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BBC iPlayer on iPad review

Watch Live and catch-up TV on your iPad

BBC iPlayer on iPad
Browse and enjoy your favourite BBC TV and radio shows in brilliant quality on the iPad's big screen


  • Great picture quality
  • Lovely interface


  • Live TV hidden away
  • No downloads

You could sense the excitement in the MacFormat offices when the iPlayer iPad app appeared. And it's been worth the wait.

While you've been able to watch iPlayer's catch-up TV in Safari for some time, nothing quite beats having a proper app to do it in. Moreover, the app doesn't just provide catch-up services – you can enjoy live TV and radio as well.

The app launches into a gorgeous screen of featured programmes, showing a thumbnail of each show. You can scroll to see more featured television or browse the most popular shows and ones recommended for you.

When you tap a programme, you're taken to its information page, which also shows related programmes. Annoyingly, it doesn't tell you which episode of a multi-part series each thumbnail is, which led us to tapping the wrong one several times. And instead of taking us to the previous screen, the Back button returned us to the app's home screen.

Provided your Wi-Fi network has a reasonable connection, picture quality is brilliant, although the app cleverly drops it down when you're on lower bandwidth.

Like the iPlayer website on iOS, it won't stream over 3G, you can't download programmes to watch later, and it's UK-only at present. And despite it being one of the app's main features, live TV is hidden behind the Channels button on the home screen.

Let's see a 'What's on now' button in the next version!

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