BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is an internet streaming, catchup, television and radio service from the UK’s BBC . The service is available on a wide range of devices, including mobile phones and tablets, personal computers, and smart televisions. IPlayer services delivered to UK based viewers feature no commercial advertising; Non-UK users receive adverts. The terms BBC iPlayer, iPlayer, and BBC Media Player refer to various methods for viewing / listening to the same content. Viewing live broadcasts from any UK broadcaster, or BBC TV catch-up programs, in the UK without a TV license is a criminal offense. [2]

In 2015, the BBC reported that it was moving towards playing audio and video content via open HTML5 standards in web browsers rather than via Flash or their Media Player mobile app. [3]


BBC Redux Was Developed as a proof of concept for a cross-platform, Flash Video -based streaming system. [4] : 15 BBC iPlayer left beta and went live on 25 December 2007. [5] On 25 June 2008, a new look iPlayer was launched, originally as a beta-test version alongside the earlier version. [6] The site tagline was “Catch up on the last 7 days of BBC TV & Radio”, reflecting that programs were unavailable on iPlayer after this time (with some exceptions). The BBC state on their website that this is due to copyright reasons. The marketing slogan was later changed to “Making the unmissable, unmissable”. In May 2010 the site was updated again, to include a recommendations feature and a “social makeover”. [7]

In February 2011, the BBC iPlayer was once again modified to include links to programs from other broadcasters, including ITV , ITV2 , ITV3 , ITV4 , Channel 4 , E4 , More4 , Film4 , Channel 5 , 5 * , 5USA and S4C . The function function and the channels function. When users click on a program by another broadcaster, they are redirected to the broadcaster’s catch-up service (either the ITV Hub , All 4 or My5 ). [8]

In April 2014, BBC iPlayer was once again relaunched with a new look and a different user interface. From October 2014, the BBC extended the program for programs on iPlayer from 7 days to 30 days. However, due to legal reasons, most news items are only available for 24 hours after initial broadcast (with the exception of World Business Report , Business Live , Victoria Derbyshire , Daily Politics , Politics Europe , Sunday Politicsand Newsnight ). [9] Some archive programming is available for the long term, such as Timewatch.

Specific applications for mobile platforms were launched in February 2011. These were initially for iOS and Android devices, where the launch would have the biggest impact. [10]


The original iPlayer service was launched in October 2005, undergoing a five-month broadband users until February 28, 2006. BBC license-fee payers, because no finished Product had been released after four years of development. [11] A new, improved iPlayer service, which was started on 15 November 2006. At various times during its development, iPlayer was known as the Integrated Media Player (iMP), [12] [13] Interactive Media Player, [14] and MyBBCPlayer. [15]

The iPlayer received the approval of the BBC Trust on 30 April 2007, and an open beta for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 was launched at midnight on 27 July 2007, where it was announced that only a fixed number of people would be able to sign Up for the service, with a controlled increase in users over the summer. [16] The BBC had been criticized for saying that the iPlayer would ‘launch’ on 27 July 2007, when it was simply offered an extension of the beta to an open beta, admitting more users in a controlled manner. [17] This was done to allow British ISPs and the BBC to gauge the effect of the iPlayer traffic on the Internet within the UK.

The open beta incorporated a media player , an electronic program guides (EPG) and specially designed download customer , and allowed the download of BBC Television content by computers assigned to a United Kingdom-based IP address , for use up to thirty days after broadcast. However, it was only available to users of Windows XP.

On 16 October 2007, the BBC announced a strategic relationship with Adobe , which would bring a limited, streaming-only version of the iPlayer to Mac and Linux users, and Windows users who can not use iPlayer download service, such As Windows 9x users. [21] The streaming service was launched on 13 December 2007. [22] Most programs can be viewed for up to seven days after broadcast, unlike the thirty days provided by the download service. [22]

Since January 2008, iPlayer has supported Mozilla Firefox under the Microsoft Windows platform for downloading content. [23]

Before the iPlayer had been launched, it was announced that the BBC, alongside ITV and Channel 4 , were intending to launch a new video on demand platform, provisionally named Kangaroo . It was intended that Kangaroo would complement the video on demand which these channels were already offering, including the iPlayer, by making programs available once their “catch up” period expires. [24] The Kangaroo project was eventually abandoned after being blocked by the Competition Commission early in 2009.

