

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Android
Requirements:

Android 2.2 or later

Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 03 November 2014
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 327
Developer: BBC
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BBC iPlayer for Android
Watch live and recorded TV on your Android device with BBC iPlayer

If you're a Brit with a love of TV, then the BBC's iPlayer app is an essential download, providing as it does access to live broadcasts (tap menu and select Channels) as well as programmes from the past week (and even longer with particularly popular series, where an entire season is kept online for catchup throughout the show's run).

This is a slick app that's been perfectly designed for both tablet and phone. The home page reveals the most popular shows currently being broadcast - tap one to reveal more information before watching it, plus see similar programmes. You can also browse content by channel or category, search for a programme or view a TV guide to see what's coming up.

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.

You can even download material to your Android device for watching later - you have up to 30 days to start viewing it from time of download, then seven days from the moment you start watching it. The app also works over 3G/4G connections as well as Wi-Fi, meaning you can - subject to bandwidth limits - use it almost anywhere.

In theory, the app is perfect, but in practice there are some annoying niggles - many users complain of constant buffering, while others note that adding live broadcasts to the app means you now need a TV licence to use it.

Version 4.4 adds these changes:

- New Audio Described category makes BBC iPlayer more accessible than ever.
- Most Popular has expanded to show 40 programmes, giving a greater selection of well-loved shows.
- A ban on buffering! Programmes now automatically play at the best video quality for your connection.
- Various other minor bugs have been exterminated (humanely, of course).

Verdict:

If you're a UK TV licence payer who wants access to BBC programmes via their Android device, then this is the app to go for. Selected niggles prevent it from being the runaway success it could be, however.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

WhatsApp Messenger 2.12.5

Free Full Commercial Software

WhatsApp Messenger is the world's most popular instant messaging app for smartphones.

You can use it to send and receive text and voice messages, photos, videos, even call your friends in other countries, and because it uses your phone's internet connection it might not cost you anything at all (depending on whether you'll pay data charges).

It's easy to set up and use. There's no need to create and remember new account names or pins because it works with your phone number, and uses your regular address book to find and connect you with friends who use WhatsApp already.

You can talk one-to-one or in group chats, and because you're always logged in there's no way to miss messages. Even if your phone is turned off, WhatsApp will save your messages and display them as soon as you're back online.

There's plenty more (location sharing, contact exchange, message broadcasting) and the app is free for a year, currently $0.99/ year afterwards.

Version 2.12.5 brings:

• Per chat custom notification settings and mute
• You can now include videos in your chat backups in Settings > Chats and Calls > Chat Backup
• Mark chats as unread or read with a swipe to the right
• Better support for VoiceOver
• Directly share contacts from the Contacts app and locations from Apple Maps to WhatsApp
• Lower the data usage used during WhatsApp calls in Settings > Chats and Calls 
• Earlier messages now load automatically as you scroll chats
• Improved design for cropping photos and videos
• Location messages now use a large map thumbnail

[...]
Value:
Free
Rating: