BBC iPlayer app now available for iPad

12 March, 2011 - Paul Dixon
iPlayer on iPad

For non-UK readers who might not be familiar with iPlayer, it’s a service provided by the BBC that allows users to watch previously broadcast (and some live) BBC TV & Radio programs. It’s currently available through web browsers, many set top boxes and even the Playstation 3 & Nintendo Wii.

The ability to access iPlayer on the iPad isn’t new, it works reasonably well via Safari with the only minor annoyances being that scrolling feels a bit sluggish, and navigating between the various sections and categories is a little clunky. But it’s good to see that there’s now a dedicated iPlayer app for the iPad.

On launching the BBC iPlayer app you are immediately struck by the clean but visually rich TV home-screen which shows a grid of six featured programs – one large and five smaller. Scrolling to the right reveals eighteen more featured programs, and scrolling between them feels very smooth and responsive. Holding your finger over any of the featured programs allows you to move it to a favorites bar at the top of the screen – it all feels very Apple.

From the home-screen you can access a list of channels complete with a time line showing recent and upcoming shows, search and view a list of categories, and access sections labelled: featured, most popular and for you. The radio section accessed from the bottom of the screen has the same grid layout.

So far I haven’t had any problems watching programs via the app. Load times are quick, the picture quality seems to be very good and fast-forwarding and rewinding feels snappy.

Overall the app is great but there is a downside – you can only access it via WiFi and unfortunately you are unable to save shows to watch later – so if you are somewhere that doesn’t have WiFi access you won’t be able to use it at all.

The BBC iPlayer app is available for free in the UK and a subscription version is supposed to be coming out for other countries.

BBC iPlayer - Media Applications Technologies Limited

About the author

Paul Dixon is the owner of Macsessed. He lives in Lancashire in the UK where he works as a web designer. You can find him on and Twitter.