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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

BBC iPlayer goes international

BBC iPlayer

Somebody’s been listening to me. Shut up: let me at least pretend as much. From Seen It:

Overseas fans of British TV can now enjoy a mix of classic comedies and modern dramas thanks to a new international version of the BBC’s iPlayer now available for Apple’s iPad.

In return for paying €6.99 a month (or €49.99 for an annual subscription) to access gems such as Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses, Doctor Who and Sherlock, the BBC’s commercial arm will also inflect the depressing hell of EastEnders onto international viewers.

I used to love EastEnders, though I haven’t seen it in years. It is depressing, but in a good way.

This is truly depressing, however (from Wired):

The app, which lets users stream and download the Beeb’s TV shows, is free and available in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

No U.S. or Canada? Australia? C’mon, Beeb.

There is good news for those who can use this new iPlayer:

The app differs from the local, UK-only version quite significantly. The UK iPlayer service is intended as a way to catch up on shows from the past week, and all content is free for its short life on the service. The international iPlayer works more like Hulu. There is a significant back catalog of around 1,000 hours stretching back 60 years — currently featured are vintage episodes of Doctor Who starring William Hartnell. The iPlayer also contains non-BBC content. The excellent Misfits from Channel 4 is in there, for example.

Also new are streaming over 3G and offline viewing. The latter lets you download and keep episodes to watch later — perfect for vacations or plane rides.

It’s all a step in the right direction. There’s no reason at all why BBC content (or that of any other TV network anywhere on the planet) shouldn’t be available to anyone anywhere who is willing to pay for it. As I’ve been saying for years.



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