Following a deal entre les BBC and cable television provider Virgin Media , the iPlayer service was made available through the provider’s on-demand service. [25] The cable service launched on 30 April 2008, [26] and keeps the look and feel of the BBC iPlayer program. [26]

In response to a Freedom of Information Act , the BBC reported that as of April 8, 2008 the iPlayer had so far cost £ 6 million to develop. [27]

On 23 August 2008, a new feature, Series Stacking , was announced. [28] This feature started being rolled out on 13 September 2008, and allowed viewers to watch previous programs from selected series until later, with a limit of up to thirteen weeks after first broadcast. [29] Not all programs will form part of the stack, however. The BBC Trust permitted 15% of content to be offered as part of the stacking service; Soaps, news bulletins and review-based programs will not be stacked, nor programs containing material of a legal nature, such as Crimewatch .

On December 19, 2008, the BBC released, as part of the iPlayer Labs feature, iPlayer Desktop for OS X and Linux operating systems. P2P based distribution model on HTTP download model. [30] [31] [32] [33]

On 20 April 2009, the BBC incorporated high-definition streams and downloads of some content on the iPlayer. There are plans to roll out the HD streams to devices such as the Virgin Set Top Box, but no date has been set. An iPlayer application for the PlayStation 3 was announced by Sony in August 2009 and was released on 1 September 2009 along with the Firmware 3.0 update to coincide with the launch of the slimline PlayStation 3. [34]

Another version of iPlayer was released in late 2009 as a ‘channel’ for the Nintendo Wii . BBC shows a lot about the BBC shows up to seven days after their release on television.

On July 28, 2011, BBC Worldwide released an international version of the iPlayer. [35]

Speaking in 2012, Ralph Rivera, BBC Director of Future Media, said that “In the same way as the BBC has a role in making sure it is healthy TV ecosystem, the BBC should be playing the same sort of role in the digital sector It’s part of why we have a license fee. ” [36]

On 26 September 2013 BBC iPlayer Desktop was replaced by BBC iPlayer Downloads, which was no longer based on Adobe AIR. On the same date the BBC stopped making programs available to download in WMV format. [37] [38]

The BBC discontinued the RSS feed for iPlayer TV content in October 2014. [39] This stopped some third-party tools such as the get_iplayer content downloader from working. [40] In March 2016 an unofficial site restored access to this information. [41]

In September 2015 Tony Hall ‘s “open BBC” strategy, coming in in order to budget cuts across the BBC that will require it to discontinue or factor some of its services, the BBC planned to offer third – Party content through iPlayer in the future, as well as a spin-off, iPlay, which would be tailored towards children’s content. [42] [43]

In 2016 It was annoncé que la BBC iPlayer Would WITHDRAW from the ranks of a web-enabled Freesat and Freeview TVs and set-top boxes dating from entre 2010 and 2014. Including Sony, Humax and Grundigproducts. The BBC cited the incompatibility of MHEG encoding on iPlayer V2 with these devices, and said that upgrade would not be cost-effective. The end-of-life iPlayer V2 was withdrawn in September 2016, after which BBC iPlayer functionality was no longer supported on those receivers, although it continued to be available on newer equipment. [44]

Most streamed shows per-year

year Episode Original air date Views (millions) Total views for whole year
2011 Top Gear : ” India Special “ 28 December 2011 1.7 1.94 billion [45]
2012 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony 27 July 2012 3.3 2.32 billion [46]
2013 Top Gear : “Africa Special”, part 1 3 March 2013 3.42 3.1 billion [47]
2014 Sherlock : ” The Empty Hearse “ 1 January 2014 4.2 3.5 billion [48]

Television license requirements

Prior to September 2016, a television license was not required to either broadcast or broadcast programs from iPlayer which had already been broadcast. However, a television license was still required in order to watch live content. In August 2016, the law was amended to remove this loophole. Effective 1 September 2016, all users must have a television license in order to watch BBC television content on iPlayer, regardless of whether it is live or on-demand. [49]

In September 2016, the BBC also announced that users would eventually be required to register or sign in with a free BBC account to use the service. [50] In May 2017, iPlayer began to encourage users to login with the message “You’ll soon need to sign in to watch” on the website homepage. Media Licensing Whilst using iPhone iPlayer. The BBC iPlayer Help page that states that “BBC iPlayer” and “BBC iPlayer” will be shared with TV Licensing. [2] Andrew Scott, launch director of the ongoing myBBC initiative (which includes rollout of BBC accounts) BBC and helping you get the best out of it “; It was announced that accounts would be used for personalized recommendations, and the ability to continue watching a program on one device from where it was left off on another. However, Scott did not use iPlayer. [51] [52] [53] And the ability to continue watching a program on one device from where it was left off on another. However, Scott did not use iPlayer. [51] [52] [53] And the ability to continue watching a program on one device from where it was left off on another. However, Scott did not use iPlayer. [51] [52] [53]

Computer platforms

‘IPlayer 1.0’

Download service

One of the key features of the original iPlayer download service was the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to enable the distribution of large video files (ie TV programs) to scale effectively. Once downloaded, the content was only playable within the iPlayer itself or Windows Media Player 10 or 11, and subject to digital rights management .

