Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Apr 2, 2012 8:43 AM by Thomas O'Carroll
ben.clewett Level 1 Level 1

This may not be the right place: but I would like to know if Apple has any plans to ship BBC iPlayer on units for the UK?  The unit has a lot to offer US citizens, but not so much for us here in the UK.  Like Wii and other TV streamers in the UK which have iPlayer build in, this is such an essential feature, I don't understand why it's missing.  Certiainly there is no point in getting one until this is done...


For what it's worth, Ben.

  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6

    No, we have on idea what their future plans are though it would se so logical.


    In the past I surmised that with so many different markets they did not want to invest time coding the plugins to allow this because it would be a big undertaking for each country - however with consoles, BluRay players and Smart TVs all sporting these feature now it seem churlish for them not to consider popular catch up TV.


    I'm not sure if current iPlayer app on iPhone or iPad can Airplay to AppleTV, but I'm not a big fan of Airplay for video for day to day usage - it seems an additional step involving an additional device.


    You can make an enhancement request here:




  • ben.clewett Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for the reply.  I am glad to know I am not the only one with this view.


    All the UK TV stations have excelent catchup applications for iOS.  iPlayer is one of the best, which I use all the time on my iPad.  People are moving from streaming TV to TV on demand, and people do not expect to pay for this any more than they do with a UHF TV stream.  As you say, most high-end applications can already do this.  To not offer this is to diliberatelly make Apple TV non-competitive.


    Pity as I would like an Apple TV simply to integrate with my other Apple products.  But not at the current cost/feature configuration.


    Thanks for the link, we  can hope!



  • HappyTrucker Level 1 Level 1

    I agree it does seem like it would make sense for them to put things like BBC iPlayer, Demand5 etc on there: and since there's already iOS apps for most of the UK catch up services I can't imagine that much additional coding would be required - the ATV is powered by iOS anyway. Also, isn't part of the Apple TV interface a web app type thing that can dynamically change depending on region/availability of 'channels'? Or at least, before the last update anyway. Take Netflix for example. Was never visible until Netflix came to the UK then suddenly up it popped. No software update required.


    Also, bear in mind that the available extra channels on the US ATV aren't really catchup TV. If I'm right they're mostly subscription based services: MLB, NHL etc. Yes you can get access to past games and highlights etc but the actual content requires a subscription payment. In the case of MLB Premium this is $125/year. NHL is $79/year. I know our catchup services are free but catchup is a different propositon to anything currently on the ATV in either the US or the UK. Most of the content on ATV that isn't Apple's iTunes "buy to watch per episode" is a subscription based add-on, not a free service.


    If they can't/won't add our catch up services then I wish they would at least remove the US only content from non-US units.


    To play Devil's Advocate for a minute though: where would we expect this to stop? We in the UK want our catch up services. France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia etc would all want theirs. Maybe then it becomes too much of a logistical nightmare?


    OK, I can see an option where Apple concentrated on their 'core' markets to start with. The question is would they see the UK as part of that? Logically you'd say they would but that's never certain.


    The problem isn't really the presence or otherwise of these catch up services, it's where some people seem to think the Apple TV is heading. There's whispers and speculation that this UI update might be to enable things like HBO, CBS, Fox, Showtime etc to get their 'channels' on the ATV (in some far off future admittedly, once the fighting has stopped!) but again that would leave most of the world unaccommodated. I don't know what TV services are like around the world but the stranglehold SKY has on their subscription channels here I can't see them ever allowing (as an example) Sky Atlantic to available via subscription on the ATV.


    Anyway, I veered off a bit there. Back to the OP: yeah, I'd like to see our catchup services come to the ATV but I'd be surprised if they did under the current setup.

  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6

    HappyTrucker wrote:


    I agree it does seem like it would make sense for them to put things like BBC iPlayer, Demand5 etc on there: and since there's already iOS apps for most of the UK catch up services I can't imagine that much additional coding would be required - the ATV is powered by iOS anyway. Also, isn't part of the Apple TV interface a web app type thing that can dynamically change depending on region/availability of 'channels'? Or at least, before the last update anyway. Take Netflix for example. Was never visible until Netflix came to the UK then suddenly up it popped. No software update required.


    Yes, in theory being iOS based you would expect the addition of apps to be fairly simple to implement but it's a question of if they want to take the device in that direction, and perhaps if there's enough space to have them - commercially it would offer another revenue stream from apps, though as a vehicle for iTunes Store sales they then introduce competition.


