BBC finally releases iPlayer for Windows Phone and it's a strong start

The British Broadcasting Corporation has released its catch-up service on Windows Phone with the iPlayer now available for Windows Phone 8 consumers. The app enables users to check out shows they may have missed the past seven days across the BBC channels. As we've covered previously, the BBC hasn't developed a native client as such, but has opted to start with a mobile web wrapper of its website.

So why have we said it's a "strong start" if we're only looking at a wrapper? Consumers have to take a step back and be grateful we have such a solution in the first place. The ability to watch past BBC shows on a Windows Phone while on the move is something we've been demanding for (literally) years. Here's what is highlighted on the app listing:

  • On demand content over Wi-Fi and 3G.
  • Add shows to your favourites so new episodes are quick to find for you to enjoy later.
  • Ability to listen to BBC Radio in the background.                 
  • Browse programmes by category, schedule, featured and most popular.

Be sure to check your data plan limitations before watching to your heart's content when not on the home network. Favourites can be configured, which is a welcomed step by those who enjoy tuning into a programme series. Search capabilities include browsing programmes by category, schedule, featured and most popular. What's more is the support for BBC radio as an added bonus.

BBC iPlayer

So where can the BBC take its iPlayer app from here? We'll expect to see further development towards a native app on Windows Phone. With enough interest displayed by the community and the rising marketshare in multiple markets (including the UK), the broadcaster can't ignore the platform and its users, especially since it's a public-funded corporation. We'll look forward to full use of panorama controls with a simpler layout.

You can download BBC iPlayer from the Windows Phone Store (region restrictions in place and is listed for Windows Phone 8 only). Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