In December 2008 the BBC moved to an Adobe AIR -based client that downloaded content via HTTP rather than P2P. The new system replaced the Windows DRM system with Adobe’s own. DRM software prevents it being directly copied to another medium (eg another computer or CD-ROM), and allowed the BBC to control how long the programs remain watchable. Programs were available for download for seven days following broadcast. Once a program is downloaded a user had thirty days to start watching it; After the show, the program was available for the next seven days. Using the online streaming service most programs became unavailable from the website after 7 days.

There was criticism leveled at the iPlayer’s use of KService from Kontiki , the peer-to-peer application which continued to use users’ bandwidth even after the iPlayer was shut down. [54] Because of this, users may have been charged by their Internet service provider for either the “fair use” policy. [55] However, the Kontiki P2P system was not used after the new customer was introduced in December 2008. [33]

The client offered an electronic program guide (EPG) with listings for both the previous seven and next seven days’ programs; Selecting a program which has already been downloaded. It was not possible to schedule a series to be automatically downloaded when the next episode becames available. [56] dead link ]

Online streaming service

The BBC’s streaming version of iPlayer, was launched on 13 December 2007. [57] The BBC made use of the Christmas period to trumpet the new service with the tagline ‘Making the unmissable … unmissable’, and the Service cam out of beta on 25 December 2007. [5] Also, seasonal specials were followed routinely throughout the Christmas week with iPlayer plug-ins. [58] The streaming version of iPlayer offered replays of programs broadcast on all national and S4C BBC TV channels during the last seven days. [59] [59] Due to licensing agreements, all international and some privately-produced TV shows and movies are not available on iPlayer. [60]

‘IPlayer 2.0’

On June 25, 2008, the BBC announced that they had been developed a new version of the iPlayer based on user feedback – it was then called “BBC iPlayer 2.0”. [61] iPlayer with the radio iPlayer, schedules of programs due to be on the iPlayer, automatic resumption of the last program watched, an increase in the size of the screen by 25% to 640 pixels wide, RSS feeds of iPlayer data, and a “Yesterday’s TV” function. [61] The beta ran alongside the existing site until July 3, 2008, when a new version replaced it. [62] Later versions have implemented an option of streaming videos in high quality in H.264 . A special version of BBC iPlayer was launched 19 December 2008. [63] It was designed for children aged 6 to 12, allowing them to choose from such popular TV series such as Blue Peter , MI High , Sarah Jane Adventures and many more (non-children’s programming is restricted). [63]

BBC iPlayer Desktop Manager

At the end of 2008, the new BBC iPlayer Desktop (replacement for Download Manager) and other “BBC iPlayer Labs” features and adjustable video windows and user feedback options. In March 2009, the BBC launched a 1500 kbit / s minimum connection.

On 1 April 2010, this Desktop Manager was updated to version 1.5.15695.18135. [64] The improvement of CPU usage in full screen: 20% to 40% improvement; Videos that start to download in the UK should be able to complete downloading abroad; And update to use Adobe Integrated Runtime AIR 1.5.3 which has improved reliability, compatibility and security. [64]

‘IPlayer 3.0’

The iPlayer team released the next generation of the iPlayer, calling it the iPlayer 3.0 release, on 6 September 2010. It brings integration with various social networking sites to the TV on-demand service, through deals with Facebook, Twitter, Reddit , Delicious , Digg , StumbleUpon . [65]

BBC ID was also added to allow users to access their iPlayer settings from a variety of devices and favorite shows so the users get notified when new episodes of their favorite shows are available.

The only other feature of the new-look iPlayer discussed was a new embeddable video player, being rolled out across the whole of the BBC’s online presence. On 19 June 2012 on the live TV channels it added a rewind to start button.

The BBC reported iPlayer users had technical problems with the release of Adobe AIR 3.5, [66] and another with Google Chrome . [67]

IPlayer Downloads

The iPlayer Desktop application was replaced with the simpler iPlayer Downloads application, from which some features were dropped, for example live streaming.

