back to article BBC testing fix for iPlayer on iPad ... 6 months later

The BBC is testing a fix for problems experienced by iPad users when using the iPlayer app. The fix is eagerly awaited by many iPad users, some of whom reported not being able to watch programmes when the app was launched back in February. Problems reported include: programmes playing for a few minutes only; programmes playing …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward

    Oh no.....

    ...the BBC didn't throw huge amount of resources to fix a bug, affecting a few people on a single device.

    1. DAN*tastik

      The problem didn't exist really

      "programmes playing via the web but not via the app..."

      it's a bit like having a broken kettle and a clean milk pan on the cooker and sobbing because you can't make yourself a coffee.

      They shouldn't have wasted money on making an app to start with. My opinion. Possibly somebody else's too?

    2. Dotter

      RE: Oh no.....

      Of course they did! It's for an iPad!

      No-one uses other tablets or devices, remember?

  2. dogged


    my Android tablet gets the same issues.

    1. Gerard Krupa

      Android Version

      The last Android release of iPlayer was supposed to be specifically for tablets according to the release notes. It completely fails on the eee Pad Transformer. Ironically it just opens up a browser on the iPlayer mobile site that reports "your phone is incompatible with the web site" despite the device working perfectly on the desktop version of the site.

      1. Dotter

        eeePad Transformer

        Same with my Transformer, unfortunately.

        Oh well, 4OD seems to be even worse, trying to view one of their programmes on the website seems to fail pretty much as soon as it hits the first ad break.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          My eeepad Transformer works fine..

          You might want to try changing a few settings to bypass the BBC's (self imposed, and beyond its remit!) browser detection.

          [Settings] [Advanced] [User agent String] Then Select "Desktop" and hey presto no more problems.


  3. Anonymous Coward

    android works fine

    Hey, I know it could be seen as trolling, but the android version has worked quite well.

    However, to stop the 'troll' comments I would like to say that a annoyances is that when you stop part way through a program, it will not pick up where you left off when you reopen the app. Particularly frustrating if it's been a few days since oyu started it and can't remember how many minutes in.

    1. zaax

      not on the HTC it doesn't

      It dosen't work on my HTC desire.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It does on mine

        Yours is broken.

      2. Eponymous Cowherd

        Nor on my Sensation

        A couple of years ago I got myself a Shiny new HTC Magic. I discovered a neat app called BeebPlayer that allowed me to watch iPlayer on it. Great.

        Then the BBC sent in the Lawyers and killed it.

        Still, there was MyPlayer. Not as good as BeebPlayer, IMHO, but it got the job done. The BBC killed that, too.

        The BBC then announced it was going to introduce its own iPlayer client. Then we found out that it would need. Android 2.2. My Magic was running 1.6, so no mobile iPlayer for this licence payer.

        Then Vodafone upgraded my phone to 2.2. Finally I get iPlayer back? Errm, nope. the "official" iPlayer runs under Flash and Flash needs and ARMv7 processor and the Magic has an ARMv6 processor, so still no iPlayer.

        I recently upgraded to a shiny new HTC Sensation. 1.2GHz dual core ARMv7 processor. Finally I get iPlayer back.

        Errm, nope.

        While I can, now, install it and run it, the sound is always so far out of sync with the picture that its unwatchable.

        So, over two years after some bloke working on his own produced an iPlayer client that would work on *any* Android phone, play over 3G, play radio in the background and generally just *work*, the might of the BBC can do no better than this pile of bloated Flash shite that can't even play a radio stream unless the f***ing screen is on.

    2. nation of stupid

      Yep, rubbish

      The actual Android app was rubbish - amazingly it works better now they have dropped it and 'upgraded' it to a web link wrapped up as an app. Still can't download a program to view later, if they did that it might stop being rubbish.Amazing how much better myplayer was, if one man can create an app that accessed and let you download the high quality iPhone/iPad mp4 stream why the hell can't the might of the BBC do the same.

  4. Dave Wray
    Big Brother

    Small number of users?????

    Bullshit. The IPad is one of the most standardised devices you can possibly run this cr-app on. There sre no obscure video drivers, network drivers, or other things to worry about ala Windows world. This issue is affecting most if not all IPad users:

    "although it admits many have reported problems to the BBC iPlayer message "

    It just couldn't be bothered.........

    1. Cameron Colley

      But most other platforms are standardised also.

      They run Flash and that handles any device and/or OS peculiarities.

      Granted, I'd love them to drop Flash in favor of native applications, but that's not likely to happen ever due to DRM being a requirement. If Steve Jobs wasn't such an egomaniac and just let Flash on his platform (even if it had a disclaimer "NOT RECCOMENDED BY APPLE, NOT SUPPORTED") there would currently only be the one platform for The Beeb to support.

      Same goes for the other video on demand services in the UK -- ITV player app seems to think that a resident of the UK doesn't have access to ITV1 so won't let me play it, for example. If I use my £220 netbook, with Flash, everything works fine and dandy but the £400 iPad I've been resting is a hassle.

