The BBC has announced a significant update to their iPlayer app for Windows Phone with many new features.
Besides adding a new look and feel to the app, the update has now also added the following new features:
The BBC has expanded the number of apps it has available in the Windows Phone Store by delivering the BBC Good Food app today.
The app is free to download, and comes with 20 recipes, like, Beef & beer pie, Summer vegetable curry and Chocolate & raspberry pots. It also includes a basic glossary of ingredients and techniques, to get you started.
Each recipe includes nutritional information on kcals, protein, carbs, fat, saturated fat, fibre, sugar and salt per serving.
The free can can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store here.
TopGear is a universally popular car show, not just known for showing off the latest cars, but also for the crazy stunts they pull with the same cars.
BBC’s TopGear Race the Stig game is therefore pretty much in the vein of the show, allowing players to take on the mysterious Stig and drive a collection of crazy cars, dodging traffic, jumping caravans and speeding through famous Top Gear locations in an epic race that will push you to your limits.
The free game, which was released simultaneously on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store here.
See the trailer after the break.
While the BBC is not known for their love of Windows Phone, it seems they are working to bring more of their apps to the OS.
The Official UK Radioplayer app, which features all BBC services, and hundreds more great British radio stations, has recently slipped into the Windows Phone store.
The app features live streams of radio, and also allows users to browse BBC’s catch-up programmes and podcasts collection, including hundreds of shows from the BBC iPlayer.
UK Radioplayer Ltd is a not-for-profit company backed by the BBC, and are also partnered with Absolute Radio (who run Absolute Radio 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and Classic Rock), Global Radio (owners of stations like Heart, Capital, Gold, LBC, XFM, Chill, Choice and Classic FM), and the people from Smooth Radio and Real Radio.
Other stations in Radioplayer include talkSPORT, Kiss, Kisstory, Magic, Kerrang, Planet Rock, Jazz FM, Fun Kids, Ministry of Sound, Free radio, Gaydio, Radio Caroline, Radio Jackie, and TeamRock. The app even includes community and student stations. Individual stations can be pinned to the start screen.
The free app, which appears to be restricted to UK residents, can be found in the Windows Phone Store here.
I guess with Windows Phone’s increasing market share in the UK the BBC is warming up to the platform.
They have just released the CBeebies Playtime app for Windows Phone. Designed for children, the app is filled with games and other interactive features to keep the little ones busy and educated them on the sly.
The app features:
The app is free and can be found in the Windows Phone Store here.
Windows Phone users will well know the saga involved in getting BBC iPlayer to support Windows Phone, and that the resulting app is about as half-assed as one can get.
We can therefore be forgiven for feeling the BBC is not exactly friends of our platform.
It seems however even Android users, who are the majority of customers in UK, are feeling unloved by the the public service company.
In 2011 the BBC Trust received a complaint accusing them of favouring iOS over Android by adding a number of iPlayer features to the iPhone version before adding it to the Android app, including features such as making programs available for offline use, and that updates would come to the iOS version well before coming to Android.
The BBC has denied the accusation, making the usual excuses about fragmentation (4000 phones from 600 companies) and increased engagement on the iOS platform, saying:
“[The iOS app caters to] a demographic that was more likely, both in percentage terms and absolute numbers, to use BBC on-demand services. While the BBC must do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure that viewers can access its on-demand content in a range of convenient and cost-effective ways, this did not necessarily mean that it would always be expected to launch new features on different platforms simultaneously.”
While denying the accusation, the BBC Trust also promised to ‘monitor progress’ on the app releases, and requesting that the BBC continue to keep updating the Android version of iPlayer regularly, and to ensure download support for programs were delivered to Android in 2013 ( a year after its 2012 debut on iOS).
The response however made no reference to other platforms, but did note than the company had an obligation to:
Windows Phone is a mobile platform which only has limited access to BBC’s services, has a pretty poor quality experience, is not delivering value for money for UK Windows Phone users, despite us being forced to pay the license fees, and is being discriminated against for being a minority platform.
Given that I think it is clear the BBC has failed Windows Phone users on most of those grounds, and that the only real excuse would be that Windows Phone does not have the reach of the other platforms (a rapidly changing situation) I think it is more than fair that we launch our own complaint, which can be easily done here.
By only serving large platforms the BBC is failing its public service charter. Given that I am forced to pay BBC should be forced to serve my platform, which has at least a million users in the country.
Do our readers agree? Let us know below.
The BBC has famously made all kinds of excuses about why they can not support Windows Phone with an iPlayer app, ranging from blaming OS bugs to small market share.
It seems however these issues did not represent an insurmountable obstacle to the developers of TVCatchup, who already have a Windows 8 app, and are looking to expand to Windows Phone.
They showed the app to AAWP, who posted the screen shots above.
The app does not quite allow one to watch TV on demand however, and really only streams Live TV, either over 3G or WIFI.
Together with a built-in program guide that is however better than nothing, and the app features Live tiles allowing oneâ€™s favourite channels to be pinned.
Streaming is only allowed by UK residents (a restriction of the law) and the app should hit the store in the next few weeks.
Maybe now that they see it is possible to stream their content on Windows Phone BBC may have a change of heart? We are not holding our breaths however.
WPCentral reports that the BBC has written to a reader explaining why they are not making a Windows Phone 7 app for their streaming TV service.