‘The New BBC iPlayer’

On 11 March 2014, the BBC introduced a new version of their BBC iPlayer service called ‘The New BBC iPlayer’. [68] This new version includes a new user interface, and uses the BBC’s new ‘responsive design,’ which means iPlayer can be used on multiple different sizes without building separate versions. The BBC websites now use the BBC web site. The BBC ID is still used to track favorites across the site, but the 42% Of visitors who arrive at the iPlayer service without a particular program in mind. [68] The new pop-out radio player has removed the option to select either high or low bit-rate which may impact users with a data download cap. It does not longer restore the volume level or play from the previous session.

BBC iPlayer introduced an Ultra HD trial allowing users with an Ultra HD device to watch with greater picture detail. [69] In December 2016 to January 2017 this is being used to show a 4-minute clip of Planet Earth II in 4K. [70]

In early 2016, regional opt-outs for 15 regions could be watched live. [71]

Television platforms


In the second half of 2010, 3view enabled HD iPlayer on its connected Digital terrestrial TV boxes allowing owners to access iPlayer content in HD via the box.

BT Vision

On 27 May 2008, BT began to charge BT Vision customers £ 3 per month for BBC Replay watching , a cut down version of iPlayer offering a more limited 30 hours of BBC programming per week. [72] A spokesman for BBC on demand because of “technical issues”. [73] A BBC spokesman said: “In line with other TV platforms where BBC programs are made available on demand, the BBC requires that all public service content should be accessible via the lowest cost subscription. . ”

From 1 April 2009, the Replay package was included in all of BT Vision’s Value Packs but it was available as a separate, £ 2.93 per month, package to non-subscribers. [74]

On 11 November 2010, the BBC and BT announced plans to bring the full BBC iPlayer package to BT Vision, replacing the BBC on BT Vision’s 50-hour “TV Replay” package. [75] BT introduced BBC iPlayer in a phased release, starting in early December 2010, with all BT Vision customers able to access the service on channel 990 by 22 June 2011. [76 ]

Digital media receivers

BBC iPlayer downloaded TV programs can be streamed to televisions via the NetGear EVA8000 and Linksys DMA2200 digital media receivers , through PCs running Windows XP or Vista , with Windows Media Centerinstalled. [78]


On 23 July 2009 the first subscription-free digital terrestrial device to include UK retailers. The FetchTV Smartbox connects to any broadband connection and gives access to the BBC iPlayer and is a Freeview + PVR.

BBC Future Media and Technology. BBC Future Media and Technology. The Vision of the BBC Trust: The Vision of the BBC Trust. On 22 December 2009 the BBC Trust rejected FetchTV’s request to release the product. [79] The Trust’s Finance and Compliance Committee (FCC) found that the BBC had given a reasonable set of arguments as to why IP should not be allowed to go ahead with its self-build product.

The Trust FCC also rescinded new guidelines introduced by the BBC in October 2009 The Trust for approval before publication.


On November 2, 2009, it was announced that a beta release of BBC iPlayer for Freesat would be released on 7 December 2009 to a limited number of Freesat viewers. [80] [81] [82] On 21 December 2009, iPlayer was released on a soft launch to Freesat viewers with Humax Foxsat HD receivers only, with an official release on 11 January 2010. [83] [84] It is the Final beta version of iPlayer, available via the red button on interactive 7001. On January 20, 2010, Sony released software update 1.630SA to enable BBC iPlayer on all of their Freesat integrated televisions. [85]

Harvard International receivers released on 31 March 2010, iPlayer was added to TechniSat receivers, with an update . [86] Freesat receivers sold under the Bush , Goodmansand Grundig brands. Harvard International is now offering a replacement high definition receiver to anyone affected. [87] Panasonic had had to add iPlayer to all of its devices by October 2010, [88] but support was only extended to the 2008 range in September 2011. [89] LG Freesat LF7700 Freesat Freesat Freesat Freesat Freesat Freesat Freesat Freesat Freesat Freesat Freesat Freesat [90] On 16 December 2010, BBC iPlayer was assigned to Freesat channel 901, in addition to access via the BBC Red Button . [91]


On May 4, 2009, the new Managing Director of Freeview , Ilse Howling, announced expectations that iPlayer-enabled Freeview boxes would be available in 2009. [92] From 1 April 2011, all new Freeview HD receiver products must include MHEG Interaction Channel IC) as part of D-Book 6.2.1 . [93] The move with the standard MHEG-5 linking iPlayer application to be offered from 7 April via the red button on all BBC channels to Freeview HD certified devices.