    If apps came to AppleTV it pretty much solves the problem of Apple having to customise catch up TV for different countries - your devil's advocate position is what I had felt was the reason we didn't see these plugins.


    If they don't offer apps, then I think AppleTV will look stale compared to the competition when people have come to expect catch up services. They could however look at selected apps for catch up in given countries and have them installed by default based on regional settings using the dynamic features you described.


    Personally I'm not sure I want an appstore on the unit, but so long as it was unobtrusive I wouldn't have to use it.


    PS Customisation is the key for some things - let me disable all the features I never use to tidy up the interface  - YouTube, Flickr and Vimeo together with the US centric sport would be gone for me.

  • Damian Smith1 Level 3 Level 3

    I recently senty Apple feedback about this issue even though I live in the US I'd love to the BBC iplayer to watch Doctor Who, Football and Rugby. I may have been born here, but baseball is just boring. I too would like to hid certian icons, partically the sport options.

  • HappyTrucker Level 1 Level 1



    I see your point about iTunes Store competition but isn't the general feeling that the ATV (in its current hockey puck style or as a full on TV - hey, I didn't start those rumours) is the way forward as far as Apple sees TV services? At the prices Apple charge per season for shows it's not, in my mind at least, a cost viable to solution to get all my programming that way. Whether we blame Apple or the TV companies for that pricing is a discussion that I feel could could go on for months, but the point stands that at £30 - £50 (what's that, $50 - $80?) per season in the UK I'm probaly one of many who can only afford to do part of my programming via iTunes. If it were at all possible to subscribe via my ATV to the 4 or 5 channels I actually watch out of my monthly subscription TV service - with access to previous seasons -  then I'd probably do it in a heartbeat if the cost was proportionate to the channels provided. The rest of my programming could be taken care of with the inclusion of the Catch Up services we statred with on this thread.


    Now, exactly what Apple sees as the future for content provision we have no idea, and I believe we aren't allowed to speculate on that here either but that UI change could be just to make iDevice users feel more at home, or it could be the first step to allowing other content providers on there with subscription based services. Who knows. I'll guarantee you that if the second thought is right then Apple will find some way of only allowing subscribing via the ATV therefore getting their 30%. Maybe not initially. Maybe a 2 year grace period to get people used to the idea then gradually cut off subscription avenues until only the ATV via your iTunes ID would be available?


    I wouldn't like an actual APP store as such on the ATV, and with the advent of Airplay there's not as much need as there used to be, but I can see something similar to the Wii Channels store to get additional content 'installed'. I still say that if a catchup service has an iOS app then dynamically adding it wouldn't be a huge issue. Although isn't the BBC iPlayer now available in the US (not on ATV I hasten to add) but needs to be paid for? So that adds another layer: a channel that's free in some territories but not in others.


    Customisation would be good, although I'd probably keep Flickr: I use it as my screensaver

  • HappyTrucker Level 1 Level 1



    I hope you've hidden yourself well. You're a US citizen, living in the US who finds baseball boring? How haven't you been lynched already?


    Seriously though, it does open up a whole can of worms when people start looking at wanting different things out this little hockey puck. I really don't think there'll be a viable solution to this until the content providers realise this isn't 1980 anymore and the world has moved on. Should it really matter that I live in the UK when the new season of Hawaii 5-0 starts? Why shouldn't I be able to subscribe to the same provider and pay for that programme as and when I want it? I doubt it would see the end of piracy and torrents but if every programme from every territory were available simultaneously to view legally via an affordable direct subscription model I bet it would reduce.


    I agree that the current sport options are weak and I'd hide them myself if it were an option. I don't know if anyone from the UK has tried but are they even subscribable to non-US citizens? If we could subscribe to MLB or NHL (is the hockey even visible on the UK devices?) then it would be an interesting test, and maybe a sign of a way forward once agreements can be reached.

  • Damian Smith1 Level 3 Level 3

    On the App front, XBMC has video plugin for HULU, demand 5, ESPN U,  Free cable (a US TV video aggregator), and numerous other plugin which will stream live internet TV feeds. The cost  is prohibitively expensive to watch all the media I consume through just the iTunes, plus Why should I wait 6-8month for the last series, when I can watch online the night after it air for free.


    The iplayer app is but is subscription based and I don't own a ipad.

  • Rudegar Level 7 Level 7

    bbc iplayer is only free for people living in UK

    other people have to pay this may make it less appealing for apple to

    include it

  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6

    Not sure about iPlayer in ths US as I'm actually in the UK.


