72 Facts About BBC iPlayer


BBC iPlayer is a video on demand service from the BBC.

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BBC iPlayer services delivered to UK-based viewers feature no commercial advertising.

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In 2015, the BBC iPlayer reported that it was moving towards playing audio and video content via open HTML5 standards in web browsers rather than via Flash or its Media Player mobile app.

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In 2019, the BBC improved the format quality, taking the highest available on iPlayer to 1080p from 720p .

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On 20 October 2021, the BBC announced that BBC iPlayer would be given a new logo which would involve being rebranded as "iPLAYER".

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Concept for the BBC iPlayer was dreamt up by Ben Lavender in 2005, a BBC employee frustrated by attempting to bit-torrent Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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BBC iPlayer went on a 'road-show' around the BBC to sell the concept and was told by the Director General that he had "saved the BBC".

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BBC iPlayer Redux was developed as a proof of concept for a cross-platform, Flash Video-based streaming system.

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On 25 June 2008 a new-look BBC iPlayer was launched, originally as a beta-test version alongside the earlier version.

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From October 2014 the BBC extended the programme availability for programmes on iPlayer from 7 days to 30 days.

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Original BBC iPlayer service was launched in October 2005, undergoing a five-month trial by five thousand broadband users until 28 February 2006.

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At various times during its development iPlayer was known as the Integrated Media Player, Interactive Media Player, and MyBBCPlayer.

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The BBC had been criticised for saying that the iPlayer would 'launch' on 27 July 2007, when what was on offer was simply an extension of the beta to an open beta, admitting more users in a controlled manner.

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The BBC Trust made it a condition of approval for the BBC's on-demand services that the iPlayer is available to users of a range of operating systems, and has given a commitment that it will ensure that the BBC meets this demand as soon as possible.

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On 16 October 2007, the BBC announced a strategic relationship with Adobe that would bring a limited streaming-only version of the iPlayer to Mac and Linux users and Windows users who cannot or do not wish to use the iPlayer download service, such as Windows 9x users.

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Since January 2008, BBC iPlayer has supported Mozilla Firefox under the Microsoft Windows platform for downloading content.

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On 19 December 2008, the BBC released, as part of the iPlayer Labs feature, iPlayer Desktop for OS X and Linux operating systems.

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On 20 April 2009, the BBC incorporated high-definition streams and downloads of some content on the iPlayer.

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On 28 July 2011, BBC Worldwide released an international version of the iPlayer.

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On 26 September 2013 BBC iPlayer Desktop was replaced by BBC iPlayer Downloads, which was no longer based on Adobe AIR.

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On 30 October 2018 the BBC relaunched its iPlayer Radio services as BBC Sounds, including a newly designed website and mobile apps.

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In September 2016 the BBC iPlayer announced that users would eventually be required to sign in with a BBC iPlayer ID account to access non-children's content on the service.

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Media outlets suggested that the account requirement was intended to help the BBC collect personal information that could be used to trace those who were evading TV Licensing whilst using iPlayer; Andrew Scott, launch director of the ongoing myBBC initiative, stated that the BBC might use account email addresses, along with existing methods, to help identify iPlayer users who did not hold a television licence.

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In December 2008 the BBC iPlayer moved to an Adobe AIR-based client that downloaded content via HTTP rather than P2P.

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The BBC iPlayer made use of the Christmas period to trumpet the new service with the tagline 'Making the unmissable.

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Only other feature of the new-look iPlayer discussed was a new embeddable video player, being rolled out across the whole of the BBC's online presence.

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BBC reported iPlayer users had technical problems with the release of Adobe AIR 3.

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BBC iPlayer introduced an Ultra HD trial allowing users with an Ultra HD device to watch with greater picture detail.

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BBC iPlayer downloaded TV programmes can be streamed to televisions via the NetGear EVA8000 and Linksys DMA2200 digital media receivers, through PCs running Windows XP or Vista, with Windows Media Center installed.

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The FetchTV Smartbox connects to any broadband connection and gives access to the BBC iPlayer and is a Freeview+ PVR.

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On 22 December 2009 the BBC iPlayer Trust rejected FetchTV's request to release the product.

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The Trust's Finance and Compliance Committee found that the BBC iPlayer had given reasonable arguments as to why IP Vision should not be allowed to go ahead with its self-build product.

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On 21 December 2009, BBC iPlayer was made available on a soft launch to Freesat viewers with Humax Foxsat HD receivers only, with an official release on 11 January 2010.

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On 25 March 2010, BBC iPlayer was added to TechniSat receivers, with an update for Harvard International receivers released on 31 March.

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On 16 December 2010, BBC iPlayer was assigned to Freesat channel 901, in addition to access via the BBC Red Button.

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On 30 January 2012, it was announced that BBC iPlayer would be added to Sky's On Demand service, arriving on 30 October 2012.

