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BBC embraces Flash alternative for Iplayer

Updated Iplayer app to follow
Wed Sep 19 2012, 14:36
BBC Iplayer logo

BRITISH BROADCASTER the BBC has launched its Media Player software for mobile watching and listening on devices that don't support Flash.

The BBC has been left out by the decision to discontinue support for Flash on Android, meaning that anyone with a recent version of the Google operating system on their device was unable to enjoy its content.

That's not good though, so to fill the gap, and fill it well, the broadcaster has released a software add-on that it is calling Media Player.

We visited the BBC Iplayer on a Asus Nexus 7 tablet via the Chrome browser. A prompt told us to download the new BBC Media Player software from the Play store and we did as we were told.

A short download and install later and we were watching Dr Who on a device that the Iplayer app and Flash do not support.

In a blog post the BBC said that it had enjoyed its use of Flash as its media player, and had to face up to a number of issues when it came to finding an alternative. Perhaps the most important of these was finding something to support Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and older versions of Android like the still very popular Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

While the BBC has moved away from Flash it has not moved away from Adobe, and the new system uses Air as the broadcast medium.

"We are making this change with our eyes open. No technology is perfect. We've seen some of the challenges that other Adobe Air based apps have had in the marketplace and so we have worked hard, both internally and with our technology partners to build the best application we can," said Chris Yanda, executive product manager of POD Mobile Management at BBC Future Media.

"Adobe have been a long-standing collaborator with the BBC and have been excellent throughout this process, working closely with our teams to ensure continuity and a great experience throughout the London 2012 Olympic Games and then thereafter to support our requirements around this project.

"We will continue to work on this application and on improving media playback and mobile experience on Android smartphones and tablets."

Next week the BBC will release an updated version of the Iplayer app for Android devices. This will make use of the new add-on and let Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above users watch telly on the go. µ


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