back to article iPlayer Global iPad app price announced

The BBC’s director general Mark Thompson has told a London conference that the broadcaster’s global iPlayer will soon be available to users outside the UK for a US$10 per month subscription. The release date, however, remains vague – “sometime this year” is the nearest that most reports are able to get. And in the creeping …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    What about sorting out the UK first

    So the BBC puts effort into developing an iPad app for use outside of the UK because it hopes it can fleece users of $120 a year while here in the UK they not only fail to provide a workable iPlayer app for Android (the Flash effort is truly awful and only works on top-end phones) but spend licence payers money (in legal fees) to kill off two 3rd party apps that did the job admirably on *all* Android devices.

    And all the while, unless we want to forgo all broadcast TV, we have no choice but to pay the sodding BBC the equivalent of $237 (£145.50) whether we use their services or not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      In the UK we get a lot more for the licence fee than you get on iPlayer, even just in terms of broadcast television shows that aren't shown on the iPlayer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Hear Hear and... could anybody down vote that very apt comment? I have no problem with the BBC supplying an iPlayer for Apple devices.

      But what about the rest of the licence fee payer's in this country that fund this organisation who own an alternative device. I know there are limits but is it so hard to make a decent Android app? I don't use Android (I'm an odd ball, Windows PC (and Linux VM), Mac laptop, Windows Phone 7...)

      I don't think it's too much to ask that the population that pays for this behemoth to exist to provide a reasonable range of access to its programming to the popular devices on the market. Mac uses rightly cried foul when iPlayer was Windows only. If the BBC wants to go the app model for iPlayer access rather than via their website, then they at very least need to support the iDevices, Android and Nokia (of the latter I'm sure they still do.)

      Sure I use a WP7 device and am not expecting anything yet, but there does have to be a sensible threshold, or we'll end up with requests for iPlayer on Nokia 3210s :)

      Poor show BBC. Poor show. Not that I'd know what the show was like, I can't view it :)

    3. HollyHopDrive


      First off that license fee is well worth the money. Tbh, I'd happily pay a lot more. I actually resent the money I pay sky each month. (so much so I'm ditching it for freesat in the next month).

      yes, the Android app is shit and they should be ashamed of themselves. but at least its recognized as a platform so when somebody finally releases a decent (xoom) Android tablet at a sensible price (yes Motorola, sort that out you bunch of plums ) then there will be enough market to justify a decent Android version. until then I think its just a case of waiting.

      and yes, everybody else will get it cheaper, but so what. they won't get 100% of the programs and services because of the typical license restrictions. and if a couple of million people choose to buy it, just think how great our BBC can become with all that loot. you should be pleased Britain finally has something to export and bring cash into our cash strapped land.

    4. dotdavid

      Whats an iAndroid?

      The BBC don't seem to have a clue that there *are* alternative smartphone platforms out there. The Android iPlayer app, as you say, seems to be some kind of afterthought - a half assed effort. "What, they want an app for this iPhone clone thing of theirs?" you can just imagine the BBC exec saying to his minions, "I read somewhere that their phones do Flash, lets just give them our iPlayer website - that should keep them happy".

      I've given the official app 1 star in the market but I doubt that will do much. I'd also start a petition but you know how *they're* listened to. If I had more free time I'd program my own app that used the iPhone streams, but you know they'd just get it removed from the Market and then no "ordinary" users would find it. Unfortunately it looks like there's nothing to be done but upgrade your phone to one that supports Flash, which is hardly a decent solution.

      Sometimes the BBC's lack of savvy makes me furious.

    5. henchan

      domestic market

      So which is it then? BBC should be aiming for new revenue to potentially alleviate your sodding tax and licence burden. Or not?

      It happens that I own an iPad and cannot use iPlayer because I am one of the estimated 10% of native Britons currently living overseas. I value the BBC for its (subjectively) high quality content. So would I go for this offering at the price? Probably. Let's see what comes available and how their content delivery network will perform over here.

