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Is the BBC iPlayer Worth It? BBC iPlayer Review

Whether you’re a student, busy parent or full-time worker, you’ll likely feel the need to take a break from time to time. And if you live outside the UK, what better way to relax and unwind than stream BBC iPlayer abroad

The BBC iPlayer is a streaming service that offers users access to some of the best British programming. From dramas like “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” to comedies like “Mrs. Brown’s Boys” and “The Office,” there’s something for everyone on the iPlayer. But is it worth paying for? Here’s what you need to know.

iPlayer is the top video-on-demand catch-up TV service available thanks to its excellent programming, broad platform compatibility, and user-friendly interface.

BBC iPlayer is free, but you must pay the license fee, as it is the source of high-caliber TV shows. Programs can be downloaded for offline viewing. There are also no commercials to skip. Simply put, BBC iPlayer is the best catch-up TV service in the UK. It is almost worth the license cost, even without considering all the radio and live shows the business offers over several channels.

Missed the most recent Line of Duty episode? Need another Pointless fix? Curious about the buzz around Killing Eve or Fleabag? The solution is BBC iPlayer. It was already a fantastic desktop service when it was initially released in 2007, and now that it has been around for over a decade, it is even better than a TV, smartphone, and tablet app.

BBC iPlayer Features

When you pay the BBC’s yearly license fee, which has existed in some form or another for almost a century and is currently £159 for color and £53.50 for black and white, you may access iPlayer for free, unlike Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

The most comprehensive collection of British TV content has never been found on the BBC and ITV’s relatively new, £5.99-per-month BritBox streaming service, which combines current and classic box sets for on-demand viewing. The on-demand service is the home of BBC shows that have just aired, which offer a 30-day window period to watch before you begin paying for them.

However, BBC iPlayer hosts some of its typical TV shows for a longer time. For instance, at the time of writing, Line of Duty, Luther, and Killing Eve – all of which have received multiple Golden Globe nominations – are all available to binge-watch in their entirety on iPlayer. Luther was also nominated for numerous BAFTA Television Awards.

While the country was under lockdown, the BBC added numerous long-term boxsets to iPlayer in an effort to lift the viewers’ morale. You may find complete seasons of great shows like Absolutely Fabulous, Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley, and every Michael Palin documentary produced under the “from the archive” tab in the “categories” section.

It’s hard to estimate how many hours of content iPlayer offers at any given time. Still, there always appears to be at least one show airing on iPlayer that most people are talking about, which is a testament to the broadcaster’s consistency in producing high-quality content.

The BBC iPlayer allows you to download programs to your device and will enable you to watch them for up to 30 days with offline viewing, similar to many streaming options available today. This is excellent for lengthy train rides, international travel, and situations where there is no internet or data connectivity. However, you must keep in mind that iPlayer is only available in the UK. 

In the app’s settings, you may decide whether to allow downloading over mobile network data or restrict downloading to times when you’re connected to wifi.

The BBC iPlayer’s well-known grid style is tidy and fashionable, and its home screen will logically display options for “Featured,” “Recommended for You,” “Continue Watching,” and “Most Popular.” The service constantly emphasizes programs, including documentaries and comedy panel shows to ensure something for everyone.

Additionally, you may search for shows by networks (such as BBC One, BBC Two, or CBeebies), genres (including Documentaries, Food, and Arts), or TV guide schedules. Additionally, you can add programs to your “My Programmes” list so that new episodes are simple to find.

Over the years, iPlayer has received updates that have made it more modern and simple. With a recent redesign of the homepage, the navigation menu was moved to the left side of the screen, making it even simpler to explore through various categories and adding more room on the screen for content discovery. Scrolling through the service is a quick and easy procedure regardless of the device you’re using.

This is probably a good time to point out that the iPlayer app is accessible on over 15,000 devices, including almost all smart TVs and media streamers, iOS and Android mobile devices, and even Xbox Series X/S. At the end of 2021, it was even included with PS5 and 4K and HDR technology.

It’s important to note that, despite having the iPlayer app, Hisense 2020 TV models and the PS4 Pro cannot play the service’s UHD content library.

Just be aware that a BBC ID account is required to access any iPlayer content, even though signing up is free and you can stay hooked at all times, keeping your watch list and history synchronized across all platforms.

BBC iPlayer Picture Quality

Both normal and high-definition shows on iPlayer look as excellent as you’d expect them to, thanks to the increasingly high screen resolutions on tablets and smartphones.

Naturally, we’d advise playing in high definition whenever possible. Most shows are available in HD as long as they were the first broadcast on a BBC HD channel. Since October 21, 2021, this channel has been featuring programming for the 15 English regional variations of BBC One.

The BBC also offers next-level 4K Ultra HD material, which significantly improves picture quality, particularly in terms of resolution and clarity. Although the BBC does not yet have a regular, permanent 4K offering, it has conducted various 4K experiments on iPlayer since 2016. These trials include on-demand streaming of Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II and live broadcasts of the 2018 FIFA World Cup football and Wimbledon tennis.

iPlayer has restored UHD programming after briefly deleting 4K content throughout 2020 to lessen the load on broadband networks. There are 19 shows accessible in the current “trial,” including Black Narcissus, His Dark Materials, and The Tourist. 

The BBC recently aired its portion of the postponed Euro 2020 games and 2021 Wimbledon coverage in Ultra HD, HDR live on iPlayer and its ongoing content. We can’t help but think that adding 4K to the service permanently is long overdue.

We know that the BBC has no immediate intentions to introduce multi-channel sound to iPlayer, despite several premium streaming services providing tiers that support it. Even though some HD programs, including The Proms, are aired in 5.1 surround sound, all of the programming on iPlayer is only offered in stereo. 

This is quite frustrating, particularly if you’re watching contemporary movies or the acclaimed 4K documentary Seven Worlds, One Planet, which we know has a beautiful Dolby Atmos soundtrack on its Blu-ray edition.

The BBC does offer outstanding hearing and vision impairment accessibility features. Numerous programs will feature icons that indicate the presence of audio description (AD) or sign language (SL) choices.

Final Verdict

Of course, there is a cost associated with using BBC iPlayer. But when you consider that the license fee amounts to less than 45 pence per day, and you look at the beautiful variety and accessibility of content that is available from the BBC, not to mention the top-notch visual technology that it seeks to give in the hopefully near future, we would happily continue paying so that we can watch more of the broadcaster’s nature documentaries narrated by David Attenborough.

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