On 10 February 2012, Roku launched their streaming devices in the UK for the first time, with BBC iPlayer available from launch. [94] On 26 July 2013, Now TV released a Now TV-branded Roku streaming box, including the BBC iPlayer app. [95]


On 30 January 2012, It was annoncé BBC iPlayer That Would Be added to Sky ‘s On Demand service [96] arriving is 30 October 2012. [97] The launch Reduced the amount paid by the BBC for ict carriage is up by Sky To 30%, following the introduction of a clause in BSkyB’s Published Price List which reduces the amount paid by a public service broadcaster when one of its channels offers on programming to Sky receivers. [98] BBC iPlayer via Sky requires a subscription to Sky TV channels or to Sky + and Sky + HD boxes with an internet connection. [99]

Televisions and Blu-ray players

In December 2009, Cello Electronics released the Marks & Spencer branded iViewer TV. [100] The BBC iPlayer HD was not available until 2010.

On 11 January 2010, the BBC announced that BBC iPlayer would be built directly into TVs that would be widely available in the UK within months. [101] Samsung Electronics became the first major manufacturer to officially announce that its televisions would be updated to include full access to the iPlayer. A BBC iPlayer app is available to download from Samsung Apps for Samsung Smart TV .

Sony added BBC iPlayer to its BRAVIA Internet Video service, included in its 2010 range of televisions and Blu-ray players. [102] On 9 September 2010, iPlayer was added to Sony’s BRAVIA television, having previously only been on Blu-ray players. [103] Televisions needed a firmware update which could be upgraded over the internet or downloaded onto a USB flash drive for direct loading to the TV. At the time of launch BBC HD is not available, but high quality video is available on all programs.

Virgin Media

On 30 April 2008 the iPlayer service was fed directly to Virgin Media’s 3.4m digital cable TV customers as part of the company’s video-on-demand service. Pressing the ‘red button’ while watching a BBC channel on TV will bring up the iPlayer service without the user having access to the web. [104]

On 29 May 2008 Virgin Media successfully integrated iPlayer with the Virgin Media electronic program guide. Most BBC shows are now listed alongside other VOD content in Virgin’s Catch Up TV section, and through the red button while viewing a BBC channel. There is no charge for watching BBC shows through the iPlayer on Virgin Media. [105]

As of July 21, 2008, iPlayer on Virgin Media had received 10.5 million views since its official launch on 1 June 2008. [106] On 26 September 2008 it was revealed that one of all iPlayer programs were accessed through Virgin Media . [107]

On 1 May 2009, the BBC and Virgin Media announced the launch of HD content via BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media’s TV platform, including Robin Hood , Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and Later … with Jools Holland . [108]

On 2 March 2011, Virgin released an iPlayer application for their TiVo digital video recorder. Unlike the previous implementation, the application streams over the internet rather than utilising Virgin’s video-on-demand service, to comply with the BBC’s then proposed syndication policy.[109] The change also allows an increase in the amount of programmes available, from around 300 to 700 hours on average, bringing Virgin into line with the iPlayer on connected TV devices. At the same time, Virgin Media were also forced to remove direct access to BBC content on TiVo, meaning that instead of being able to access BBC content through its EPG, Virgin TiVo users instead had to go through the Apps and Games area or press the Red Button from a BBC channel.[110] This access was reimplemented with the release of TiVo update 15.2 in late 2011, which integrated BBC iPlayer once again into the TiVo search and EPG after new guidelines on syndicated content were published by the BBC Trust.


BBC iPlayer was one of four service available at the launch of YouView in July 2012. At launch the BBC iPlayer app contained options to resume watching recent programmes, access favourites, browse the most popular shows, find similar programmes or more episodes, included integrated search and was the only service to feature HD video.[111]

Game consoles

PlayStation 3

Soon after the Wii release, several unofficial PlayStation 3 iPlayer proxy sites arose that used JavaScript to replace the UA string. On 2 December 2008, the BBC provided an official iPlayer application widget for the PS3.[112] Shortly after release, the PS3 accounted for 6% of all iPlayer traffic, making it the third most popular platform used to access the service behind personal computers (85%) and mobile phones and iPods (7%).[113] By January 2010, PS3 usage had risen to 8%,[114] and by November 2010, over 6 million people accessed the iPlayer through the PlayStation 3.[115]

In September 2009, the PS3 iPlayer was updated with H.264 playback and full screen content.[116] Future plans for the PS3 iPlayer include features from iPlayer V3 scheduled for late 2010.[117] On 8 August 2011, the application was updated and now includes access to BBC HD, however most content remains unavailable to PS3 users due to DRM restrictions.[118]

PlayStation 4

In October 2013, Sony confirmed that the PlayStation 4 would have the BBC iPlayer app. Additionally, they announced that BBC iPlayer would continue to be free to access and would not be part of the PlayStation Plus subscription service.[119]