QR: BBC iPlayer

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • :D
  • 1xtra
  • can not download lumia 920
  • Works fine on my 920.
  • Same on my 8X. Maybe because I'm not in the UK.
  • Not available in Finland:(
  • Its a British only app
  • It's obviously UK only as the content is not available outside the UK
  • But you can do the region change trick lol..
  • Kindly explain
  • Still won't work, the BBC check which country your IP Address is in and refuse to play content if you are outside the UK, unless you use Tor of course.
  • Or VPN, or DNS spoofing.
  • Which is why we stated region restrictions are in place.
  • Not available in Israel waaa
  • It's pretty good. How do you even tell what is a wrap and what's a native app anyway? What's the difference?
  • A wrapper is just a walled version of a website. Think of it like this, go to on your phone, and then open the Facebook app on your phone. That's the difference between a wrapper and a native app.
  • Not available in the Andromeda system, fail! :)
  • I LOL'd out loud at this one!
  • You laughed out loud, out loud...?
  • Not available on Tatooine! It's ok 'cause I'm going to the Tosche station to pick up power converters.
  • Yup, the British Imperium is not what it used to be... :)
  • Yeah its a tough life out here on the U.S.S Enterprise without this app!
  • Not available on the surface of the Sun, what a fail!!!!
  • Glad its here but not very pretty at the minute. They could make the panorama design work really well. Hopefully they'll go onto designing a native app.
  • Not available in India. Why? Why?
  • Explained already.
  • Ya. Got that
  • "step back and be grateful" for what you get is the name of the game with WP. Unfortunately, I'm turning from a "fan boy" to a hater. Maybe blue will change that, but its looking slim.
  • Oh, come on. We're talking phones and apps. When did using a beautiful but imperfect OS turn into a cult? Let's not start another thirty years war over religion.
  • Make like a tree and go away.
  • Uh, that's "split" Biff!!!
  • Lol, i didn't expect anyone to get that.
  • I don't, but I want to!
  • Split? It's "make like a tree and leave (leaf)" At least in the BTTF movies ;)
  • Oh, I see :)
  • Actually what Biff says is "Make like a tree and get outta here". He's then corrected and told it's "Split. Make like a tree and split".
  • Haha I knew it was "leave" :)
  • What are you on mate? BBC iplayer can only legally be available in the UK becuse of licenses. This has nothing to do with WP.
  • What's disappointing is that the BBC doesn't change its contract terms to permit mobile access outside of the UK.
  • Not really, it's all to do with licensing. That's why Hulu Plus doesn't work outside the US!!!
  • I'm just a little down about the reports on the next update or blue. I'll be very disappointed if there's no notification/toast center and music sync options aren't fixed... and yeah, sorry, wrong thread.
  • If those things were so important to you why did you buy a WP in the first place?
  • Working great on 8x
  • About time BBC, nice to see my licence fee being put to good use for a change. 
  • About time! Glad BBC finally pulled their finger out their_____!
  • Out of their what? Please tell me, i must know what you meant!
  • Honey pot.
  • Speaking of: Katty Kay.
  • haha honey pot is much better than what I meant, for intrigued minds I meant arse :P
  • "bum" would be another variant of "arse" that the yanks might not understand :P
  • is there any video player that can play .mkv files in the WP market? the default player doesnt :(
  • Vlc player is under develop, it has been for a while so it shouldn't be so much longer before it comes out
  • thanks for the info mate.
  • ah, the number of people reacting without reading. What has happened to the world?
  • Waaaah, why doesn't the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation app work for me? I live on the Easter islands in the south pacific! This is terrible, im going to go and buy a Firefox phone! /s
  • You just had me cracking!!! LOL
  • Lol these forums cam be so funny sometimes. We should think about putting out a sitcom. :)
  • Haha, MS should turn the wedding ad into a mini-series on XBox!
  • WMPU always seems to be faster with news than wpcentral. Pity their website is so amateur.
  • I think WMPU just posts away without proofreading, verifying sources and is more focused on generating more clicks. That's a blog, cloaked as a news. WPCentral is where true journalism for Windows Phone is. People here actually proofread and verify their sources for reliability before firing up the submit or publish button. WPMU is like android banking on quantity of articles not quality. And don't get me starting with the rubbish and utterly obnoxious Surur who is so full of himself he thinks he is the god of windows phone.
  • Well, unlike said website, we've covered the Nokia event on the floor. Hence why we're slightly slow this morning as we recover from gallons of alcohol and M&Ms. We're generally not slower at all. Sure we sometimes miss stories they pick up and have to be slightly behind, but we have much more content and at higher quality, if I do say so myself.
