It’s been a long time coming, but the BBC iPlayer finally came to our iPads this month as a free application on the UK App Store! Following months of setbacks and blocking of the application by the BBC Trust, UK viewers are now finally able to catch up with BBC programs and watch live without being in front of a traditional computer or internet enabled TV.
Is the BBC iPlayer iPad App everything we’d hoped it would be? Does it make us want to watch Match of the Day on Apple’s tablet every Saturday night instead of on the big screen? Let’s check it out and see for ourselves, shall we?
There was no doubt that the iPlayer would be anything but a hit when it launched to the iPad and it’s great to have available when you’re not around a TV; after all, bringing such a service to a small device makes it a lot more mobile, but like any application it has it’s shortcomings.
The home screen is laid out in a similar fashion to the iPlayer website, with a grid layout presenting you with featured shows and episodes of both TV and radio depending on which section you’re viewing – you can easily switch between the two from the options at the bottom of the screen.
With the help of a iPad jailbreak and a neat little application to trick iPlayer in to thinking I was connected to Wi-Fi when in fact I wasn’t, I tried my hand at streaming over my 3G network (well, I may as well make use of my 10GB quota!). As it turns out, the video streamed with no hiccups whatsoever, just as smooth as my Wi-Fi network. Unfortunately, it seems as though this limitation has been put in place to keep the mobile networks happy, and not because it’s technically difficult to stream over 3G. Shame on you, BBC.
Anyway, gripe over! For the most part, the application has been incredibly well designed, is easy to navigate, and seems very stable for an initial release – I haven’t experienced one crash yet, and I’ve been using it on and off for a good few days now.
If you don’t mind being limited to streaming over Wi-Fi and happen to be fond of the BBC’s programs, then grabbing the free BBC iPlayer iPad App is a no brainer. You can download it from the UK App Store, so get over there and let us know what you think in the comments!