Do you live in the United Kingdom and use BBC’s iPlayer but wished you could stream the content offline? You’re in luck! The Guardian is reporting that the application will soon receive an update that will allow users to download the television programs directly to their device. This feature will be available at no extra cost, even when abroad. iOS will gain the capability first, and Android will gain it at some point in the near future.
Users can download up to 50 hours of standard definition television of an empty 16 GB iOS device (Maybe 100 hours on 32 GB?) or 25 hours of high definition content. Currently show downloading will be supported via wifi, with offline viewing via 3G a feature that is in the works. Once downloaded, the program will be available for 30 day or within seven days of being watched by the user.
The offline watching capability is a part of BBC’s plans to take the iPlayer, a five year old feature, beyond the laptop and catch up to programming and tech-savvy users. BBC stated that 1/5 of all adults residing in the United Kingdom use iPlayer at least once a week. In addition, a boom in the number of smartphones using iPlayer has shot up 142% to 30m in a month. The iPad is the second most popular way to view iPlayer, with a PC being the first.
The offline watching is definitely a bold move on BBC’s end, as ITV is attempting to introduce micro-payments for its catchup player, and Channel 4′s 4OD is free to air. BSkyB recently launched Now TV, which offers VOD films to consumers without a Sky pay-TV subscriptions for a monthly for single movie free.
Daniel Danker, the BBC’s general manager of on-demand programs, said that it would not be fair for BBC to ask license fee payers to pay extra money just for downloading shows.
Great job BBC, props to you! This development will be a great one, and hopefully other television providers hop on a similar bandwagon.