BBC brings TV video streaming to iPad

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Like many of my generation, I grew up watching BBC shows, particularly comedy shows. I remember laughing really really hard at those classic sitcoms back in the day. Side-splitting laughter. So when I heard the BBC has brought out an iPad app with TV shows available for streaming to a European audience, I did not hesitate for a single second. Download of the free app iPlayer done, I proceeded to look around.

I quickly looked for the 3 shows I most associate with BBC and classic British comedies: Fawlty Towers is there, check. Yes Minister, check. Black Adder, check. Glee started settling in as I imagined hours of fun re-watching my fave episodes on my iPad. BUT, and there’s a big but. No Monty Python (do I really have to include the link here?). No Are you being served? I started pouting.  That € 6,99 monthly subscription was starting to look less tempting.

As can be expected, the app is very well made: the UI is professional and sleek, the bezels well-designed and navigation very iPad-friendly. Video playback is flawless. You can browse genres like Comedy, Drama or Music & Culture, search alphabetically, Just In, Popular or Free.

When you find something you like and tap on play, the app teases: “Looks good, doesn’t it? Subscribe now for € 6,99 a month and start exploring more than 80 years of BBC shows.“ Okay. I bit.

Subscribing is painless. Too easy. Agree to their terms and choose your plan. € 6,99 a month or € 49,99 a year. Reasonable if you really use the service regularly. I chose a Black Adder episode and started what became a 10 min download. Once stored in My Downloads you can play, stop, start again where you left off, scrub forwards. Somehow I think I’ll be spending hours watching old shows and discovering new ones with this app.

BBC iPlayer is initially available in just 11 countries across Europe: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. More to be added at a later date.

I’m glad to see the BBC taking this step and wading into iPad video streaming territory. I mean, let’s be honest, does anyone watch regular TV anymore? We are evolving more and more into a “we-watch-what-we-want-when-we-want” model. Think of what it’ll be like in 10 years. I feel like this app is foreshadowing the future already.

Although I’ll be waiting for the addition of more shows in future, I feel that the app has what it takes to be successful and is already worth my €6,99 a month.

BBC iPlayer app can be downloaded for free at the App Store (iTunes link)

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