BBC brings TV downloads to iPad and iPhone

by Dale Wright

If you’ve been on holiday this summer, you’ll probably have noticed that apps like iPlayer don’t work overseas. That’s because of complex licensing laws which prevent free streaming of TV content outside the UK.

iPlayer iPad BBC brings TV downloads to iPad and iPhone

This can actually be a blessing in disguise when on holiday, as massive mobile broadband bills for data streaming can be a nasty shock when users get home.

Today, the BBC have announced that smartphone and tablet users will be able to download and save TV shows in the UK and watch them later while on holiday or when travelling. This means you’ll be able to watch iPlayer on a plane, at the beach or in your holiday villa, all without having to pay extra. All you need to do is download the content over your own home connection – or a free wifi provider – before you leave the country.

Once downloaded, BBC TV shows will be accessible on your tablet or phone for 30 days. Once you’ve started watching something, you’ll have another 7 days to finish watching the content before it’s automatically removed.

iPlayer iPhone BBC brings TV downloads to iPad and iPhone

The iPlayer app doesn’t restrict the amount of content you can save, although users will be limited by their device’s internal memory. To download the maximum amount of content, make sure you set iPlayer to standard definition rather than HD. Press reports suggest that users will get 50 hours of standard definition TV on a 16gb iPhone or iPad, but if you already have lots of photos, videos and audio on your phone, you won’t be able to download quite this much.

For now, the download function is only available on the iPlayer’s iPhone and iPad apps, but Android updates are reportedly on the horizon. This great new feature may have come too late for the summer holiday season, but those jetting off for some autumn and winter sunshine will be able to use the feature from today.