For British Xbox One owners, BBC iPlayer is one of the apps we've waited on the longest. Similar catch-up TV offerings from Channel 4 (4OD) and Channel 5 (Demand 5) have been available for a while, but the BBC app has been frustratingly absent. That recently changed and now we've got almost the full repertoire – ITV anyone? – and all the BBC TV shows we can shake our controllers at.
But while we're pleased to have it, it's by no means perfect. Read on to find out more.
On the design front things are pretty decent. Anyone who's ever used the iPlayer on other platforms or the web will feel right at home. Text is large, images are large and generally it's well laid out. It'd be hard to call it pretty, or anything else to that effect, but it's not horrible to look at in any way. One nice touch is that whatever you're watching will remain playing in the background if you decide to look for something else. Sure, you won't see the picture but you'll at least be able to follow along with the audio.
Performance draws both praise and criticism. Starting with the positives, it seems pretty fast at streaming content. I have a good broadband connection, but so far there haven't been any real signs of buffering. You choose something to watch and you're almost instantly watching it.
The negative comes from just navigating the app. While it's not unbearable it's just not smooth. When you're looking at something that's a little janky on a screen as big as this you notice. And when you've noticed once you can't un-notice.
Diving into the settings you'll find a couple of really useful features. If you're on a slower broadband connection there are a few options to reduce the quality of the video to keep things running as smoothly as possible. If you've got kids, too, take advantage of the parental controls to help keep them away from things they shouldn't be watching.
All told, BBC iPlayer for Xbox One is good enough. And that's all it really needs to be. It'd be great if it was smoother all round and discovering things to watch still isn't a strong suit for the service since it's still essentially a catch-up offering. But it's here, and if you know what you want to watch then you're all set.
Download it now for free from the Xbox One store.
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