Monday, December 12, 2011

The BBC updates its iPlayer apps for iPhone and iPad; promises new Android version in the future

The BBC updated its iPlayer apps for the iPhone and iPad. Both apps are available in the U.K. App Store. There continues to be no equivalent app for the U.S. App Store.

The newly updated app introduces some very important features. First, the app becomes universal, bring streaming television to the iPhone and iPod touch. Second, the app incorporates AirPlay which will allow users to watch their favorite programs on their TVs by streaming the content to an Apple TV. Finally, the app now allows for 3G streaming, allowing users to watch programming while on the go.
"We have developed a neat live channel switcher so you can easily flick between channels just like on your TV or radio," wrote David Madden on the BBC's Internet Blog.

"If you want to see what else is on right now just tap on the ‘Live Channels’ button while you watch. So, if I’m watching BBC One on my phone and want to see what’s on BBC Two, I just tap on ‘Live Channels’ to switch over. It’s an easy way to see what’s on now and flip over," Madden wrote online today.

The BBC is still working on an Android equivalent and promised to release the new app early next year. In the meantime, the older Android app continues to allow for streaming through WiFi-only.

Thanks to the tangled broadcast rights in the U.S., there continues to be no U.S. BBC iPlayer app (which is too bad since my daughter is a huge Doctor Who fan).

Earlier this year Luke Bradley-Jones, managing director, explained to The Guardian what is holding up a U.S. app.

"The rights picture for the US is a little bit more complicated," said Bradley-Jones. "The nature of the agreements with our rights partners are different, and the windows across our existing business are older than they are in Europe. From our side, we have to jump through a few more of those commercial and legal hoops. We could have launched in the US with a product this week, but there would have been a few too many missing parts."

While apps released for the BBC are listed in the App Store under "BBC Worldwide" the apps in the U.K. App Store are available under the name "Media Applications Technologies Limited".