BBC iPlayer

bbciplayerBBC iPlayer is a free service that lets you catch up with programmes from the past seven days that you may have missed or want to watch again.
There are two ways to use this service. You can play a programme and watch it online with ‘Click to play’, or you can download the programme, store it on your computer for up to 30 days and watch it offline.

Please note that BBC TV programmes and live TV streams are only available to users in the UK at present, though most radio programmes are available outside the UK.
The BBC iPlayer Desktop, allows  you to download and enjoy your favourite BBC programmes without being connected to the Internet (once you have downloaded programmes).

Go to the BBC iPlayer install page, click the install button and follow the on screen prompts. The programme you have chosen to download will begin downloading automatically once the installation of the BBC iPlayer Desktop completes.
Downloading from BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK (UK ip address required).

Visit the BBC iPlayer Website


 

BBC TV Streams

iplayerbbc1The BBC streams BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC Alba, CBBC, and CBeebies, through the iPlayer.
Quality is quite good, though if you view in full screen, the quality will suffer.
You could also connect your computer directly to you TV and watch the live channels, again picture quality is watchable, though nowhere near as good as transmissions from digital terrestrial or satellite.

All BBC live streams on iPlayer use Digital Onscreen Graphics (DOGs).
At present, most of the BBC’s television channels are streamed at a bitrate of 500 kbps, using the VP6 video codec, audio is streamed at 128 kbps MP3.
BBC One streams at a bitrate of 800 kbps, using the H.264 codec, the channels audio is 96 kbps AAC+ (same quality as 192 kbps MP2).

H.264 is a high-performance video compression technology. Compared to On2 VP6 AK 3.5, H.264 delivers sharper video quality at a lower bitrate, though it requires more CPU power to decode, particularly on older machines, and the user needs to have the latest version of Flash installed.
NOTE: All live BBC TV streams are restricted to UK only IP addresses (Geoblocked).


 

VOD (Video On Demand)

High Definition
BBC iPlayer watch in HD
By default, video settings are set to High Definition (HD) on computers and connected TVs which support Adaptive Bitrate, the basic default HD setting is dependent on how much bandwidth a user has available. Devices which do not support Adaptive Bitrate can opt-in to an HD stream, subject to bandwidth, via an HD button.

For HD programmes, the BBC use H.264 with encoding an average bitrate of 3.2Mbps and 192kbps audio.
HD programmes use about 1.5 gigabytes per hour of video.

Standard Definition
Highest quality Standard Definition video is streamed at 1500 Kbp/s, the default video quality for SD on BBC iPlayer is 800Kbps H.264 even in the smaller video playback window size.


 

BBC Radio Streams

BBC iPlayer RadioAll of the BBC’s national, local and regional stations along with the BBC World Service are available to listen to live on the internet (rights permitting), with appropriate media player software.
It is also possible to listen to BBC Radio services via the internet without having to log on to a computer. The easiest way to do this is via a Wi-Fi or Internet Radio. These radios pick up radio stations streamed on the internet via a broadband connection to the radio.
There are no UK only IP restrictions on BBC radio, though some sporting coverage is blocked and overseas listeners will receive .
Visit the BBC Radio Website for information on reception and programming.

Radio Bitrates on BBC iPlayer
BBC Radio 2 on iPlayer
The BBC have changed the way they provide radio streams. This change is part of a wider project for a new way of delivering online radio from source to the products that users consume, known as Audio Factory.

Audio Factory was designed to keep BBC services available, make them more resilient and ensure a consistent experience.
All BBC services are now available in HLS and HDS using the AAC codec. By the summer of 2015, the BBC hope to have these streams available in the non-proprietary DASH format.

HTTP streams are available in both UK  (320 kbp/s HLS AAC) and international variants (96 kbp/s HLS AAC), which allows those in the UK to continue to enjoy BBC Sports coverage.

HLS
HLS – HTTP Live Streaming and is a protocol developed by Apple for their iOS devices and QuickTime player. Support was added to Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) which has made HLS the ideal candidate for streaming to the widest range of mobile devices.

HDS
HDS – HTTP Dynamic Streaming was developed by Adobe as an alternative to their RTMP protocol. HDS allows for adaptive streaming over HTTP to any device that’s compatible with Adobe Flash or Air.