On 9 April 2008, the BBC iPlayer was made available to stream video content on the Wii video game console via the Internet Channel.[120][121] This was enabled by a recoding of the iPlayer to use Flash 7 rather than Flash 9. However, the Autumn 2009 update to the Wii’s Internet Channel resulted in the iPlayer’s no longer working on updated consoles.[122] A BBC iPlayer in the form of a dedicated Wii channel was launched on 18 November 2009.[123] The BBC iPlayer Channel is free to download from the Wii Shop Channel; on 10 February 2015 the BBC announced on their website that they had removed BBC iPlayer from the Wii Shop Channel and terminated the service on the Wii. The BBC cited their policies in resource management as the reason.[124]

Wii U

BBC confirmed [125] that this application was set to be released on Nintendo’s Wii U at launch, but due to some issue, it was delayed. On January 2014, BBC stated that this application is set to appear soon on Wii U.[citation needed] On 11 December 2014, Senior product manager Peter Lasko of BBC stated that they hope this application will come to Wii U in early 2015.[126] Without prior notice, however, the app was eventually released for the Nintendo eShop on the Wii U by 28 May 2015.[127]

On 31 August 2016, only about 15 months after launch, the BBC iPlayer was de-listed from the Nintendo eShop, and the BBC later confirmed terminating the service by 16 January 2017 for those who already downloaded the app on the Wii U. The BBC cited the end in the licence agreement between them and Nintendo UK as the reason.[128]

Xbox 360

The BBC and Microsoft had been unable to reach a deal to add the iPlayer to the Xbox 360 for a number of years, because Microsoft’s strategy of charging for all content on its Xbox Live platform is incompatible with the BBC’s public service remit.[129] Microsoft wanted to ensure that only those paying for Xbox Live Gold accounts could access its added content services. The BBC is not legally allowed to charge the UK public for access to the iPlayer, as the access charges for it are included in the BBC licence fee already.

In October 2011, it was announced that the BBC content would be made available to all Xbox Live members in the UK, including Xbox Live Free members.[130] On 20 March 2012, BBC iPlayer became available on Xbox Live; the service includes Kinect functionality.[131]

Xbox One

In October 2013, Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox One would have the BBC iPlayer app.[132] However, despite Microsoft’s claim that the BBC iPlayer app would be available for Xbox One from launch day in the UK, it was not. The BBC commented in December 2013, saying: “BBC iPlayer is already available to audiences on over 1,000 devices and platforms in the UK. Whilst we are working to bring BBC iPlayer to Xbox One in the future, we have no further details to share at this time.”[133]

In January 2014, a report by a BBC programmer announced that an issue with the Kinect sensor had caused the app’s delay. He added that all Xbox One apps have to offer gesture and voice controls, as well as Snap features and media achievements.[134] In August 2014, the BBC reported on its blog that they are aiming to released BBC iPlayer on Xbox One by the end of 2014.[135]

On 4 December 2014 BBC iPlayer was released.[136]

Mobile platforms

Android devices

On 23 June 2010, after many months of complaints from Android users, BBC iPlayer officially announced support for the Android platform. Users can navigate to the usual BBC iPlayer website, and a mobile website is displayed. As a result of the BBC’s decision to use Adobe Flash Player to handle video playback for Android devices on this website, users must be using Android 2.2 or later[137] (the earliest Android version supported by Flash Player).

There was also an unofficial but functional application for the Google Android platform called myPlayer but all BBC content was removed in November 2010 as the service was alleged to be in breach of the BBC terms of use.[138] Another such application – beebPlayer – was removed from the market in May 2010 at the BBC’s request.[139]

On 8 February 2011 the BBC announced that Android, alongside the iPad, would be amongst the first two platforms to receive a native iPlayer application.[140] The application was made available via the Android Market to UK users, but as with the earlier mobile website, the application uses Adobe’s Flash Player for video playback and as a result is only available for devices running Android 2.2 to 4.0 since Android 4.1 does not support Flash Player.