      If you bought an iDevice expecting people like the Beeb to support you with apps I've no sympathy whatsoever -- Steve stated from day 1 the platform was locked and limited.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apple doesn't do half-arsed

        @Cameron Colley: "even if it had a disclaimer "NOT RECCOMENDED BY APPLE, NOT SUPPORTED") "

        I believe Flash would have been accepted if Adobe had been able to pull its finger out and make it work properly. Fact is, Flash is still performing very badly for many tasks on mobile devices, and Adobe has had *years* to get this right.

        Apple is typically hard-nosed about half-finished features - they don't ship to customers. I know it doesn't always work out that way, but that's the policy. Hence the iPhone shipped with no copy/paste. It wasn't finished, so it didn't ship. Adobe didn't finish Flash (and still haven't), so it doesn't ship. In the end, Apple couldn't wait any longer. Holding out for technology that purports to be a web standard but doesn't deliver isn't a tenable position. We - not just Apple - need to cut the cord. Other than owning shares in Adobe, I don't see why anyone would still want to wave the flag for Flash - it's just embarrassing.

        1. Cameron Colley

          Then apple need to make the apps.

          I don't know about anyone else, but i'm not about to spend four hundred quid on this thing when the netbook I got for almost half the price does more.

          Yes, Flash is annoying and bloated but it allows iPlayer and the like to function on more devices than any other technology I can think of. Until someone invents an encrypted video stream format we're stuck with Flash, Silver(shudder)light and whatever people pay Apple to code.

          Jobs seems to thk that it's the Beebs job to provide apps and content to his device and pay him for the priviledge -- his customers shoud consider this before paying for somethingt that "just works" if developers pay Apple to advertise Apple hardware.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Yes it does

          That'll be why for Lion, Apple put out a 666mb update a few days after release.

          "Apple is typically hard-nosed about half-finished features" <-- brainwashed mact-ard

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Think Different - Think Stupid

      "Bullshit. The IPad is one of the most standardised devices you can possibly run this cr-app on."

      You mean that thing that doesn't run Flash? I don't think so. Given two different pieces of locked down crap you should at least pick the one that's more useful.

  5. Bakunin

    While they're at it

    While they're at it could they fix that iPlayer bug that's on all the other platforms. You know, the one where you have to use Flash.

  6. Jacqui

    apps have to now cope with

    a number of tweaks aimed to stop get_iplayer and linux users. This includes corruption of data streams!

    It seems that this corruption causes random faults in some players but there is no way the BBC will admit that the fault was designed and implemented by thier own staff.

    Perhaps they should read up on the provability of non deterministic software.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    too technical for Y&Y listeners

    to be fair, the typical audience of You and Yours probably is none too technical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I've always assumed there's a huge overlap between the audience for You & Yours and The Daily Mail.

      'Today, the hidden peril of doors. Electricity - it sound terrifying, but is it? We investigate further. And at 12:30 we'll have a live studio discussion over the tragic case of Mrs. Volvox who stepped outside at eleven o'clock yesterday evening to find it was dark. What is 'night time' and how do we ban it?'

      Mind you, the misery of accidentally tuning into You & Yours is nothing compared to the unspeakable of horror of 'Moneybox Live'.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: too technical for Y&Y listeners

      To be equally fair, the final lines of the article suggests that the BBC man considers the El Reg audience to be too stupid, too. After all, he said he'd be happy to explain it, so it must just be us.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That explains it...

    We've been able to use iPlayer smoothly on most devices (including iPhones), but the iPad has been problematic. We haven't reported the problem because we simply assumed it was a delivery problem at the BBC end. They may have grossly underestimated the extent of the problems experienced. Nice to know the problem has been found and will be fixed.

  9. nyelvmark

    BBC streaming video just crap generally, in my experience - not just on fondleslabs. You can't skip forward, and if there's a break in the transmission, the video restarts from the beginning. That's assuming you don't get the "This content doesn't appear to be working - try again later" message.

    Being outside the UK, I also have to suffer the commercials which precede each clip. These are immensely annoying because the Beeb only seems to have 3 or 4 advertisers. I generally get to see each ad 50-100 times before it's replaced by something equally irrelevant to me.

    1. Yet Another Commentard


      I still think the beeb is missing a trick here. For those of us who pay the licence fee we should input our licence numbers (with a maximum, of, say, 7 concurrent uses).

      Overseas people could pony up for a licence, and lose the ads, or suffer the ads and not pay the licence.

      1. OziWan

        Re: Commercials

        The possibility exists for the foreigners and expats. You can pay I think 9 Euros /month and then the adverts go away (at least that is the case in NL). The app works fine on my ipad but in common with most people in NL, I have a very good quality internet connection.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    errrr someone's lying...

    If 900,000 people have downloaded the app and only a 'small number of people' have had issues, how can they expect 70 people (yes .00007% of the users) to effectively test it??