Station
 UK Bitrate
 Overseas Bitrate
Audio 
Description
BBC Radio 1
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
Youth orientated Popular music and speech.
BBC Radio 2
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
Adult-oriented Pop Music
BBC Radio 3
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
Classic Music
BBC Radio 4
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
News & Speech
BBC Radio 5 Live
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Mono
Live news and sport (some UK only ip restrictions apply)
BBC Radio 5 Live Sp Extra
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Mono
Live news and sport (some UK only ip restrictions apply)
BBC 6 Music
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
Classic rock Alternative rock Funk Indie Jazz Hip Hop
BBC Radio 4 Extra
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Mono
Comedy, Drama, and Chat
BBC 1Xtra
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
New Black / urban music
BBC Asian Network
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Mono
South Asian orientated
BBC World Service
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Mono
English language version of the BBC World Service
BBC Radio Scotland
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
National radio for Scotland.
BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
Scottish Gaelic language station.
BBC Radio Wales
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
National radio for Wales.
BBC Radio Cymru
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
Welsh language service.
BBC Radio Ulster
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
National radio for Northern Ireland.
BBC Radio Foyle
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
Local radio station, serving the North West of Northern Ireland.
BBC Radio Guernsey
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
BBC local radio for Guernsey.
BBC Radio Jersey
320 kbp/s HLS AAC
96 kbp/s HLS AAC
Joint Stereo
BBC local radio for Jersey.
For local radio, see BBC Local Radio (320 kbp/s HLS AAC for all local & regional BBC stations in the UK & 96 kbp/s HLS AAC overseas.

 

TV Platforms

Freesat
BBC iPlayer is available on most early Freesat receivers and on <freetime> receivers.

Freeview
BBC iPlayer is available on most Freeview HD receivers and TVs.

Sky
BBC iPlayer is available on Sky.

Virgin Media
BBC iPlayer is available on Virgin Media

BT Vision
BBC iPlayer is available on

YouView
BBC iPlayer is available on YouView


 

Mobile Phones & Tablets

bbciplayerA BBC iPlayer app is available for Android, Apple iOS, Window 8 and BlackBerry.
BBC iPlayer is available on supported mobile devices and is a UK only service. You can play programmes via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, depending on your phone and network.
For more information see: BBC iPlayer Help – Mobile & Tablet

BBC iPlayer is a free service, but mobile network operators may charge for data used over their networks. Data allowances and mobile network tariffs are the responsibility of the mobile network operators.
If you are unsure how much 3G data costs or what your data allowance is then contact your mobile network operator.

Certain programmes, including some sporting events and films, may not be available on the mobile version of BBC iPlayer because of rights agreements, even if they are available on the PC version.


 

BBC iPlayer – TV Licence

BBC iPlayer LicenceThe law has changed: From 1 September 2016 you now need a TV Licence to watch or download BBC programmes on demand, as well as live on BBC iPlayer.
The rules only apply to iPlayer, so you do not need a TV licence if you only ever watch on-demand or catch-up programmes through other service providers – as long as you do not use BBC iPlayer.

So how does the BBC prevent non licence viewing from occurring? Well there is no high tech software involved, they simply ask Got a TV Licence? Followed by two options:
I have a TV Licence. Watch now.
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Watching live:
BBC iPlayer LicenceThat means watching or recording at the same time (or virtually the same time) as they’re being broadcast, or distributed to the public in any other way. In BBC iPlayer, you do this using the Watch Live (simulcast) option. Anyone in the UK watching or recording television as it’s being broadcast or simulcast on any device – including mobiles, laptops and PCs – must, by law, be covered by a valid TV licence.

As a general rule, if you’re watching a programme on a computer or other device at the same time as it’s being shown on TV, then the programme is “live” so you need a TV licence. If you use the live rewind function to restart a live programme or rewind a live stream for up to 2 hours, you also need a TV licence. This is because you’re still accessing the live simulcasts.

Watching On-Demand:
Any programme you download or watch that is not being shown as live TV, including catch-up TV is On-Demand. These programmes can be accessed on the BBC iPlayer website or through an app on a smart TV, digital box or any other device. On demand also includes exclusive programmes that are only available online. You must also be covered by a valid TV licence if watching programmes this way.

What will happen if I don’t have a TV licence?
It is a criminal offence to watch live or on-demand television without a TV licence. It’s also a criminal offence to possess or control a device which you know or reasonably believe will be used to watch live or on-demand TV without a TV licence. You could be prosecuted and fined up to £1000 (plus legal costs) for these offences.

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