On 4 September 2012 the BBC posted on their internet blog that Android users would soon be able to download programs using the BBC iPlayer app.[141]

On 19 September 2012 the BBC reported that an Adobe AIR based iPlayer application had been developed for Android 4.1, as well as earlier versions. The application, named BBC Media Player, is intended to permit continued iPlayer support for the Android platform.[142]

BlackBerry devices

On 5 November 2010, an official BBC iPlayer app that allows users to stream live television and radio, and catch-up on previously aired content became available for download on BlackBerry OS 5.0 (and higher) devices.[143] A Wi-Fi connection is needed for an “optimal viewing experience” but 3 and Vodafone are allowing it run on their 3G networks.

iOS devices

On 7 March 2008, a beta version for Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, and later iPad) was released, allowing streaming over a Wi-Fi connection. An update released on 12 December 2011 allowed streaming over 3G.[144] On 4 September 2012, an update provided the ability to download programmes for up to 30 days, with a seven-day viewing window.[145] The EDGE connectivity on the iPhone, however, is not supported, as it is too slow for streaming video.[146][147]

Non-iPhone users were found to be watching and downloading streams intended for iPhone users allowing them to play them on alternative devices. The BBC modified the iPlayer service on 13 March 2008 to prevent this. [148] Through the month of June 2008 further methods were discovered by iPlayer users to watch and download streams intended for iPhones. A Ruby[149] hole was followed by the BBC introducing XOR encryption on parts of the downloaded files if a genuine iPhone was not detected.

The BBC introduced specially crafted web bugs, referrer checks and download chunk limits, such that only devices exhibiting this behaviour, i.e. a genuine iPhone handset, would be able to stream the video content. A cycle of updates and reverse engineering has followed such that all the various streams, both for the iPhone and flash streaming service, are now able to be downloaded without the need for decryption or DRM circumvention. This has been made possible by various software which can effectively simulate a RTMP flash client or an iPhone. As of early December 2010 the iPhone mp3 access has been changed to use https. The server checks the client’s certificate and only accepts connections for those issued to Apple. This change to the protocol not only prevents access to non Apple devices but also disables use by a number of early generation iPod Touch devices.

On 28 July 2011, BBC Worldwide released an international version of the iPlayer for the iPad.[35] A UK version of the iPlayer for iPad app was also launched, however this version only allowed streaming video, and did not allow any offline viewing. In December 2011 the iPlayer app was extended to work with the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Nokia N96 phone

On 18 September 2008, the BBC announced that a version will become available to the Nokia N96 mobile phone as a download service to allow viewers to watch programmes even when they are out of reach of Wi-Fi or 3G networks.[150][151] The launch date was set of 1 October 2008.

Shortly after on 9 September 2008, even before the BBC Nokia N96 download service had gone live, a method was published to independently download and play the iPlayer N96 3GP stream on other mobiles, Linux and Mac OS.[152]

Windows Phone

BBC Released BBC iPlayer app on Windows Phone 8 devices on 15 May 2013 as a mobile wrapper UI. Available on the Windows Phone Store.[153]

Additional mobile devices

In early December 2008, iPlayer was updated to include streaming radio and television, and extended to a variety of handsets[154] including Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N8, Samsung Omnia, Sony Ericsson C905, Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1, and Sony Ericsson W995.[citation needed]

BBC Store

BBC Store codenamed Project Barcelona will launch in the UK and will open the archive to consumers and allow them to buy a show and download it. BBC Store has been approved by the BBC Trust in 2014 and the store is expected to launch sometime in 2015.[155] It will initially be hosted on dedicated website but will later be integrated with BBC iPlayer.[156]

Reception and adoption

Before the launch in December 2007, the BBC had hoped the service would reach half a million users in its first six months.[157] This turned out to be a gross underestimate, as 3.5 million programmes were streamed or downloaded in the first three weeks alone.[158] The Guardian described these figures as “remarkably promising”.[159]

In its first year, 2008, growth continued at an impressive rate. By April, the iPlayer accounted for around five percent of all UK Internet traffic,[160] and had approximately five million page views per day by June.[161] In December, it was announced that more than 180 million programmes have been watched on iPlayer since its release.[162] During the BAFTAs in May, the iPlayer won the “Interactive Innovation Service/Platform” Award, beating Channel 4’s ‘Big Art Mob’ and the Bebo ‘Open Media Platform’.[163] The streaming of programmes forms the lion’s share of the success, outnumbering downloads eight to one in January 2008,[164] and 97:3 in October 2009.[165]

In the month of October 2009, it was revealed that the site experienced 70 million requests and transferred seven petabytes of data.[165] Television formed about two thirds of all requests, with radio making up the rest.[165] Most TV was streamed from pre-recorded footage, whereas live streaming was preferred of radio.[165] Eighty-five percent of requests were from computers, with much of the rest coming from iPods, iPhones and PS3s (from a total of 15 platforms).[165] The most popular TV programme of 2009 was Top Gear,[166] and the most popular radio was that reporting The Ashes.[167]

The success of iPlayer may be down to a ” long tail ” effect, with users seeking out niche programs; Programs on digital channels are doing remarkably well. [159] However, this is not the case. [159]