    Because if they'd tested the original with only 70 people - they'd have been VERY lucky to have found the original problem...

    I suggest to you - it's not such a small number of people with the issues... Why not just admit it?! That's the odd thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      .007..! Still...

      1. James Hughes 1


        But if those 70 people were all people who reported the problem, and it went away for all 70....what would you think then?

        To me that would appear to be a good fix with a 100% success rate in fixing the problem. It might of course not fix ALL the problems, as those 70 may all have had exactly the same problem an there may be others, but the chances of that are quite low. Or just perhaps, there is only one problem (shame the Beeb haven't said what it is).

  11. Alan Denman

    Nothing ever exists if there is a non disclosure agreement.

    Its that darn Bermuda triangle of Apple again.

  12. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Too many variables?

    It could be for numerous reasons.

    There are plenty of people on really ropey slow broadband connections. There are plenty of people with poor wireless routers.

    Perhaps the fix is to buffer more?

    When you stream then you do need good bandwidth with not too much jitter.

  13. Anonymous Hero

    The BBC are crap at bug fixing generally

    For a long time, when playing "Listen Again" radio programmes, the (browser based) BBC iPlayer would play fine for ~10mins, then start playing a second stream of the same programme in the background which was between 1 and 10 minutes behind.

    This happened regardless of browser or Windows version. Despite many complaints about this problem on the iPlayer message board the problem just seemed to be ignored because it only affected a "small number" of users. The problem lasted for ~5 months and got to the point I gave up on the iPlayer.

    The BBC iPlayer development group are utterly shite when it comes to listening to users reporting bugs. There's virtually no useful communication from their staff on the support message boards. Much as I love the BBC's content, sadly we're stuck with this crap level of support. Maybe it's time the iPlayer lot were hived off into a performance driven business environment where their jobs relied on looking into these issues and communicating with users in a timeous fashion instead of the bollocks support we get at the moment.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd

      Even less now

      as they have shut the iPlayer support message boards down.

      Its the arrogance of people like Danker that gets to me. There is no real doubt that the Android iPlayer is not fit for purpose. It won't work at all on mid-low range phones by dint of their ARMv6 processors (e.g Orange San Francisco, HTC Wildfire S) and of those it does run on, at least half are reporting serious problems on the Android market comments (sound synch issues, transport controls not hiding, frequent freezes / crashes, won't play radio in background, won't play over 3G, etc).

      Yet they absolutely refuse to acknowledge the problems and respond to complaints with head-in-sand "let them eat cake" platitudes.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: The BBC are crap at bug fixing generally

      "For a long time..."

      "The problem lasted for ~5 months and got to the point I gave up on the iPlayer."

      Umm, the tone of your post suggests that you believe this problem was eventually fixed. That must be a different iPlayer from the one I'm using here, then. Perhaps they only fixed the Windows version.

  14. Yet Another Commentard

    Licence fee payers

    "it's really crucial that folks have a really good ... internet connection in the home"

    That rules out most of the UK then, who actually pay for the darn thing.

    Grumble grumble grumble.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Holding it wrong...

    It's obvious that the users experience difficulty getting iPlayer on the iPad because they are holding it wrong.

    Auntie will be issuing free Bumpers soon.

  16. David Evans

    So let me get this straight...

    ...The iPad version of iPlayer, the ONLY version of iPlayer the BBC has released internationally, is also the only version of iPad that doesn't actually work? Oh, Bravo.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Where's Ashley Highfield when you need him?

    Why aren't linux users suffering? It's wrong I tell you.

  18. Neily-boy

    This one's for the haters - Go on, take your best shot!

    Sounds like you should have all bought a playbook instead? iplayer is superb on that thing.

    When Laziridid asked why you would want an app, when the full web version of a program can be accessed, it looks like the howls of derision were somewhat misplaced. He was correct wasn't he?

    Cue the haters.........

    Oooh, I love winding these people up!

  19. Nick Pettefar

    No Sound!

    My iPad2 iPlayer only works through earphones, not the speaker. Weird.

    There seems to be no way of contacting the developers/fixers. Hello!?

    I am in Brussels.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How DO you report it?

    Of the five people in this office, ALL have had problems with the iPlayer, stopping after 5-8 mins, hanging, refuding to play.

    This is all at home on different networks and setups.

    And all have not reported it. How exactly DO you report it? That's why they claim low numbers.

  21. marc 9

    A pointless app anyway

    Until it let's you download for offline viewing it's pointless. Any place I am near a decent Wifi connection I am usually near a decent telly.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Problems

    Why is it I never seem to have any problems with any of my tech? Works perfect on my HTC Desire S.

    "it will not pick up where you left off when you reopen the app. Particularly frustrating if it's been a few days since oyu started it and can't remember how many minutes in."

    Just who would do that? what would be the point of watching something you cant remeber the start of? Thats just wierd man.

    By god the country is just full to the brim of saps.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like