Daniel Danker, General Manager of Programmes & On Demand for the BBC in short laid the blame squarely on the Windows Phone OS.
He blamed Windows Phone users â€œdifferent technologiesâ€ for streaming than iPhone and Android, presumably referring to HTTP Live Streaming, a proprietary Apple streaming technology.
This reason is rather specious, given that the BBC supports numerous platforms, including ones such as Ubuntu, with many using their own unique streaming technologies.
iPlayer supports the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PS3, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry Bold2, Blackberry Storm 2, Linux, Apple Mac, Windows computers, and Netgear and Linksys home media hubs, amongst others. Its hard to see how they could not have spared to effort to support Windows Phone also.
He also blamed the impeding arrival for Windows Phone 8, which according to Daniel means they will need to rewrite their apps.
"Unfortunately Microsoft have also announced that Windows Phone 8 apps will be different yet again, so any Windows Phone 7 app we make would have to be rebuilt from the ground up for the next version of Windows Phone."
We of course know this is bogus, as Microsoft has repeatedly confirmed Windows Phone 7 apps will work on Windows Phone 8.
Lastly he blamed the fact that web streaming was not working on a bug in the Windows Phone 7 browser which Microsoft refused to fix, writing:
â€œ…today there’s a bug in Windows Phone that prevents our standards-based media from being played on those devices. Microsoft has been aware of the bug for over a year now, and we’re hopeful they’ll address it (on Windows Phone 7 as well as Windows Phone 8) so our Windows Phone audiences can access iPlayer.â€
He concluded that he had hopes for Windows Phone 8, but not for current Windows Phone 7 users, saying:
â€œAs you can see, there’s no easy answer. I’m optimistic that one or both of the options above will become possible in Windows Phone 8, but that’s little help to people like you who are using Windows Phone 7. Nonetheless, hopefully this additional detail helps you understand our thought process.â€
In our opinion BBC could have worked around all of these issues and would have Windows Phone had a larger market share or mindshare.
As an example of this, the BBC has so far relied on Flash to stream to Android handsets. Adobe has however pulled this from market recently, but this did not deter Mr Danker, with him saying:
"The BBC is working with Adobe on an alternative video player for Android, ensuring audiences with Android devices continue to enjoy BBC iPlayer," said Daniel Danker, general manager of On-Demand at the BBC.
"We do have concerns about fragmentation of Android devices and new updates to the Android platform, which have created an inconsistent video playback experience for our audience, and we are working with Google to find ways to address this."
Maybe the answer is being more noisy. Mr Dankerâ€™s email address is [email protected]. I suggest readers let him know what we think of his flimsy excuses.
If you are a car fan you are probably a fan of Top Gear, the popular BBC car show.
Now BBC has extended their support of Windows Phone by releasing an official Top Gear app, which features:
The app will even allow videos to be downloaded for off-line viewing.
The app is free and can be found in Marketplace here.
Thanks Shafqat for the tip.
In these early days if Windows Phone 7 it is still a pleasant surprise to see Windows Phone 7 apps features in the mass media.
The above excerpt is from the BBC Click show on transmedia, and takes a brief look at Zombies Ate My City, a project by Chaos Created.
The same program also looked at Endomodo, a sports tracking app.
The full show can be seen via BBC iPlayer here for those inside the UK.
Thanks G.D. for the tip.
You don’t see much advertising on the BBC, but it seems HTC has found a way around, with the whole cast of the Young Apprentice show featuring Lord Sugar sporting HTC HD7s of course running Windows Phone 7.
Unfortunately besides the calculator not much of the UI can be seen, but I am sure HTC HD7 owners in UK appreciate saying â€œThats my phone!â€
Folks inside UK can see the show here.
Thanks Ubaid for the tip.
Hey guys, just receive email from BBC, officially said to me:
Thank you for contacting the BBC iPlayer support team.
I understand youâ€™re happy with the BBC iPlayer service and would like a BBC iPlayer application for Windows Phone 7.
The BBC wants to bring BBC iPlayer to as many audiences as possible, across a range of devices.
Unfortunately, as the Windows Phone 7 doesn’t support HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) or Adobe Flash, the formats we use for streaming videos, we can’t make BBC iPlayer available on this phone at the moment.
I realise this may be disappointing however I hope this helps to clarify the situation.
Once again thank you for contacting BBC iPlayer.
Finally, I have attached an invitation from the Head of BBC Audience Services, asking you to participate in our customer survey. We would welcome your views on our service.
Usha Devi Peri
BBC Audience Services
(While the BBC has a case, I suspect that they would be happy to adapt their technology to fit Windows Phone 7 if it had a larger market share, so maybe next year. …Surur)
The BBC Click program, which broadcasts a 30 min weekly segment during the BBC News, has just featured a Windows Phone 7 app, Neurons, during its latest broadcast on the 20/8/2011.
This is of course still rare enough to be noteworthy, and they certainly chose a good app to show of the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI.
â€œNeuronsâ€ streams TED Talks, The RSA (and RSA Animate), FORA.tv and Science Dump to your Windows Phone 7. You can view the latest talks from each of these knowledgeable sources or Search for more talks.
Neurons application was developed by Justin Angel, a well knownÂ developer among Silverlight community . The application was made open source by him, so you can grab the source code and tinker your new application. Read more about his work at JustinAngel.net.
If you want Neurons for yourself, you can download it for free from Marketplace here.