  2. famousringo

    A little steep

    Considering Netflix is $8 a month, it's available on many devices, and it provides a wide variety of content, including a lot of good (but old) BBC programs.

    Throw in airplay support and I'll give it a try.

  3. moylan

    wait for the android version

    i've said it a million times but i'd rather pay for a bbc tv licence than the irish version. at least the bbc puts out dozens of tv shows that i am interested in.

    but i have zero interest in apple devices. hate itunes!

    will be interesting to see if how much money this brings into the bbc. they're not perfect but have a lot of fans around the world.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      RTE player

      RTE, TV3 and TG4 have "catch-up" style services that are analogous to iPlayer. They obviously don't carry as much content but they do carry some UK shows which have been broadcast in Ireland.

      I'm hoping the BBC takes advantage of the digital rollout which is finally happening in Ireland to launch a channel or two, ad supported if necessary. Maybe the ads can fund the service and the extension of iPlayer into Ireland. Failing that I'll stick with Freesat.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what would I get?

    Would this give me, in the US, access to the same content as someone in the London?

    1. Code Monkey

      Probably not

      There'll always be some content that Auntie's not licenced to show outside the UK. But you will get a rake of top quality content for a tenner.

      If I lived abroad, I'd cough up for it if my local connection was up to the job (and they did an Android version).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So cheaper than a UK TV license then. Do you think I could subscribe here instead of getting an old license?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Why do the BBC love apple so much?

    Why do the BBC seem to just support apple apps?

    Aren't they meant to be platform neutral?

    Android support is pretty patchy, symbian support isnt great as is blackberry.

    Is it just because they are media types? (or because having one hardware platform makes it easier ;))

    1. Archivist

      Errrm... ridiculous!

      Don't you realise that the overseas subscriptions will subsidise the BBC? It's actually in our favour for the BBC to get more cash.

      AND, if you care to watch non-live iPlayer only, you don't need a TV licence.....

    2. Steven Jones

      iPlayer can be watched "licence free" in the UK

      If you want to watch BBC programmes in the UK then a (very careful with his money) friend of mine assures me that a careful reading of the rules with regard to the licence that it is legal to watch iPlayer content without a licence as it is not available at the same time as it's broadcast.

      Of course if you have any equipment capable of broadcast reception, that's a different issue. But you can get to watch iPlayer in the UK without paying a licence.

      Incidentally, it might be nice of the BBC if they allowed holders of UK TV licences to watch the BBC iPlayer wherever they are in the world - at least as a single session.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Now I'm no massive Apple fan, but it stands to reason that the order that the BBC would develop viewers in would be something like this (based on install base and viewing experience)

      Windows desktops

      Apple desktops

      various games consoles


      linux desktop


      win phone 7

      As a win phone 7 owner, I'd like to see an app, but as the viewing experince on a portable device will typicall be dire, I'm in no big rush - just glad that my wii can do iplayer so I can have it on my telly.

  7. Neil Greatorex

    US$10 per month

    Including the 30% iFee?

    Cheap at half the price...

  8. GettinSadda

    Great Deal!

    So, if I am in the UK I can have as much BBC TV/Radio as I want for for £145.50 per year.

    If I live outside the UK I can have as much BBC TV/Radio as I want for $120 per year (about £73.50)

    1. John A Fotheringham

      Re: Great Deal!


      Lots of BBC output - probably the majority - isn't available on iPlayer.

  9. /\/\j17

    Ripoff Britain Again?

    Hold on a sec...

    The TV licence fee is currently £7.85/month.

    The current £/$ exchange rate is around £1=$1.628.

    So if you live in the US you can get access to all the iPlayer content (which is most of the BBC's output) for $10 == £6.14, or £1.71 LESS that we pay in the UK.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Its hardly BBC's fault that Google can't develop a single cohesive Android release that will work on all the outdated tat coming out of china! (just to calm your emotions, I've got a Samsung GT, and iPlayer works fine.... well other than T-Mobile blocking it working over HSDPA).