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The television is internet enabled, allowing for the viewing of online content including the BBC iPlayer, which has its own physical button on the remote, although BBC iPlayer HD wasn't available until 2010.

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On 11 January 2010, the BBC announced that BBC iPlayer would be built directly into TVs that would be widely available in the UK within months.

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On 9 September 2010, BBC iPlayer was added to Sony's BRAVIA televisions, having previously only been available on Blu-ray players.

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BBC iPlayer was one of four services available at the launch of YouView in July 2012.

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At launch the BBC iPlayer app contained options to resume watching recent programmes, access favourites, browse the most popular shows, find similar programmes or more episodes, included integrated search and was the only service to feature HD video.

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On 2 December 2008, the BBC provided an official iPlayer application widget for the PS3.

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In September 2009, the PS3 iPlayer was updated with H 264 playback and full screen content.

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Additionally, they announced that BBC iPlayer would continue to be free to access and would not be part of the PlayStation Plus subscription service.

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On 9 April 2008, the BBC iPlayer was made available to stream video content on the Wii video game console via the Internet Channel.

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The BBC iPlayer Channel was free to download from the Wii Shop Channel, until 10 February 2015, when the BBC announced on their website that they had removed BBC iPlayer from the Wii Shop Channel and terminated the service on the Wii.

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The BBC iPlayer cited their policies in resource management as the reason.

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BBC iPlayer confirmed that this application was set to be released on Nintendo's Wii U at launch, but due to some issue, it was delayed.

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In January 2014, BBC stated that this application is set to appear soon on Wii U On 11 December 2014, Senior product manager Peter Lasko of BBC stated that they hope this application will come to Wii U in early 2015.

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On 31 August 2016, only about 15 months after launch, the BBC iPlayer was de-listed from the Nintendo eShop, and the BBC later confirmed terminating the service by 16 January 2017 for those who already downloaded the app on the Wii U The BBC cited the end in the licence agreement between them and Nintendo UK as the reason.

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The BBC is not legally allowed to charge the UK public for access to the iPlayer, as the access charges for it are included in the BBC licence fee already.

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On 20 March 2012, BBC iPlayer became available on Xbox Live; the service includes Kinect functionality.

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In January 2014, a report by a BBC iPlayer programmer announced that an issue with the Kinect sensor had caused the app's delay.

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BBC iPlayer added that all Xbox One apps have to offer gesture and voice controls, as well as Snap features and media achievements.

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BBC iPlayer was introduced to the PlayStation 5 on the 30 November 2021.

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On 23 June 2010, after many months of complaints from Android users, BBC iPlayer officially announced support for the Android platform.

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On 8 February 2011 the BBC announced that Android, alongside the iPad, would be amongst the first two platforms to receive a native iPlayer application.

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On 19 September 2012 the BBC reported that an Adobe AIR-based iPlayer application had been developed for Android 4.

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The BBC modified the iPlayer service on 13 March 2008 to prevent this.

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On 28 July 2011, BBC Worldwide released an international version of the iPlayer for the iPad.

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In December 2011 the BBC iPlayer app was extended to work with the iPhone and iPod Touch.

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On 18 September 2008, the BBC iPlayer announced that a version will become available to the Nokia N96 mobile phone as a download service to allow viewers to watch programmes even when they are out of reach of Wi-Fi or 3G networks.

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In early December 2008, BBC iPlayer was updated to include streaming radio and television, and extended to a variety of handsets including Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N8, Samsung Omnia, Sony Ericsson C905, Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1, and Sony Ericsson W995.

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BBC iPlayer Store codenamed Project Barcelona launched in the UK and opened the archive to consumers and allowed users to buy a show and download it.

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BBC iPlayer Store was approved by the BBC iPlayer Trust in 2014 and the store launched in 2015.

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In 2008 the bandwidth use of BBC iPlayer was met with some concern and criticism from UK ISPs.

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The BBC responded by saying that the iPlayer was driving demand for broadband subscriptions.

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The FSF's Peter T Brown criticised the BBC for what he claimed was a break from previous tradition: the insistence that, for the first time, BBC viewers would be forced to use proprietary technology to watch BBC programmes.

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On 18 February 2010, the BBC updated iPlayer with an SWF verification layer which attempts to close the door on open source implementations of Real Time Messaging Protocol streaming.

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The global BBC iPlayer app includes some features that are not in the UK version, including the ability to stream shows over 3G as well as Wi-Fi, and a downloading feature to store programmes on one's mobile device for offline viewing.

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In early 2016, BBC Worldwide launched a version of the iPlayer service in Singapore, rebranded as BBC Player.

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Volume control of the BBC iPlayer goes up to 11, apparently a nod to a scene about an amplifier volume control that goes up to eleven in the rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap .

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