Android Central

The BBC has posted an extensive update on its future plans for the BBC iPlayer Android app. In the coming months, the corporation says it's main aims are to reach feature parity with the iOS app, and introduce new, high-quality streams and better support for large-screen devices.

In a blog post, BBC iPlayer boss Dave Price says the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 are now in the top five devices used to access iPlayer content. And in order to give 7-inch users the best experience, Price says a "significant engineering team" will be put behind improving iPlayer playback on Android devices.

Firstly, the BBC will improve video quality for higher-end devices on fast networks. This will start with new, higher-quality streams for Wifi users before Christmas, followed at a later date by additional high-quality streams for playback over 4G mobile networks.

In order to close the gap in functionality between iPlayer on Android and iOS, features like mobile downloads and iPlayer Radio (including background playback) will be brought to Android in the near future. A future version will introduce a new UI, upon which this new functionality will be built in the months ahead.

What's more, Price says a pre-Christmas iPlayer update will enable Android 4.2 support. (Current support tops out at version 4.1.2, though it is possible to install the app on a 4.1 device, then upgrade to 4.2 and use it without issue.) The same update will bring a "richer tablet experience" on devices like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, while future updates will prioritize optimizations for "the most popular devices."

The current iPlayer app has offered a decent but basic experience on Android, so we're pleased to see the Beeb taking a greater interest in optimizing for up-and-coming devices. And of course video quality improvements are always welcome. We'll look forward to trying out the new iPlayer update in the next couple of weeks. If you're after more technical details, the full blog post over at the source link is definitely worth a read.

Source: BBC Blog

There are 11 comments

Useless twats at the BBC have just woken up after oversleeping for two years.

sensory says:

Better late than never. Looking forward to these updates.

mwara244 says:

I wish they would let us in the U.S. be able to use the BBC iplayer to stream BBC shows across the pond, but we are blocked from using it in the staes

Slomon says:

Check UnoTelly. I had used it to stream the Olympic games via iPlayer and it worked great.

MrLadoodle says:

That's because UK citizens pay the license fee.

Cleargrey says:

I'm confused about something. The Nexus 7 didn't support flash. iPlayer needs flash. So every Nexus 7 that accesses the iPlayer has sideloaded flash. And they still made it in the top 5?! Or is something wrong with my reasoning?

quibbles says:

iPlayer on Android uses Adobe AIR, not pure Flash. AIR has more functionality, but is basically the Flash player encapsulated entirely into the app, so no need for a separate plugin download. Of course the app is bigger because of it.

Lots of apps, especially games use AIR. Flash on the mobile browser is dead, but using Flash via AIR on mobile is alive and well, especially for games (even on iOS).

mwara244 says:

Ridiculous that Adobe abandoned Flash with no viable substitute to take it's place. Almost the entire web uses flash for streaming videos of all kind. It has been said that Adobe won't even have HTML5 ready till somewhere between 2014-2020 from all the tech sites speculating. I don't see why they couldn't have continued to update it till HTML5 was ready for mobile.

Gearu says:

BBC, tell me more about how you will remove the geoblocking bs.

Ian Calvert says:

Are you in the UK but not able to view the content?

MrLadoodle says:

4G isn't required for streaming HD, you need at least 1Mbps for HD and 3G does 42Mbps.