iPlayer streams over 3G and rolls out to iPhone, iPod touch

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 13-12-2011

The BBC is aiming to tap into the majority mobile community for the iPlayer, rolling out the hugely popular service over 3G networks to the iPhone and iPod touch.
The corporation says it is reacting to audience data revealing a huge appetite for on the go access to the iPlayer. Specifically the data shows that since the iPlayer app launch in February 2011, the BBC has enjoyed 1.5 million installs on the Apple iPad and 1.2 million installs on Android devices. Furthermore, in October 2011 alone 16.5 million programmes were watched on mobile devices and tablets, a year on year rise of 129%.
The new BBC iPlayer iPhone appis available to download in the Apple App Store now and is compatible with iPod touch or iPhone 3GS and above, running iOS4.3 and above. Among the features of the app includes a live channel switcher whereby users can flick between channels just like on a TV set.
The app is also compatible with Apple AirPlay so that iOS5 users can connect an iPhone or iPod touch to Apple TV and watch programme on a TV. The feature has also been extended to the iPad with iPad users also benefiting from AirPlay and 3G streaming.
Aiming to broaden such reach, the BBC has worked with all of the UK’s network operators to introduce such streaming capability which is enabled immediately in the iPhone and iPad apps and will shortly be introduced to the forthcoming mobile web version of BBC iPlayer for all supported devices . However the BBC concedes that it has “a bit more work to do” to improve the video playback experience for its Android app which will carry on working with Wi-Fi connection only.

The BBC also claims to have improved the playback experience on portable devices and have rolled out HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) video infrastructure for the apps, which uses adaptive bitrate technologies. This is designed to let users detect the strength of a Wi-Fi or 3G connection and serve the appropriate video quality.