The demands of the iPlayer have put some of the concern and criticism from UK ISPs due to the added bandwidth the service will need. [168] Several ISPs, notably Tiscali, have called on the BBC to partially fund upgrades to cope with iPlayer traffic. The BBC responded by saying that the iPlayer was driving demand for broadband subscriptions. [169]

By May 2010, the site was getting 123 million monthly play requests. [170] The service was being used by 40 per cent of online adults in the UK by March 2012. [36]

DRM criticism

During the 2005 and 2006 iPlayer trials, the digital rights management (DRM) system was used on Microsoft Windows Media DRM , which led to concerns about cross-platform availability, as this technology is available only for Windows XP . However, some users have managed to get it working with compatibility options in Microsoft’s Windows Vista . [171] The BBC emphasizes that it has a commitment to platform neutrality and a remedy to make its content as widely available as possible, [172] and that while the initial trial used a Microsoft-based technology, they are constantly looking for New technologies which would allow them to relax the restriction: Ashley Highfield , then BBC’s director of Future Media and Technology, explained that “we have always started with the platform that reaches the most number of people and then rolled it out from there.” They also point out that all of the content delivered through the iPlayer will be subject to DRM – live streaming content, for instance, may not need the same level of control, presumably implying that players for OS X and Linuxsystems could be developed with A restricted range of content. However, a project was initiated to enable the iPlayer to work with other platforms via the Wine project. [173] Streaming via the BBC iPlayer website is now available in all browsers supporting Adobe Flash. Also, iPlayer Desktop,

On 14 August 2007, the Free Software Foundation staged a demonstration outside BBC Television Center . [174] The FSF’s Peter T. Brown criticized the BBC for what it was called a break from previous tradition: the insistence that for the first time BBC viewers would be forced to use proprietary technology to watch BBC programs.

On February 18, 2010, the BBC updated iPlayer with an SWF verification layer which attempts to close the door on real-time implementations of Real Time Messaging Protocol streaming. [175] The attempt was unsuccessful, with most existing open source applications remaining capable of playing or downloading RTMP content from the iPlayer.

Overseas availability

BBC TV productions are paid for by the UK television license fee and rights agreements with third parties. Thus, all BBC iPlayer TV programs are available from IP addresses allocated to the UK only, as of 2011 . However, most radio programs may be accessed globally, with the exception of a few programs, mainly sports broadcasts, which are affected by rights issues.

An international version of the iPlayer was launched on 28 July 2011 in eleven western European countries, [35] after receiving the approval of the BBC Trust in November 2010. [176] The international iPlayer takes the form of an iPad application which offers a limited The amount of free content, supported by pre-roll ads and sponsorship, but its core business model is subscription (subscription costs approximately £ 5.00 per month). The global iPlayer app includes some features that are not in the UK version, including the ability to stream over 3G as well as Wi-Fi , and a mobile phone device for offline viewing. At launch 1,500 hours of content was made available, Of which 60% had been produced and commissioned by the BBC, while 30% had been commissioned by the BBC but produced by independents. The other 10% was entirely non-BBC content, including ITV’s Primeval , and Channel 4’s The Naked Chef and Misfits . Launches in Australia and Canada is a great place to stay.

Although US was already anticipated in 2011, an American launch date was never announced. Released from the summer of 2012, the American cable providers threatened to drop BBC America if the iPlayer, which duplicates much of the content on the cable channel, were made available in the US market. Tessa Matchett said: “The United States is a very complex media market. Currently, we have a very successful cable channel in BBC America, and we’re Looking into what options we have to roll out additional platforms in that country. ” [177] In May 2015, it was announced that the global iPlayer service would be discontinued. [178]

In early 2016, BBC Worldwide launched a version of the iPlayer service in Singapore, rebranded as BBC Player. BBC channels package in Singapore. The service was extended into Malaysia in 2017, however the service can only be accessed by UniFi subscribers who have signed up for the Jumbo pack on Hypp.TV. Access for Streamyx subscribers with the same Hypp.TV package was added a few months later.

In March 2017, BBC Worldwide, as share of a joint venture with ITV plc, and BBC America co-owner AMC Networks , a new US lancé subscription video-on-demand services Known As Britbox . [179] [180]


In 2008, the BBC’s April Fools’ joke was a press release announcing the availability of the iPlayer on a specialized toaster, supposedly for users to watch breakfast television. [181]

The volume control of the iPlayer goes up to 11, apparently a nod to a scene that amplifies the volume that controls the emergence of the mockumentary rock. This Is Spinal Tap (1984). [182]

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