This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.
Watch and listen live, or choose your favourites from over 400 hours programming from the last 7 days.
– Watch live TV – Listen to live radio – Scroll through and find Featured and Most Popular programmes – Add programmes to your favourites and have them ready and waiting when a new episode or series is available – Drag and drop programmes to Favourites with one easy move – Browse through the schedule for upcoming programmes
Sometimes you will want your learners to watch a programme that was on the telly in the past seven days. Even if your institution has an ERA licence you may have “forgotten” to have it recorded, or even if you have, you might want your learners to watch it in their own time and a place of their choosing. BBC iPlayer for many is a great service and allows people to watch a lot of stuff from the last seven days and in some cases with some series, catch-up an entire series. What you can see and what you can’t is not a technical issue, but a rights one. The more we have had iPlayer the more the rights issues are been settled for new content.
There is an App for the iPad for BBC iPlayer. Learners, if they have an iPad can watch the programme when they want to. I have used it a few times and it does work as expected. I think it is better than the website version of iPlayer on the iPad and it seems to be a little more stable. A bit easier to go back to a video you have paused for example. Navigation is slightly different to the website version you get on the iPad, but not much really too different.
This is the iPad App.
This is iPlayer on the iPad browser.
So my next question is why?
Why on earth did the BBC spend time and money on an app for the iPad if it adds virtually nothing to the experience that you get from using the website on the iPad?
So is the content different from what you get on the web on the iPad?
So can you download content for offline viewing? Like when you are on a train? Something you can do on your computer. Well no, you have to have a decent internet connection to watch BBC iPlayer. Also you can’t use the service on 3G, you do need to be on wifi.
The main difference is that the app allows you to watch live BBC TV which is probably the main reason for getting the app, though remember you will need a TV licence to watch the live streams!
In the end I can’t see what the app adds that viewing on the iPlayer on Safari doesn’t have already, apart from “favourites”. What’s the point of that as most content disappears in under seven days anyway…
Neither the App or the web version of iPlayer support AirPlay which is what you would use to stream content to your Apple TV. Now that would be useful especially as BBC iPlayer is not native on the Apple TV (and in the UK it should be). Of course if we could put Apps on the Apple TV then we could put this BBC App on the Apple TV! Sometimes I wish life was a little easier and simpler.
The BBC iPlayer App is an App it currently doesn’t support AV-Out. You can do AV-Out with the web version. If you have an iPad 2 then you can mirror the app using the Digital AV Adapter.
Disappointingly for some this app is only for the iPad, you will need to rely on the web version if you have an iPhone or an iPod touch. Though for those with an Android handset, there is a BBC iPlayer App for Android.
This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Originally this feature focused on iPhone and iPad apps, however I have now expanded to include Mac, Windows and Android apps.
This week’s App is BBC iPlayer.
The BBC have released an App for Android devices for BBC iPlayer. I have now used it a few times and it works okay, however it’s not perfect. If you have a Froyo 2.2 Android device then you can install Flash and access the BBC iPlayer site through that, but to be honest when I tried that a few months back, I wasn’t too impressed either.
The main difference between the web version of iPlayer and the app is that you can watch live TV on the app, though you will need a TV licence.
The main problem is you don’t get the smooth playback that I get on the iPhone or the iPad. If I play videos direct from the phone I do get smooth playback, so I don’t think it’s an underpowered hardware issue.
However if you read the BBC blog, it maybe the reason…
To download and use the app you’ll need a device that uses Android version 2.2 and has Adobe Flash 10.1 Player installed. Our Flash streams need a powerful mobile phone processor and a Wi-Fi connection to ensure a smooth viewing experience, which means that only newer, more powerful Android 2.2 devices connected via Wi-Fi can support the Flash 10.1 streaming experience.
Having said all that I am pleased to see the BBC not ignoring Android and just producing the iPad app. It’s free so check it out for yourself and see if it works better for you.
I do wonder though if we ever see similar apps from ITV or Channel 4? Possibly?
Want to try out the neat new stuff in Android 2.2, a.k.a. FroYo, but haven’t lucked into an update notification yet? Follow these instructions to download a 2.2 update, install it, and get Flash up and running.
The first thing I wanted to do was try out the Flash player… specifically I wanted to see how BBC iPlayer would perform. My first site was BBC News and I was very pleased with how the live stream of BBC News worked on the Nexus One.
Very similar experience to the EyeTV App on the iPhone, but obviously streaming from the internet and no need for the Mac to be on. I then tried to watch a programme from the archive, the film Brazil as it happens and… well the site asked if I was old enough! And trying to zoom into the checkbox was not particularly easy. However it did work!
As did Doctor Who!
Android 2.2 does off a little more than just allow you to view Flash on the web.
Android now has Exchange support, this is a feature I have found very useful on the iPhone. Despite what you may think of Exchange, it is a service that many organisations and institutions use, so by having support on Android, it allows for Enterprise deployment of phones like the Nexus One.
You can also now use the Flash when shooting video, great for when there is little or no natural light.
The Nexus One with Android 2.2 can now be used as a portable WiFi hotspot. This is something I have been doing for some time with Joikuspot on the Nokia N95 and was one of the main things I missed from the Nexus One, missing it no longer.
This is also something that is missing from the iPhone and technically it would be able to do it…
The key improvement though of 2.2 is improved performance and I certainly have found my Nexus One to be a little more zippy and faster than before.
I would never recommend bypassing the traditional upgrade process, but when the update does come I would recommend upgrading.
Though the BBC may be having (heated) discussions with certain ISPs over the BBC iPlayer and has had issues with the iPlayer on the iPhone; it now appears that you will be able to use BBC iPlayer on your Nintendo Wii.
The BBC’s iPlayer video service will soon be available via the Nintendo Wii.
The video download and streaming service that lets people catch up with BBC programmes will soon be a channel on the hugely popular game console.
Early versions of the service will be available from 9 April but more polished software will be released as the service is developed.
You can already use the Wii with an internet service to access the internet, but certain sites such as BBC’s iPlayer have been unavailable until now.
This now means that you can watch some of the last seven days of BBC TV through your console. Yes you will need an internet connection (and a wireless connection at that) but you can use it to watch old TV.
Well it does provide another reason why it might be purchased (instead of a “real” computer). If our learners are using consoles such as these not just for gaming, but also for watching video, viewing photographs, listening to music, even surfing the web; shouldn’t we try and ensure that we take this into account when we plan and develop e-learning and mobile learning activities and scenarios.
It might not be the “perfect” computer for e-learning or as mobile as a PDA, however for some learners it is the only device which they have substantial access to and therefore can not be ignored.
The BBC launches a version of its iPlayer video on demand service for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch.
The BBC has launched a version of its iPlayer video on demand service for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. It is the first time the software has been available on portable devices. The software, which allows users to download programmes from the last seven days, will work over a wi-fi connection but not over the mobile network.
I am really pleased to see this happen. I do use the (flash version) of the iPlayer on my Macs now and again to catch up with the odd BBC TV programme either I miss or my EyeTV misses.
This will allow me to catch up either at home or say over lunch at work (on our new learner wireless network).
Obviously from a licensing perspective we can’t use this within the college to show BBC programmes to learners, but this does now allow learners who have an iPhone or an iPod touch to watch the useful or interesting BBC programme on the iPlayer.
I do wonder if there is potential in this kind of relationship between educational institutions and wifi hotspot providers. Could we see college websites and vles available for free at local wifi hotspots. Something I am certainly thinking about.
news and views on e-learning, TEL and learning stuff in general…