updated 06:00 pm EST, Tue February 8, 2011
US subscription version may come in June
Having seen a rapid rise in popularity of its online iPlayer service, the BBC will be launching a Flash-less, iPad-only iOS app version on Feb. 10th, along with an Android version (Froyo devices only) that requires Flash 10.1 -- allowing UK residents to watch BBC television and radio content both live and on-demand, which had not previously been widely available for mobile devices. Also launching this week for all versions of iPlayer is a new feature for all versions called "inter-linking" that allows non-BBC content to be offered through iPlayer.
The apps won't work outside the UK due to licensing restrictions, but the BBC has previously announced plans to make the on-demand portion of iPlayer into a subscription service available via "global" apps that would work in other countries, including the US, as early as June. The free iPad and Android apps will allow viewers to browse the library of available shows -- usually the last seven days' worth of TV or radio content -- on both 3G and Wi-Fi, but will require Wi-Fi in order to play them.
The browser-based version -- which is already accessible to iPads and other mobile devices -- has seen an enormous spike in popularity over the last year, led by shows such as Doctor Who and Top Gear. During the Christmas season, the BBC saw demand on iPlayer more than double, and use of iPlayer on tablets has grown more than 20-fold over growth on desktop PCs, the company said.