Advanced Television

iPlayer ending downloads for Macs, PCs

February 13, 2024

The BBC’s iPlayer streaming service is to end downloads for users who watch on desktop or laptop computers. Currently viewers on PCs and Macs can save programmes via the iPlayer Downloads app, but that will soon come to an end.

The changes were “due to the low number of people using it and the cost required to keep it going” the BBC said.

“This does not affect downloads on the BBC iPlayer mobile or tablet apps and viewers can continue to stream programmes on BBC iPlayer on their PCs and Macs,” a spokesperson added.

The BBC has published a timeline of the planned changes:

• February 2nd – new downloads of the BBC iPlayer Downloads app end

• March 11th – downloading programmes from the web will end. Users will still be able to watch any existing downloads until April 8th

• April 8th – the BBC iPlayer Downloads app will be closed

The corporation declined to reveal how many people would be affected by the closure of downloads for users of desktops and laptops, but the decision has attracted some criticism. Former BBC Journalist Robert Rea wrote on X: “This strikes me as a very bad move. Why would you want to make it harder to watch your programmes?”

Traditional TV viewing had its sharpest ever decline in 2022, according to the latest annual survey of UK media consumption by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. But the BBC has been keen to highlight “record” growth in digital services. iPlayer now accounts for 18 per cent of the BBC’s total viewing, Ofcom found.

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