    I'm all for BBC making cash outside of the UK, fleece the world.... go for it, then reduce our TV licence cost (or abolish it).

    Everyone moans when a "Government agency" tries to make money, but then they also moan when they have to pay for it because its not allowed to act like a business unit.

    1. dotdavid

      Uh, hardly

      The iPhone app uses RTSP streams originally designed for iPlayer on old dumbphones. However those same streams, quite playable on old Android devices, are blocked to Android apps.

      This has nothing to do with Google, fragmentation issues or no fragmentation issues.

    2. Bub
      Thumb Down

      "Ripoff Britain"

      God that phrase makes my blood boil, as every time I read it a mental copy of the Daily Mail pops unwanted into my head. Enough to completely spoil my afternoon.

  11. jaduncan

    It is very frustrating

    The iPad gets high quality non-flash feeds, and these are verboden for Android devices as the BBC has created an artificial restriction of running over flash for everything else. I'm not entirely sure how the BBC can justify that one company requirement under the charter (other video provision systems are available, as the BBC would say) but the inflexibility of it is really very poor.

    Hoorah for the get-iplayer fork, and damn the BBC for making people require it to watch offline.

  12. N2 Silver badge


    Pay $5 a month for a VPN to the UK

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC behind the times

    I pay about 8 dollars a month for a fixed UK IP address and not only do the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 players work most places in the world on my computer, they also work perfectly in any good wifi spot on my iPhone :)

    BBC World News and BBC Entertainment, their BBC Top Gear channel (all it seems to do is send endless old Top Gear shows) are so boring and politically correct, that if they were not part of my satellite package I would cancel them. The BBC do not seem to understand that outside the Middle East or India or Africa, most people don't give a damn or don't care what is happening there and have no interest in watching endless programmes about those parts of the world. But clearly the BBC is not only out of touch with the UK population, it is also out of touch with modern technology and the wants of their viewers.

    1. jaduncan


      "The BBC do not seem to understand that outside the Middle East or India or Africa, most people don't give a damn or don't care what is happening there and have no interest in watching endless programmes about those parts of the world."

      The obvious troll, it is obvious. Or you might just be that much of an imbercile; I hear Fox News has a web site if you want to comment there.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Have you watched BBC World?

        If you haven't then I suggest you find yourself stuck in a hotel with it as the only English speaking channel. It is an incredibly boring channel with repeated content, repeating crawling walls of info, the same bloody ads over and over, and when there are documentaries they're usually about banal topics of interest to no one. It's just so monotonous. The BBC could surely liven it up with some of the stuff from their archives.

        CNN world is just as bad BTW.

    2. henchan


      Unless I am looking at the wrong fork, it's a whole year since get-iplayer fork moved a jot.

      Presumably that project would be more active if the BBC's strategy had been API, rather than application based. No doubt, Rights Management is a bitch but it's the BBC's bitch. Better for them to work on their own problems and delegate platform decisions to the developer community.

      1. dotdavid

        Maybe wrong fork

        The one at seems to be having updates made;

    3. Colin Wilson 2


      "The BBC has created an artificial restriction of running over flash for everything else"

      So what's the problem? Android devices support flash so can access iPlayer from the web site; iPads don't, so they have an app. Everyone's happy.

  14. carl.sargunar
    Thumb Up

    Go the BBC

    The BBC has it's faults, but is the one provider that constantly and consistantly provides astonishing programs both on TV and Radio, and for anyone doing any level of travelling outside of Blighty this is amazing news. Bit disappointed they're launching with only an iPad app, rather than something for all devices, but this will come soon I'm sure. This will also hopefully ease the burden on the british license fee payers, and allow the Beeb to fund itself from the rest of the world

    Looking forward to it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tired of you BBC whingers

      +1 tired of all the whingers and whiners who complain about the BBC - its one of our best exports - truly astonishing and groundbreaking tv... (e.g. living planet)

      Have you thought they might need the revenue from ipad app to support the resources required for the lifecycle of multiple fragmented android apps?

