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BBC iPlayer for Android

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Your favourite catch-up TV service finally comes to Android

BBC iPlayer for Android Review

by on February 11, 2011

A whole host of set backs, arguments with Ofcom and delayed release dates have meant that we have been waiting a long time for the BBC iPlayer to come to Android.

While unofficial apps like BeebPlayer have come and gone to fill an on-demand hole, it is great to see the BBC actually taking the Android Market serious enough to put the iPlayer on to Google-based smartphones, and it makes us smile even more that iPhone users are left wanting.

The app takes seconds to download as it is only 128KB and once you are up and running, there are a variety of options from the main screen.

What you have is a screen for TV and radio and the option to delve into your favourite shows when you have tagged that you like them.

To search for shows, you have the option of looking at categories, channels and live TV and then select what you want to watch.

Now there are some caveats to using iPlayer for Android. The first being that it is only for devices 2.2 and above, the second being that you need to have Flash installed on to your phone and the third being that it looks disappointedly at your 3G signal and refuses to stream anything unless you are doing it over Wi-Fi.

Now, this is where we would love to tell you that the iPlayer is all you dreamed it would be on your shiny smartphone, but there seems to be a lot of streaming bugs. We tried to watch a number of shows and the app coughed and spluttered through the content like your gin-soaked grandmother trying to dance the Macarena.

This may have been because we were using the app when it seemed like the whole world was downloading it – we got it as soon as it landed on the Market – but it wasn’t the best viewing experience. Occasionally we were given a smooth stream but do expect what you watch to be jumpy.

The iPlayer app is an undeniably great-looking app but slickness doesn’t mask that some behind-the-scenes tinkering from the BBC is needed for this app to be your on-demand streamer of choice.

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