The BBC has revealed that an update arriving Tuesday for its iPlayer app on iPhone and iPad will add the ability to download shows for viewing offline, instead of being streaming only. First reported by The Guardian, it will let those with paid up TV licenses load their phones and tablets with plenty of programming to view when and where (including abroad) they want, for up to 30 days or within 7 days of being watched. Those restriction will keep viewers from building up libraries they can truly keep with them indefinitely, and it should be noted that the app will only let users download shows over WiFi for now, not surprising when we remember how long it took to add 3G streaming. Also interesting is the Beeb's decision not to charge extra for downloads, but we'll have to wait and see if competitors like ITV follow suit. The app is not live in iTunes yet, but we'll keep an eye out and let our UK based friends know when it's available to download. That here in the US we're (still) waiting for global iPlayer access hasn't made us jealous at all.
Update: Version 2.0.0 is out, check the gallery for screenshots or the BBC's blog post for a few more details and stats on how people are using iPlayer.
BBC iPlayer for iPad and iPhoneSee all photos
BBC launches mobile downloads for BBC iPlayer
Date: 04.09.2012Last updated: 04.09.2012 at 08.14
Category: Online and interactive
BBC iPlayer today launched mobile downloads, enabling you to download your favourite BBC TV programmes directly to your smartphone or tablet for free, and keep them to enjoy for up to 30 days.
For the first time, the quality programmes on BBC iPlayer's award-winning app are available wherever you want to watch them, whether or not you have a Wi-Fi or 3G signal. Watch on the underground, on planes, or any location where internet access is beyond your reach. Programmes downloaded from the UK can also be viewed abroad for up to 30 days, so you can take the BBC on holiday with you. Once you've pressed play, you can keep watching for seven more days.
The new mobile downloads feature is initially available on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices and will come to Android devices soon.
There are three simple steps to transforming your journey:
tap the Download option on the programme you want to save
the programme will be added to your download queue
when you next connect to Wi-Fi, open the app and the programme will automatically start downloading to your device
With the option to add multiple programmes to download at the same time, your device could be full of enough of your favourite BBC TV shows to be entertained on a 10-hour flight, there and back.
This launch builds on BBC iPlayer's strategy to move beyond the PC and make more quality BBC content available across mobile, tablet and internet connected TVs, delivering increased value to audiences. In July alone, there were 30m requests for BBC iPlayer TV programmes via a mobile or tablet, an increase of 142% year on year.
Daniel Danker, General Manager, Programmes and On-Demand for the BBC says, "With mobile downloads for BBC iPlayer, you can now load up your mobile phone or tablet with hours and hours of BBC television programmes, then watch them on the road, on the tube, on a plane, without worrying about having an internet connection or running up a mobile data bill. Viewers have up to 30 days to begin watching a downloaded programme, so you can even fill up your device and take the BBC with you on holiday."
The BBC iPlayer app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store. Audiences who already have the BBC iPlayer app installed will be prompted to update their app via the iTunes App Store.
About BBC iPlayer
Launching on December 2007 as a simple catch-up website, BBC iPlayer has helped pioneer TV on demand by offering audiences the opportunity to watch selected TV programmes for up to 7 days after broadcast.
BBC iPlayer has since evolved, adding more TV programmes; including entire series and films, radio programmes, live TV channels & radio station, programme downloads for offline viewing and personalisation features such as Favourites and recommendations.
Variants of BBC iPlayer optimised for over 550 mobiles, tablets and connected TVs are also available, allowing audiences to catch-up or watch live wherever they are and on whatever device – offering access on the move over 3G and Wi-Fi , or simple and convenient access via broadband on the living room TV.