iPad and iPhone owners who subscribe to BBC are now able to download their favorite TV shows onto their iDevice at no extra charge, for offline viewing, the British Broadcast Corporation has confirmed.
In releasing BBC iPlayer 2.0.0 for iPhone and iPad today, BBC has added the ability to “download TV programmes to watch anywhere.”
Users will be able to download TV shows for free, but they’ll only be able to keep them for 30 days. Technically, it’s still renting.
Daniel Danker, BBC's general manager of on-demand programmes, told The Guardian, “This fundamentally changes one of the most annoying restrictions about viewing programmes.”
“It means audiences are liberated from the constraints [of online-only viewing] and it fundamentally changes what it means to go on holiday.”
Danker noted that, thanks to the new ability to download BBC content onto an iPad or iPhone, “you can now load up your mobile phone or tablet with hours and hours of BBC programmes, then watch them on the road, on the tube, on a plane, without worrying about having an internet connection or running up a mobile data bill.”
The broadcaster has calculated that users would be able to cram around 50 hours of TV content into a 16GB iPhone or iPad. If the customer downloads only high-definition content, he/she gets around 25 hours of viewing content.
Currently, the feature works on Wi-Fi only, but BBC promises to make it work on 3G as well in the near future.
BBC might face some criticism from rivals who charge for downloadable content. ITV is offered as an example, as it is looking to introduce micropayments for its ITV Player.
BSkyB's Now TV offers VOD films to consumers without a Sky pay-TV subscription. However, the company charges a monthly fee, as well as per-download fees.