  15. Cyclist

    Grammar nazi alert

    It's a licence, not a license. Once you've bought a licence, you're licensed to use TV equipment. Noun != verb.

    Anyway. Good on yer, BBC. Make viewers outside the UK stump up a bit of dosh to wtach the ouput that the licence fee provides. It's what every TV Licence debate on web fora ends up with as the main bone of contention, that World + Dog outside of the UK gets what we've paid for, for free. Except obviously those who are savvy enough to work around the limitations.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    $10 a month..

    Thats a great alternative to an expensive TV licence.. Where do I sign up..

    Now off to compose a letter to my MP...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      not a WTF, BUT..

      I only want iplayer content not all the Live crap..but I do want it on the big screen in my living room... I want this option, so the law needs to change to allow it.

  17. Mark .

    So is this offering something that isn't available on other platforms?

    For UK viewers, the BBC have at least written applications for multiple desktop and mobile platforms. The Iphone etc only need their own applications, because they're not capable of common standards like Flash. (Although if it's true that the Flash applications run poorly on other platforms, they should sort that out, just as they do for the Iphone.)

    But I wasn't aware of a current way by which non-UK viewers can subscribe to Iplayer?

    Come on now - when the BBC favoured only Windows on the desktop, there was an uproar. But at least you could say that Windows is (a) number one, and (b) covered 90% market share. Neither is true for Apple - for (a) the Iphones are way behind Nokia and Android, and (b) even if we only look at "smart" phones, the share is just 15% (less than 5% if you look at all app-capable phones). For the Ipad, it's outsold by Windows netbooks.

    dotdavid: "I'd program my own app that used the iPhone streams, but you know they'd just get it removed from the Market"

    Actually I believe that they've now prevented that - there used to be a desktop application that would download Iplayer videos via the Iphone API, but now it's blocked!

    Eponymous Cowherd: Hmm, the Flash Iplayer application works fine on my Nokia 5800, and that's with an old ~400MHz processor. Does Android struggle with Flash?

    1. Eponymous Cowherd

      Android Flash


      Yes, there is a problem with Flash on Android. BBC iPlayer for Android requires Flash 10.1, Flash lite (as supplied with many Android 2.1 handsets) won't suffice.

      The requirements for Flash 10.1 and, therefore, iPlayer are Android 2.2 running on an ArmV7 processor. Most older and/or cheaper Android phones use ArmV6 processors and cannot run Flash 10.1 or iPlayer.

      My gripe with the BBC is that they killed off an excellent 3rd party application (BeebPlayer) that would work on any Android phone and replaced it with one that would only work on newer and high-end phones and actually has fewer features (BeebPlayer worked over 3G and would play radio in the background, the "official" iPlayer will do neither).

  18. Tom 35 Silver badge

    The same in all countries?

    If a program is available in one Country (East Enders and Dr. Who are on CBC in Canada for example) will the BBC block them for users in that Country? If they also include stuff that's only available on cable TV (that I can't even get) then this could end up as a chocolate tea pot.

  19. Efros

    Oh Shit

    As an Apple, iPad in particular, hating US resident Brit, relying on VPN technology to get my iplayer fix this announcement has sealed my fate as a future iPad owner. For those of you who believe that the BBC is crap, come have a taste of the inane censored pap that passes for free broadcast networks this side of the pond. I already pay $10 a month in VPN fees and will quite happily divert that to the Beeb, my only reservation is having to buy one of those bloody fondleslabs! We need a shattered iPad icon.

  20. Jean-Paul

    So let me get this straight

    One of the biggest arguments against the iOS by fandroids is that you can't see the whole web as it doesn't do flash. And now the fandroids complain because their device can't see the flash stream as either you've got a too old device, wrong version of flash, or in my experience flash doesn't actually work that well really if you are all honest. So please make you mind up.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019