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BBC iPlayer iOS app to offer free content downloads to subscribers

post #1 of 24
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The British Broadcasting Corporation will launch an updated iOS app for its iPlayer service, allowing subscribers to download free video content to tablets and smartphones for offline viewing at no extra charge.

iPlayer, the BBC's on-demand media streaming service, will initially launch an iOS app for Apple iDevices on Tuesday, to be followed by an Android iteration sometime in the "near future," reports The Guardian.

According to Daniel Danker, the broadcaster's general manager of on-demand programs, the iPlayer app marks a major shift in content consumption as the service previously limited streaming to portable devices via Wi-Fi, leaving downloads for desktop computers.

"This fundamentally changes one of the most annoying restrictions about viewing programs," Danker said. "It means audiences are liberated from the constraints [of online-only viewing] and it fundamentally changes what it means to go on holiday."

Danker is referring to the updated app's capability of downloading content before going on vacation instead of being tethered to a Wi-Fi hotspot at a hotel or incurring data roaming fees. Once a program is downloaded, a user has 30 days to start viewing and seven days to finish after the media file is first opened. The 30-day limit is akin to Apple's rental stipulations in iTunes, however in that system, customers are only allowed 24 hours to finish a video before it becomes unavailable.

BBC iPlayer
Development version of BBC's iPlayer iOS app. | Source: BBC


Unlike current offerings from Netflix and other content providers, the BBC's service will allow subscribers to keep wireless bills down. A 3G option is on the way for those with not concerned with data limits.

"With mobile downloads, you can now load up your mobile phone or tablet with hours and hours of BBC programs, then watch them on the road, on the tube, on a plane, without worrying about having an internet connection or running up a mobile data bill," Danker said.

iPlayer is currently offered on a number of devices, including game consoles like Nintendo's Wii and Sony's Playstation, computers and cable TV, among others.
post #2 of 24
Is this going to be available for US customers? I may be looking in the wrong place, buti haven't seen it in the US AppStore, and I've been looking for it for quite a while.
post #3 of 24

I LOVE BBC TV programming. So much better then the quality of USA fare. I doubt this app will give me access, but I'd love it if so.

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post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist View Post

Is this going to be available for US customers? I may be looking in the wrong place, buti haven't seen it in the US AppStore, and I've been looking for it for quite a while.

I hope so! Programming direct from the BBC would beat the pants off waiting for BBC America to air their good stuff!

post #5 of 24

Could this be the crack in the American studio's armor? I hope so. I'd like to see Americans to buy ala carte channels. But the ISPs need to increase their broadband speeds AND become dumb pipes, if we are to see it work.

post #6 of 24

Hopefully this will lead to it launching on the Apple TV

post #7 of 24
Great news. It can be annoying taking my non cellular iPad out and about and not having access to iPlayer.

This article does contain some errors though; an iPlayer app (streaming only) has been available for some time now and they are called programmes in the UK 1biggrin.gif

As for those of you hoping this will be available internationally: no chance. The BBC is funded by a licence fee paid by all TV owners in the UK so it wouldn't be right to give full access to other countries really. BBC Worldwide released a supscription based option for some countries (sorry I don't know which) last year - it won't have the same content as the UK domestic version but might be worth looking out for.
Edited by jonnyinscotland - 9/3/12 at 9:00pm
post #8 of 24

"Once a program is downloaded, a user has 30 days to start viewing and seven days to finish after the media file is first opened."

 

That's hardly "DRM-free"!
 

post #9 of 24
>The British Broadcasting Corporation will launch a new iOS app for its fee-based iPlayer service, allowing subscribers to download DRM-free video content to tablets and smartphones for offline viewing at no extra charge.

That seems more than a little misleading.

The iplayer service is not specifically fee based - it's covered by the BBC's funding which is paid for by all uk TV viewers, not just those who use the iPlayer. In fact, you don't even need to have paid the license fee to download or use iplayer legally unless you're watching live streamed TV, so no subscription to anything is necessary.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post

Could this be the crack in the American studio's armor? I hope so. I'd like to see Americans to buy ala carte channels. But the ISPs need to increase their broadband speeds AND become dumb pipes, if we are to see it work.

 

Nope.  This has nothing to do with the BBC America which is a separate division of the BBC.  iPlayer has never been available to the US and that isn't going to change with this announcement.  None of the US broadcasters are going to be impacted by this whatsoever.
 
post #11 of 24

i have been using this for close to a year now in Australia. it is a good app but the initial release crashed a lot on IPAD 1. yearly subscription in Australia is about AUD 89 ~ USD 92.

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post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

Nope.  This has nothing to do with the BBC America which is a separate division of the BBC.  iPlayer has never been available to the US and that isn't going to change with this announcement.  None of the US broadcasters are going to be impacted by this whatsoever.
 

BBC iPlayer Global has been available to the US and other countries since last year. Admittedly it's not all the same content as in the UK, and it's subscription based. It has however always had the option to download and watch program's offline, so I suspect the only news here is that the UK specific app is finally catching up.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2011/jul/28/bbc-iplayer-global-ipad-launch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUyItQrCzPM
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguist View Post

Is this going to be available for US customers? I may be looking in the wrong place, buti haven't seen it in the US AppStore, and I've been looking for it for quite a while.

 

I hope not. I see no reason why I, as someone forced to pay an extortionate yearly fee to the BBC for the "privilege" of being "allowed" to watch my own TV (even if not a BBC broadcast), needs to fund non-fee paying Yanks. If you want BBC in the USA, pay the £ 145 annual fee (about $230) so you too can watch BBC. No more freebees!
 