  • exactly what i am pointing out. This is the go-to site for windows phone related news and articles. the other site is where utter rubbish populate their articles.
  • I'm partial to Dolly Mixture's myself. :)
  • I look at both websites for my WP news daily and I can probably count on one hand the amount of times you guys have been first with the news. I don't mind though, your articles are always much more in depth and worth the extra few hours it takes to get them out. Plus I love the wpcentral app.
  • lol, that's because we don't enforce COPY & PASTE to our content teams. We prefer to raise the bar ;-)
  • We have Xbox gaming news before them plenty of times. But one key reason that our articles take longer is they are more than two sentences long. We don't just copy and paste the store description or the developer email and call it a day; we actually offer insight and analysis of the story.
  • Sucks, should be available for expats.
  • Still pay your licence fee do you?
  • Why? You pay no tax and no license fee. 
  • In the same way that every other iteration of iPlayer isn't legally available for expats?
  • Fookin finally!!!!! Just waiting for itv player and 4od and demand 5
  • I'm surprised 4od weren't first actually, they were really on the ball with Windows 8
  • I'm curious, do you just want 5Demand for the collection...?
  • Gosh, I remember having an iPlayer client on my HD2 like three years ago! Crazy that it's taken this long for them to put even a wrapper together but it's better than not having one at all. I feel bad for the WP7 users though (again).
    I'm hoping for a Windows 8 app at some point. While the website is nice, a native app is always a smoother experience.
  • Think of it this way....there wasn't an iPlayer for Android until right before Android started to balloon, so this must be some sort of a good sign....
  • Lol, sure.
  • Apart from it beign true, nothing wrong with oprimism ;)
  • Not available in Jamaica. Lol
  • I wonder why that is? /s
  • Works great over 3g in the uk on my 920 downloading would be a welcome addition...
  • Cool, now give us a News app you tight arse feckers. Bloody BBC, its not like I can choose to not pay my license fee...
  • Just pin a link to the BBC news website. Even when I had an iPhone I didn't use the BBC news app. The BBC's mobile website is great and I always thought it was faster then the app.
  • The web apps app does this quite well too
  • Well u could technically not pay for it jus means no tv like i do not paid for it for about 5 month
  • Not available in France.
  • Well it is an app from the BRITISH broadcasting corporation, the programs are licensed for viewing in the UK only so it's no wonder it's unavailable in France!!!!
  • Getting really annoyed with people confirming where it doesn't work now =/
  • Pmsl. Should work in Dennark as they get BBC channels
  • Its ok. Nice to see a start from the BBC. Enjoying some doctor who now
  • BBC sucks
  • Why, because they released an app for the UK only, there's a reason for that and you'll find it if you read the article!!!
  • Basically. I know and understand the reason, doesn't mean I have to like it. There are many shows on BBCA that I like to watch and BBCA is not always available in some places I travel to.
  • Actually, they wanted to offer the iplayer on a subscription basis to the rest of the world, in fact plans for this are still progressing. But the US and Canada is a complete no-no, as not only did the cable companies etc inform the BBC that if they offered it to the US/CA, they'd pull the BBCA channel off their networks, but they'd also stop co-operating with BBC on show productions (Doctor Who for example actually majorly funded by the Canadian Broadcasting Association) and possibly even stop selling content to them... So the BBC shelved the idea pretty quick. As I say though, the plans for other countries are still progressing, so far at least...
  • Whoop! This must mean the official BBC News app is round the corner...
  • Don't count on it, this is the BBC we're talking about here!!!
  • Youd be hard pressed to notice its just a mobile site as it feels fluid and looks like an app
  • if this is simply a wrapper for their website, what was stopping them releasing for WP7 too?
    Don't get me wrong it's great that they've finally released something, but i'm locked into a contract for another year or so on my Lumia 800 and feeling more and more restricted as all these cool apps get released for WP8 :(
  • BBC should make their content available in the USA for monthly fee!
  • Actually, they wanted to offer the iplayer on a subscription basis to the rest of the world, in fact plans for this are still progressing. But the US and Canada is a complete no-no, as not only did the cable companies etc inform the BBC that if they offered it to the US/CA, they'd pull the BBCA channel off their networks, but they'd also stop co-operating with BBC on show productions (Doctor Who for example actually majorly funded by the Canadian Broadcasting Association) and possibly even stop trading content with them... So the BBC shelved the idea pretty quick. As I say though, the plans for other countries are still progressing, so far at least...
  • WP7 users left out once again
