The BBC’s iPlayer video-on-demand service is making its long-awaited debut on iPhone and iPod Touch devices.
The app lands with a string of new features that haven’t yet been seen on previous versions. Most important of the list of new features is 3G streaming across all mobile networks, allowing for true on-the-go catch-up TV, providing you’ve got a data plan that makes this viable.
Live TV and radio channel switching is now included, which offers a more traditional TV viewing experience in a mobile format.
As well as a number of general UI improvements, radio playback now also allows for background listening, letting you tune into the BBC’s radio network while carrying out other tasks like browsing the web or checking email.
“This has been a great year for BBC iPlayer on mobile with over 1.5 million installs on the Apple iPad and 1.2 million installs on Android devices since launch in February 2011,” said Daniel Danker, BBC’s General Manager, Programmes and On Demand.
“People love using BBC iPlayer on mobiles and tablets, and with 16.5 million programmes watched in October 2011 usage has more than doubled over the last year. With the new app audiences will enjoy catch up and live TV in a simple, easy-to-use mobile experience.
“Today’s announcement also means more licence fee payers can enjoy a better experience when using BBC iPlayer on the move, and reflects our ambition to take BBC iPlayer beyond the desktop. We have worked closely with mobile operators to ensure that their networks are ready for iPlayer, and introduced 3G streaming to offer licence fee payers a truly mobile experience.”
As well as the new iPhone and iPod apps, the readily-available iPad app will also be getting an update to allow for 3G streaming too.
Android owners feeling left out in the cold by the Beeb only have to hold out a little longer for the update. While iPlayer for Android isn’t quite ready for 3 streaming, the functionality will be added in a new-year update, alongside improvements to the general video quality when using the app through Google’s mobile OS.
Though not yet live on the App Store at the time of writing, the iPhone and iPod versions of the BBC iPlayer should land before the end of the day. It will be available for free.