iPlayer for iPad Is Three Features Away From Useful

A week ago, the BBC launched iPlayer for iPad onto the App Store. I’ve played with it a little bit, and the interface is superb, so lightweight you almost don’t notice it. It improves, slightly, on the website in that there’s a schedule page where you can select past or live programmes to view. So it’s a good start. But there are three things I want the iPlayer App for iPad to do that it doesn’t yet:

  1. Output video. You can plug the iPad into a TV with a component or composite video cable.  When you view iPlayer in Safari you can already do this, so it really ought to be in the App.
  2. Send video via Airplay.  If you have a new Apple TV you can send video wirelessly from the iPad to the screen hooked up to the Apple TV.  It would be great to do this from iPlayer.
  3. Save stuff for offline viewing.  Surely this is the whole point of having the app?  There is a favourites function, but you can only watch your favourites while you have an internet connection. I want to watch previously selected TV shows while I’m on the train for example.

Go on, BBC, make it happen!

Update 4/9/12 The BBC are adding the capability for saving stuff offline will be implemented (via @jpodcaster). With Airplay having come in as a result of Apple’s improvements in iOS5, that just leaves video out as the missing feature that prevents the app from achieving perfection!

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

2 thoughts on “iPlayer for iPad Is Three Features Away From Useful

    1. Ah, let me guess… You’ve got one of this swish newer generation iThings that support mirroring everything, even over Airplay, and all that jazzy stuff?

      For older (ie 2010) devices and for the VGA/composite outputs, I believe it’s got to be supported on a per-app basis. Safari supports it, so if I use the iPlayer web version it works. But then I won’t get offline viewing. (Though I’ll admit I haven’t tested iPlayer 2.0 with composite so maybe they’ve sneaked in support unannounced.)

      Perhaps the BBC just assumes we’ll all get newer iPhones soon. (And all TVs will have HDMI as well…)

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