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranchero View Post

 

I hope not. I see no reason why I, as someone forced to pay an extortionate yearly fee to the BBC for the "privilege" of being "allowed" to watch my own TV (even if not a BBC broadcast), needs to fund non-fee paying Yanks. If you want BBC in the USA, pay the £ 145 annual fee (about $230) so you too can watch BBC. No more freebees!
 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nitro View Post

i have been using this for close to a year now in Australia. it is a good app but the initial release crashed a lot on IPAD 1. yearly subscription in Australia is about AUD 89 ~ USD 92.

 

If it works the same way in Australia, the app and limited content to wet your appetite is free, then as Nitro says for AUD 89 ~ USD 92/year you get a very good selection of shows from over 50 years [earliest I can find is the first Dr Who from 1963], not all BBC's shows, or every series nor current shows [which I hope settles Ranchero down a little], but a stack of content.

post #15 of 24

This is great news. I've been waiting for this feature for ages.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to Daniel Danker, the broadcaster's general manager of on-demand programs, the iPlayer app marks a major shift in content consumption as the service previously limited streaming to portable devices via Wi-Fi, leaving downloads for desktop computers.
"This fundamentally changes one of the most annoying restrictions about viewing programs," Danker said. "It means audiences are liberated from the constraints [of online-only viewing] and it fundamentally changes what it means to go on holiday."

 

Daniel Danker doesn't know his own products. The Symbian client has had this feature for about five years. I never understood why it never made its way to other platforms.

post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranchero View Post

 

I hope not. I see no reason why I, as someone forced to pay an extortionate yearly fee to the BBC for the "privilege" of being "allowed" to watch my own TV (even if not a BBC broadcast), needs to fund non-fee paying Yanks. If you want BBC in the USA, pay the £ 145 annual fee (about $230) so you too can watch BBC. No more freebees!
 

 

Please try to keep a grip. If people outside of UK was are allowed access to the app, it wouldn't cost UK licence fee payers anything; and even if it did, so what. If you're unhappy about the licence stop watching live TV and stop paying the licence.

post #17 of 24
Good work BBC. This is the way things should be, push and change the way on demand content works.

Also why not open up the catalogue worldwide for a reasonable fee? It woul help fund quicker updates to iPlayer.

Apple pay attention! Get the iPlayer on Apple TV as soon as possible!!! You're pretty much the only place that doesn't have it!
post #18 of 24

So glad they've finally added this. The BBC iPlayer is the best streaming service out there, as it has no ads, costs nothing (well, nothing over the usual TV license fee we all pay anyway), and is available on pretty much every platform, except a few minor ones.  I use the iPlayer Xbox client to watch pretty much all my TV, and I love it. 

 

I think the next step would be for them to add a Netflix style rating system, so they can start making better recommendations. 

post #19 of 24
Quote:
... it fundamentally changes what it means to go on holiday

 

I can't beleive that I read those words. Fundamentally? (Dictionary definition: in central or primary aspects) I go on holiday to do many things, but one of them is not watching BBC programmes on my iPad. I reckon anyone whose holiday is changed in its primary or central aspects by an video app really does need to put the screen down and experience some life.

 

I have an iPad and the BBC iPlayer app and enjoy both of them, BTW.

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

[it] costs nothing (well, nothing over the usual TV license fee we all pay anyway)

 

We don't all pay a fee - I have had no TV since 2003 and so have no licence and don't pay the BBC. You do not need a TV licence to watch the iPlayer as you can discover by reading the T&C on the BBC's website (Section 3.2.2 here ). Given that content is only available on iPlayer after the event (as far as I know) that's pretty difficult anyway!

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TuckerJJ View Post

BBC iPlayer Global has been available to the US and other countries since last year. Admittedly it's not all the same content as in the UK, and it's subscription based. It has however always had the option to download and watch program's offline, so I suspect the only news here is that the UK specific app is finally catching up.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2011/jul/28/bbc-iplayer-global-ipad-launch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUyItQrCzPM

Unfortunately as of this date the BBC iPlayer is still not available from the App Store in the United States in any form whatsoever.
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post #22 of 24

It may be Global, but it still isn't available in the US!

 

Diddy says: "Nope.  This has nothing to do with the BBC America which is a separate division of the BBC.  iPlayer has never been available to the US and that isn't going to change with this announcement.  None of the US broadcasters are going to be impacted by this whatsoever."

 

I rarely watch broadcast or cable TV anymore. On the other hand I would be perfectly happy to pay for the privilege of watching BBC programming on demand, on my iPad. Broadcasters be damned.

post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by andyapple View Post

Unfortunately as of this date the BBC iPlayer is still not available from the App Store in the United States in any form whatsoever.

IMHO the BEEB should make an App that accesses the vast majority of their programming on demand for those outside the UK with some sort of fee attached which is low enough to gain a large clientele (IDK, maybe $25 a year?). This would bring in fresh revenue for the BBC. I know many friends here in the USA that love British TV and I suspect it would sell in the millions priced right. The beauty is for the BBC they have zero issues with advertising complexities and licensing of anything but their own content so could go global.

Ironically I guess they'd have to block the use of such an app in Britain unless they restructured their internal licensing system. As TVs give way more and more to internet access they may well have to do this anyway in the long run.
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post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KiltedGreen View Post

 

We don't all pay a fee - I have had no TV since 2003 and so have no licence and don't pay the BBC. You do not need a TV licence to watch the iPlayer as you can discover by reading the T&C on the BBC's website (Section 3.2.2 here ). Given that content is only available on iPlayer after the event (as far as I know) that's pretty difficult anyway!

 

I'm aware of that loop hole and it obviously needs to be closed. The BBC make the best content in the world, to not pay for it just isn't cricket.

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