Review: BBC iPlayer on Android 2.2

This is slightly old news to those of you on the BLEEDING EDGE of Android, but if you’re in possession of a phone upgraded to Android 2.2 and loaded with the final version of the Flash Player, you’ll be automatically redirected to the BBC’s hot new mobile version of the iPlayer site.

So we thought we’d take a look at how iPlayer operates on Android. The novelty of taking screenshots of stuff on our phone still hasn’t worn off.

android iplayer review 1 android iplayer review 4

So there it is. Android iPlayer operates entirely within the web browser, as you’d expect, along with an impressively comprehensive collection of options – adding shows to your Favourites lists, sorting and searching by channel and day, and much more. It offers all the functionality of the desktop version.

android iplayer review 3

You’re able to watch shows in this miniaturised picture format, with a bit more information around the edges. Handy if you’re the modern sort who finds it impossible to concentrate on one particular thing for more than three seconds at a time. And if you’re watching TV on your phone, that’s likely to be the case.

android iplayer review 5 android iplayer review 6

The Favourites tag works, as in it remembers your favourites between web sessions (we turned our Desire off and on again to check this…). It’s a shame there are no super-hardcore options to tweak picture quality manually dependent on connection speed and phone processor power, though, as that’d keep Android users well happy.

android iplayer review 7

Rotate the phone and the view scales up a little more. At this resolution, picture quality is still great – plus the player skips quickly through shows with pretty much nothing in the way of buffering. Of course we’re reviewing this when connected via wi-fi – that’s a compulsory requirement.

android iplayer review 12

This is what you see when accessing iPlayer via the mobile network. It won’t work for most of you, unless you’re on Three or Vodafone and sitting on a picnic blanket right beneath a 3G mobile mast on a sunny day.

android iplayer review 9

When zoomed to full screen, picture quality is not so hot. It’s pixelated. Not as bad as watching standard definition broadcast TV scaled up on an HDTV, but not super-sharp either. The BBC is pushing out a special 400kbps stream for us mobile users.

The only issue we have is the size of that pause button – it’s minuscule. And shoved away at the unresponsive corner of the screen. You’ll be in trouble if you have to perform an ‘Emergency Pause’.

android iplayer review 10

Although it all takes place within the Android browser, BBC’s Android iPlayer is a surprisingly app-like experience. Everything’s simple, uniform, and quick.

android iplayer review 11

Kirsty Wark must’ve doubled her salary since the launch of BBC4. She’s on everything.

android iplayer review 2

Oh, and it also does radio. We’re running out of things to talk about, so best stop. It’s a great, great app. If you’re not yet running Android 2.2 it’s certainly something to look forward to.

« Previous post

17 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Hmm, no download option?
    iPlayer downloader+rockplayer=win

  2. I am looking forward to this as the Beebplayer on my Desire is okay but lacks the video quality.

    Now I just need to wait for Froyo in September.

  3. Arivind

     /  August 21, 2010

    Well I just went to the site on my Froyo enabled Nexus One complete with Flash only to be told my phone is not supported.

  4. Seriously?

     /  August 23, 2010

    So let me get this straight…I can download iplayer programs on my 18 month old Nokia 5800, but I can’t on the latest and greatest Froyo enabled HTC phone?

    It’s progress, Jim, but not as we know it.

    • John

       /  August 26, 2010

      It is somewhat bizarre the official iplayer app doesn’t allow you to download on android 2.2, but 3rd party apps such as MyPlayer allow downloading, streaming and catchup over wifi or 3G for free on Android 2.1 (and below for all I know). Nokia faviouritism, I say.

  5. Stephen

     /  October 23, 2010

    Just got a new desire (2.2 & 10.1). With good wifi the iplayer site on the integrated browser & opera5.1 is nice. The flash streaming is smooth & navigation easy. With the option to stream fullscreen @ 800×480 it’s a good experience!

    One for the bookmarks.


  6. I have the HTC Desire HD – downloaded the latest version of Flash and am not able to access the BBC iPlayer mobile site – I have no bother accessing the full, Desktop website but it is not as finger friendly as the mobile version…How did you get access to the mobile version?

  7. sorted – if the browser option is set to default to full desktop sites as opposed to mobile sites, the iplayer mobile site wont work. If you uncheck this setting and go to the iplayer mobile site, it works fine…that said, the video quality seems better on the desktop site so i may stick to using that although it is a bit fiddly even with a large screen!

  8. peer

     /  December 7, 2010

    hi, can you explain how to set up the browser please?

  9. nicevans

     /  December 28, 2010

    Why no downloads? Why oh why? Myplayer just updated itself and took out the best app.

