ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

BBC iPlayer - A Guide

Updated on June 10, 2009

The BBC iPlayer has been designed to help you view programmes of the past week absolutely free of charge. You have the privilege of watching premium quality programmes on your computer as many times as you wish until the programme is available, which is generally seven days, but if there is a repeat broadcast somewhere mid week, you can watch it for another few days.

If you are in the UK and connected to the internet you can enjoy its other benefits too. These include playing programmes with the help of Click to Play (streaming) which easily operates on Windows, Mac and Linux computers and it also works on the Nintendo Wii, iPhones and iPod touch devices. You can even watch live television, catch up with missed programmes of the past week, download television programmes and store them in your computer for a period of 30 days or else download and transfer them to your portable media device, PDA or mobile phone and finally listen to radio programmes live or recorded.

UK Only Sorry

The BBC iPlayer exclusively serves users in the UK. However, it does offer some of the radio programmes outside of the UK, which include the BBC News and BBC Sport highlights, though the Sport programmes may be subject to rights agreements. The BBC iPlayer is available on a number of media devices which include cable television, computers, game consoles, home media hubs tab, mobile phones and portable media players.

Streaming Media

Streaming is the best and the quickest way to watch your favourite programme. Streaming helps to let you instantly click and play a programme as soon as it is displayed on the BBC iPlayer website. It works on almost all the computers in the UK whereas outside the UK only radio programmes can be heard, either on the Real Player or the Windows Media Player.

The main benefit isto be able to download the BBC iPlayer media to a portable device to watch later at your leisure wherever you want. Myself, I like to donwload Doctor Who and watch it at the gym. Beats the bang bang music or listening to people grunt and huffpuff!

Downloading Programmes

The other option is downloading the programme. Downloading is only suitable if you wish to watch a programme offline, require subtitles and want a better picture quality. For downloading a programme you first need to have the BBC iPlayer Download Manager installed on your computer. The BBC iPlayer Download Manager only works on Windows-XP, excluding 64-bit versions and Windows Vista only in the UK. You may even need to enable ActiveX in order to get Download Manager working.

Most programmes on the BBC iPlayer can be downloaded within seven days and when downloaded can remain up to 30 days. But once played, you must finish watching the programme within seven days. When you download onto portable media players you have seven days in which you can view the programme.

Programmes that you download on your mobile phone or handheld will be stored in the media gallery from where you can select what you wish to view. Currently downloaded programmes may take longer to display.

What Can You Watch on iPlayer?

A good variety of BBC TV and Radio programmes can be seen and heard on the BBC iPlayer. It takes about two hours to wait to get the current broadcast on the BBC iPlayer. You can select from a list of programmes from the BBC iPlayer homepage and watch the programme of your choice. Some programmes, such as films and Sport events, may not be available on the BBC iPlayer because the Rights Agreements may not allow it. Therefore Sport programmes cannot be heard on the BBC iPlayer radio services outside of the UK. Similarly, overseas programmes may also be restricted from being shown on the BBC iPlayer.


If you possess a Samsung Omnia, Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1, Sony Ericcson 905 or HTC Touch HD etc, you can log on to BBC iPlayer easily. Programmes can be seen or heard with the help of streaming but downloading is not possible, so you cannot store it and watch or listen to it later. BBC iPlayer can be accessed over a wi-fi connection, but if you wish to use it over a 3G connection, you are required to be on the 3 UK or Vodafone network.

BBC iPlayer programmes should be used on a network of at least 500kbps; such as the Broadband or DSL and not the dial-up-connections because Click to Play programmes are not able to survive on the low access speed of dial-up-connections which are scarcely even 56 kbps. You can even use the RealPlayer or the Windows Media Player instead of Flash to listen to radio programmes in the UK.

Parental Control for BBC iPlayer

If you wish to prevent your children from watching some of the programmes, you can even set up the Parental Guidance lock. This requires you to put in a password and an email address in case you forget the password and need to retrieve it. Once the Parental Guidance lock is activated, Guidance programmes can only be seen when the password is put in. This way you can keep a check on what your children are watching.

All-in-all the BBC iPlayer is a convenient device and once it is able reach out globally it will become quite a favourite demand.

This hub brought to you...

by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, and owner of international writing agency

Why not create your own HubPages? It's fun and you can make revenue from Adsense and other revenue streams on your pages. JOIN HUBPAGES NOW - SIMPLY CLICK HERE...  (or contact me to write one for you!)

This work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this licence, visit or send a letter to CreativeCommons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California94105, USA.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      I'm sure that's good news (?) If I want to see old TV I record it on dvd or skyplus. I use iPlayer for mobile viewing.

    • profile image

      Clyde Davies 

      9 years ago

      I've just got it working with the XBox. if you download in Windows Media Player format then you can stream it onto the TV through the XBox. It's also excellent quality

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 

      9 years ago

      Darn I was going to hook up and see if I could find some of my old favorite shows. When I was one travel the oe show I always watched was The Bill.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)