  • I agree entirely. I was an early adopter of WP in the UK, getting a WP7 Lumia when Nokia released it (November 2011). Since then, we had the fact that it was not upgradeable to WP8 (though ancient iPhones are still upgradable to their latest OS) and now really important services such as iPlayer (which I pay my licence fee for as much as anyone else) is not coming to the handset that I bought believing that WP7.5 was the 'next big thing', and not just a temporary stopgap until a whole new way of doing things came along with WP8.
    It has taken so long to get the iPlayer 'app' at all for WP, so I am confident that it will never be available for WP7.5, and I appreciate that whilst this is not MS's fault, I am still quite bitter at the fact that they sold us the belief that the platform was a supported one and then left us hanging, whilst developers like the BBC (probably quite rightly) choose not to develop for an already dead platform.
  • Yes it is crap how they dealt with WP7 users but not much is going to change about that now.
    Assuming you are on a 2 year contract you will be upgrading in Novmeber. You should therefore have access to whatever new windows phone is released then as it's likely they will follow up with a new flagship running the "blue" update of WP8. It's shite for now but at least in 6 months you can get the latest model and know it will be fully supported. It's not that far away.
  • Yep and people are suprised at that. Why did you think Nokia gave away 1000s of them. Just a foot in door model
  • I'm still upset with the BBC for how they treated Lawrence Gripper.
  • Upset?  Crying are you?  Aaw, son.
  • Guys its very easy to download any app if it doesnt support ur country (just goto setting n change ur regional setting to uk if it support uk and u can download and again u can change into ur home country setting)
  • And as I mentioned earlier the app won't work as the website checks where your IP Address is located and refuses to play content if you are outside the UK!!!!
  • At last
  • Works really well on Lumia 520 with great quality
  • Are you in the us?
  • Not available in North Korea
  • Poor job on the app, but at least it's a start. Still knowing how much a bunch of Apple fanboys they are, don't count on the BBC News app. The iOS version is basically a rip off of Pulse for iPhone, I can't imagine how much worse the WP8 version will be. 
  • 800 years of misery for us in Ireland - least they could do for us now is allow us to access BBC iPlayer
  • I like that one -- too funny
  • A big thick middle finger to Microsoft and BBC for colluding to deprive WP7.5 using license fee payers a worthy mobile wrapper. Judging by how MS has restricted Facebook, Skype, Viber updates to wp7.5, this must be yet another deceitful blockade from them. Update to WP8? Not in a million years! 
  • BBC hates anything that isn't Apple, so why do you think MS and BBC are colluding together? This app is bare bones as it is. I suspect BBC just threw us a bone so we wouldn't complain as much, but it is still a piss poor effort.
  • 7.8 was a beta test phone. Microsoft shafting users never :-P
    Dear USA readers getting all upset. Us UK readers have read about PLENTY of apps on here that aren't available in the UK over the years so this is payback time! Seriously, calm down, they'll do one for you eventually....... Hang on in there. 
    Just to recap, not available................... Anywhere except the UK. Even if you change the region of your phone. 
  • Dear UK, if you take back Russell Brand, we'll take back Madonna.  On second thought, you can keep them both.
  • I think I'm right in saying that you have them both these days, you're welcome!
    Lots of love 
  • Finally!
  • I know the UK has a decent wp market share. I hope they all take advantage of this to show devs that if its good enough for the BBC its good enough for them.
  • WP7 users microshafted again.
  • Doesn't work on windows 7.8 :-(
  • Hopefully this could mean a domino effect for the other uk catch up services to get a app together
  • Maybe it can be hacked for 7.8 owners by checking what it is sending and altering the http user agent. You can have the app name CBB iPlaya.
  • I'm still using the 3rd party BBC News Mobile app for news. Can't get the player being that I'm not in UK any longer which is BS tbh.
  • About time too. After all that BS from bbc about not making an app etc etc
  • Such as same that BBC Iplayer is not avalibe on Windows phone 7.8 , along with other apps not built for WP 7.8 i am consdering switching to either IOS or Android , such as disapointment 
  • Not available in Canada, sucks
  • 7.8 support please
  • If you using 7.8 get the app "Listen Again" 
    This app lets you listen to BBC iPlayer radio from the last seven days.  It does not show video.
  • Crap!!!
    WP 7.x skipped again. What a surprise ?
  • After waiting for 1 year and 7 months finally it's done! Thank you BBC and MS for finally sorting it out... It's excellent quality. Looking forward to [hopefully] a download to watch offline option.
  • This is for UK only  :-(
  • GD, BBC
  • Finally. :-)
  • It's exactly the same as the website you get on any other mobile OS. It's great to have it, but it would be nice to see something a little metro-y.
  • Guess I'll keep using that BBC app that got taken down.  Take that!