    I actually dislike Airplay becuase I think it detracts from what the AppleTV should be about - a competent media player first and foremost.  Same goes for the cloud to some extent.  There are now at least 3 ways to view something you'e purchased: Airplay, cloud playback and local library.  Good features but I think they confuse issues when it comes to media playback, and just lead to the repetitive why can't I do such and such with Airplay from my iPhone type questions, especially with only newer devices supporting full mirroring.


    If Apple had a 'watch all you want'  monthly service where you never 'owned' anything for say £30-£40 pcm I'd quite probably go for it.  The pricing esp in UK is ludicrous, and it's usually cheaper to buy the DVD.


    I don't think we really know what they're future plans are - try to dominate media distribution services online would probably cover it!  The content providers I think sense this, and there's a feeling Apple are becoming too big.  You mentioned Sky and of course the content providers often have exclusive deal with various broadcasters to show content first, so simply getting things onto AppleTV can't be straightforward - they must need negotiating teams in multiple countries.



  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6

    You could argue the same for those subscription sports channels and Netflix.

  • HappyTrucker Level 1 Level 1

    This is true, but they include other things that are 'pay' subscriptions (Netflix, NHL, MLB) so they aren't unwilling to have people pay for stuff: and it's not exactly been a deterrent to people subscribing either.


    Technically, we in the UK don't get iPlayer 'free' - it's part (if not completely) funded by our TV Licence fee. For those not familiar with this it's a tax/funding fee levied by our government that we have to pay by law every year if we have any device capable of receiving live TV broadcasts from the BBC. I doubt tax payers (or HBO subscribers more realistically) in the US for example would be happy if their fees were being used to provide a service free to people in other countries that they have to pay for

  • Damian Smith1 Level 3 Level 3

    Happy Trucker,

    Oh and I grew up & live in in the SOUTH and find cricket equally boring despite a good South African friend of mine explaining the rules. A sport which require a Tea breaks and lunch, really. I do enjoy a good cup of tea. I'd rather pay the License fee, to fund our Public Broadcasters(PBS,NPR)


    I do agree until the content provider realise it not the 80's and people watch/listen to content from all over the world. As a kid I would listen to the BBC World Service on a SW radio. Apple face fequent challanges for US content provided over  what shows/movies will be available. it crazy they're cutting themselves off at the knees.

  • HappyTrucker Level 1 Level 1



    Sorry, when I mentioned Airplay I wan't really referring to the ability to video stream via it. Certain apps that are on the iPad could be made available on the ATV but if you can airplay the iPad to the TV there's no need. Games for example, the new iPhoto for iOS too.


    With the advent in the US of 'Movies in the Cloud' (MitC if I bring it up again) then things are, as you say, moving to a more cloud based streaming service especially via the ATV. We can already redownload Apps, Books, Music and TV Shows here in the UK so no doubt MitC will follow at some point (note that it's not even fully functional in the US either with 20th Century Fox and Universal currently not playing along due to exisiting content deals). How long until the next logical step: purchase a movie, TV show or music track and it no longer automatically downloads? It will stay in the cloud until such time you want to access it and off you go. There will be no local storage requirement at this point. Add the possibility of subscription channels, or an 'all-you-can-eat' iTunes video sub and airplay video pretty much goes away for those embracing the new way.


    Now, the other issue with this is of course bandwidth. Here in the UK we don't seem to bad (I'm talking to the house broadband here not mobile), but I believe there's still a lot of quota limits on BB packages Stateside. All this cloud streaming can really rack up a monthly quota. Even here if you're on VM's lower tiers then you can't download or stream more than a certain amount at peak times without throttling kicking in.


    As for iTunes prices, to be fair in a lot of cases the US equivalents aren't as cheap as we may believe. Some series are admittedly but others may only work out £5 cheaper or so. Some things are like $54.99 for something that might cost £39.99 here.


    Like you, if there was an all-you-can-eat watch til you drop but you don't own it subscription for £30 - £40 pcm I'd probably be all over it. Especially if it allowed access to past seasons too. However, we would need availability of all programming not just select things. For example, Hawaii 5-0 isn't on UK iTunes. I'm guessing due to Sky. However they do have other Sky1/US programming (NCIS:LA, House etc). So, I could not curently ditch my payTV sub for an iTunes sub because I would lose access to some programming. It's a terrible situation that the dinosaurs in the content providers need to sort out to be honest.

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