  1. Report: The BBC streamed 6400 iPlayer shows to Android devices in July » EuroDroid
  2. myPlayer taken out by the BBC – latest app update removes BBC content » Eurodroid
  3. BBC iPlayer app coming to Android as well as iPad – out this week! » Eurodroid
  4. BBC iPlayer app launched on Android Market » Eurodroid
  5. BBC iPlayer Android app review » Eurodroid

Leave a Reply

  • Reviews

    • Sony Xperia Z2 review

      This is Sony’s latest go at producing a high-spec Android flagship model, with the Xperia Z2 ticking every one of 2014’s must-have tech bullet points. It has a large 5.2-inch 1080p display. It has the hot new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset inside. It has a massive 3GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage. It’s […]

    • LG/Google Nexus 5 review

      Nexus 5It’s smooth to use, the 1080p display is sharp, clear and bright, the device is extremely light and thin and therefore very pocketable and portable — much more so than other 5-inch phones we’ve used. And yet… we’re a bit unimpressed by the overall package…

    • Vodafone Huawei Ascend G510 review

      Huawei Ascend G510A relatively high-spec smartphone, with a 4.5″ display running at 480 x 854 resolution and powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, plus the Ascend G510 arrives running Android 4.1.1 — albeit potentially hindered by Huawei only sticking 512MB of RAM inside it..

    • Kogan Agora 5.0" Dual-core Smartphone review

      We bought one of these using our actual money. We couldn’t quite believe that budget hardware maker Kogan was able to sell a 5″ Android phone for £119 plus delivery from Hong Kong so had to get one to have a look at the thing under our usual LABORATORY CONDITIONS. First impressions of the Kogan Agora […]

    • Panasonic Eluga review

      Panasonic ElugaThe Panasonic Eluga marks the company’s return to the European mobile phone scene years after several years of absence, and it’s come back to us with a moderately high-spec Android model that features a rather stylish, slim case.

    • HTC One V review

      The HTC One V is HTC’s third entry in its high-profile new HTC One range, offering a smaller 3.7″ display running on a single-core 1GHz processor. It is is very much the “affordable” option in HTC’s newest Android series, but it still arrives running the same HTC Sense 4 interface we saw in the excellent […]

    • HTC One S review

      The HTC One S is the piggy in the middle of HTC’s 2012 line-up, offering a 4.3″ AMOLED display inside a very slim and stylish aluminium chassis. You get the same ImageSense camera technology as employed to such great effect in the HTC One X, along with Android 4.0.3 and the very latest HTC Sense […]

    • HTC One X review

      Here it is then, HTC’s new quad-core monster, the 4.7″ flagship for 2012 that introduces the Tegra 3 processor to mobile phones, updates HTC’s range to Android 4.0 and brings us the supposedly streamlined version 4.0 of HTC’s Sense user interface. You also get a fantastic 8megapixel camera that we’ve previously examined in great detail, […]

    • HTC One X review: Camera, photo and video samples

      HTC’s new quad-core flagship phone doesn’t just feature Android 4.0, a 4.7″ display and Nvidia’s newest Tegra 3 chipset – there’s also an entirely new 8megapixel camera in the phone, powered by a system HTC is calling ImageSense. And this camera is one of the many highlights of the new Android phone, offering the perfect […]

    • Sony Xperia S review

      Xperia S Sony returns with an all-new mobile design for 2012, pairing a dual-core processor with a 720p display. It’s a lovely phone, but is it enough to end our Samsung and HTC obsession?

    • Sony Xperia S review: Camera, photo and video samples

      We’ve spent most of the last week captivated by the staggeringly sharp screen of the new Sony Xperia S, while putting together what will hopefully be something resembling a review for you all to read very shortly. In the meantime, to be getting on with, here are a few sample photos and videos, taken using […]

    • LG Prada 3.0 review

      LG Prada 3.0 review LG’s updated Prada phone comes with an absolutely crazy black & white theme, but is it just for fashionable suit wearers who want to make themselves look a bit more interesting?

    • ACCESSORY REVIEW: Case-Mate Tough Case for Galaxy Nexus

      £30? For a phone case? It had better be good.

    • ACCESSORY REVIEW: Samsung Official Mesh Vent Case for Galaxy Nexus

      Samsung’s official Galaxy Nexus case. Costs a lot. Has a glittery little logo.

    • ACCESSORY REVIEW: Case-Mate Barely There for Samsung Galaxy Nexus

      Fresh from reviewing the cheap and cheerful FlexiShield case for the Galaxy Nexus, we’re back with another protective offering from industry veteran Case-Mate. Although this particular product retails for around the same price as FlexiShield’s TPU option, it’s quite a different proposition. Review submitted by extremely patient retro gaming advisor Damo. As the name suggests, […]

    • ACCESSORY REVIEW: FlexiShield Case for Galaxy Nexus

      Seeing as we’ve just reviewed the brand spanking new Galaxy Nexus, we’re in the mood for some accessorising – and we don’t mean earnings and handbags. To that end, we’ll be covering a few Galaxy Nexus-themed items over the next few weeks, starting with the FlexiShield Case. Review submitted by reader, writer, gamer and occasional […]