The BBC has announced that their popular iPlayer app has come to the iPhone today. The free app allows access to live streaming of the BBC’s television and radio programming, as well as a significant archive of BBC’s older content, in some cases going back to the 1960s. Users can stream content to their phones whether they are on a wifi network or their carrier’s 3G data network, and the app is designed to adjust picture quality automatically depending on the user’s 3G signal strength.
Along with the release of the iPhone app, the iPad version receives an update today allowing it to stream over 3G data networks as well. An update for the Android app is also in the works, though the new version will continue to only stream over wifi.
The original app debuted in Britain in February, followed in July by the launch of a global version of the app in eleven countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Ireland, with promises that Australia, Canada, and the US would follow by the end of the year. The app became available in Australia in September and Canada last week, but has still not come to America.
The iPlayer service launched several years ago and has become immensely popular in Britain, where iPlayer viewership has come to represent a significant percentage of total viewers, particularly of the network’s more popular shows like Doctor Who and Top Gear. The global app allows users access to all the same content as the British version, but for a fee. While British users’ viewing is covered by their country’s television license fee, users in other countries are required to pay a fee, either monthly or annually, to access the content.