The BBC iPlayer application has been available for a few months now for residents in the UK, who want to catch their favorite shows they may have missed while on the go. Today the BBC iPlayer iPad app begins its global roll out, and could come to the iPhone and Apple TV next.
BBC Worldwide is today beginning the global release of the application by making it available in eleven countries in Western Europe, with Australia, Canada, and the US to get access later this year. The service will allow users to access a limited amount of content free of charge; this will be supported by ads and sponsorship. But according to guardian.co.uk the main plan is to get users to pay subscription fees of €6.99 per month, or €49.99 annually, which is part of a one year pilot.
The European countries getting the iPad app from today are; Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, The Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, and Spain. It will have features that the UK version of the application doesn’t have including the ability to stream content over 3G. There is also a feature where content can be downloaded to the iPad for viewing later.
According to the BBCs Luke Bradley-Jones the new offering is more like a video on demand service, there will be content available from the last month and a “catalogue stretching back 50 to 60 years“. Content can be searched by browsing for specific shows or genres like comedies or drama.
Fans of Doctor Who can view content which is based on things such as The Tennant Years, or episodes which had the Daleks in. But there will be plenty of other content available with a minimum of 1,500 hours promised from day one.
The offline viewing and 3G streaming are seen as key selling points for users by the BBC, and have even got past the feature of the iPad going into hibernation. The company worked closely with Apple so customers can download content overnight. The BBC are still working to get the service available in the US but a few legal obstacles need to addressed first, but it is coming.
Meanwhile Jana Bennett of BBC Worldwide is quoted on the Financial Times, that during the pilot they want to look at how the service is used by consumers. She then added “We think the next phase will be on iPhones and Apple TV”.
The idea of the BBC iPlayer being available on the Apple TV in particular will please many owners of the set top box. This is one feature that owners have been wanting for a long time without having to jailbreak the device.
Would you like the BBC iPlayer be readily available on Apple TV?
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