By Mark Wilson
After much anticipation, the BBC has released a dedicated app for accessing its iPlayer service. A dedicated app has been promised for some time and the iPad version closely resembles the desktop version of the software. Using the BBC iPlayer app it is possible to access live television and radio broadcasts as well as programs from the last seven days.
Video quality is very high, and it is perhaps for this reason that BBC iPlayer can only be used over a WiFi connection. The lack of 3G support may also be down to the fact that there is not an iPhone version of the app available, but bearing in mind the file sizes involved, the connectivity issue may be a good thing for anyone using a limit data tariff.
Travelers will undoubtedly be disappointed to discover that the app cannot be used to download programs for offline viewing — it would have been a nice touch if a couple of episodes could be scheduled for download overnight ready for viewing on the train to work.
Navigating iPlayer with the iPad’s touch screen is an absolute breeze. Swipes can be used to move between screens, and drag and drop can be used to add programs you would like to be able to access easily to a list of favorites. The program schedule is beautifully laid out making it easy to select what you would like to watch or listen to, and the overall experience is a vast improvement on the web interface.
International users will be disappointed to discover that the app is only available in the UK app store, and even UK residents will find that they will not be able to access iPlayer content when they are out of the country. A subscription based US version of the app is planned for the summer, so it remains to be seen how this will affect international program availability.
Find out more and download a copy of the app by paying a visit to the BBC iPlayer review page.