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BBC allows mobile iPlayer downloads at no extra cost

BBC Viewers will now be able to watch the their favourite shows while travelling and on holiday abroad, with the corporation allowing programs to be downloaded from the iPlayer to tablets and smartphones for the first time, The Guardian reports.

From today, licence-fee payers in the UK will be able to download BBC programs from the iPlayer video-on-demand service and watch them offline on their iPhones and iPads at no extra cost, including while abroad. The download function will launch on Google Android smartphones in the near future.

The development marks a significant shift for BBC iPlayer, which has previously only allowed viewers to stream programs to tablets and mobile devices with broadband connections or download them to watch on a desktop computer.

Daniel Danker, the BBC’s general manager of on-demand programs, said: “This fundamentally changes one of the most annoying restrictions about viewing programs. It means audiences are liberated from the constraints [of online-only viewing] and it fundamentally changes what it means to go on holiday.”

The launch is part of BBC plans to take the five-year-old iPlayer beyond the laptop, catch-up programming and tech-savvy users.

A boom in the number of smartphone owners in the UK has seen mobile requests for the iPlayer rocket 142% in the past year to 30 million a month. The iPad is now the second most popular way to watch the iPlayer, after the PC. According to the BBC, a fifth of all UK adults use the iPlayer once a week.