Posts Tagged ‘bbc’

BBC iPlayer app for Android now available on the Market

February 10, 2011
bbc iplayer android screenshot

The iPlayer app is quite beautiful

Yes, it’s out! Do a search for iPlayer on the Market and you’ll find the official BBC Android version waiting for you.

Just to let you know there is Live TV, Live Radio and 3 quality settings ranging from 400kbps to 800kbps.

So, what is version 1.0 of the iPlayer app like? Well I’ve been playing around with it quite a bit today and although there is still a lot of work to be done, it’s a good start.

You can tell the app is polished. Open it up and you get the BBC “feel”. The main screen of the app shows the featured shows and a quick swipe to the right shows you the current most popular titles. One more swipe right and you get to see videos that have been recommended to you – presumably from data gathered by other programmes you have watched.

A single click on any programme and you are taken to a screen with the programme information, running time and the ability to Share or add to your favourites. Press play and you’ll be taken to the full-screen horizontal mode. If you press your back button, the video will shrink and the app displays the summary page of the programme once more whilst still playing the video. It is then possible to get back into full-screen by tapping on the video. This isn’t a smooth and fluid process and you will notice the video chop and pause when it rotates but it’s still nice to have it there.

The option to view videos by category and channel is also available from the not-so-obvious “menu” button at the top of the screen. This is also where you get to access Live TV. Live TV seems to work well, although the quality obviously isn’t as good as pre-aired programmes, it’s still good enough to watch on-the-go. I say on-the-go but you can’t actually use your 3G connection to stream programmes – only to browse. This might be added in a later version but from experience on the Symbian version, I doubt it very much.

bbc iplayer android download marketThe main problem I have seen with the streaming of videos is the sync between the audio and the video. If you start a programme and watch it all the way through the sync is normally OK. However, if you skip to different parts of a stream then the sync can go way out – this is obviously something the BBC need to fix in the next app update.

The Radio functions all work well, there is also live streaming available via the sneaky “menu” button at the top of the screen. It’s certainly nice to have digital radio in your pocket even if it is only available via WiFi.

So, a good start for the BBC iPlayer app and it’ll be interesting to see how it improves over the next month or two. Will we see HD streaming to our phones? Will we be able to save TV or radio shows for later viewing/listening? It’s all possible but we’ll have to wait and see what the BBC bring to us.

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BBC iPlayer App for Android coming this week

February 9, 2011

iplayer android app bbcAt long long last, the BBC have put some of iur TV License fee to good use. There is an Android iPlayer app being released by the end of the week (possibly tomorrow).

So why will this be better than visiting the mobile version of the site? Well it should allow downloading of content and also higher quality versions of shows depending on the handset you are using.

BBC have said the iPlayer app will require a WiFi connection to stream content. 3G streaming will not be supported but browsing via 3G will.

The doors are closed on the beebPlayer app

May 30, 2010

beebPlayerDave Johnston has removed the excellent beebPlayer app from the Android Market following news on the new Froyo software update coming out later this year.

The BBC are currently developing an Android version of their popular mobile iPlayer app but it’s still sad to see all of Dave’s work go to nothing.

beebPlayer was a constantly updated iPlayer app that would allow you to browse and watch iPlayer programmes and BBC Radio. Later versions of the app also added support for Live TV streaming but this later broke (when BBC changed something no doubt).

Dave wrote the following on his blog:

It looks like with Android 2.2 (Froyo), beebPlayer will finally have served its purpose for users of current Android handsets, as it seems this edition of Android will feature Flash 10. So says Andy Rubin of Google:

He also promised that full support for Adobe’s Flash standard was coming in the next version of Android, code-named Froyo, for frozen yogurt (previous Android releases were called Cupcake, Donut and Eclair, and are represented outside Building 44 on the Google campus with giant sculptures of the desserts). Sometimes being open “means not being militant about the things consumer are actually enjoying,” he said.

This combined with the BBC’s previous announcement of iPlayer for Android devices – powered by the same Flash 10 – should mean that Android phones will get complete and proper access to BBC iPlayer content, including the bits that have eluded beebPlayer – like on-demand (‘listen again’) radio and high-def video.

Of course, many handsets (such as the G1) probably won’t get the see Android 2.2, so I’ll be maintaining beebPlayer as long as is reasonable and manageable, to ensure those users can still access some iPlayer content.

Android 2.2 is due in the next month or two for Nexus One and HTC Desire, but the popular HTC Hero is currently unaccounted for.

This is sad news for Android owners as we all want to “support the man”. I’m sure the official iPlayer app is going to be good (and will allow downloading of content), but there’s something about a homegrown app going under that’s sad…

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