Dear Dominic, I read on your site that BBC iPlayer’s available for the Xbox 360 now. My son’s got an Xbox attached to the telly, so how do I get it for him? Also, is there any other way to watch iPlayer without a computer - I find it quite uncomfortable to watch things on my laptop.
Angelica Jones, via email
Our expert Dominic says...
You're right - you can now watch BBC iPlayer on the Xbox 360. In fact, that's just one of the platforms on which you can access the popular catch up TV service.
The only thing that matches iPlayer's popularity is its ubiquity. You can now get it on all the main games consoles, smartphones, tablets, and more.
So read on, and we'll tell you the different ways you can watch iPlayer, and how to get it.
As your son has an Xbox 360, we'll start with that and the other games consoles.
Microsoft Xbox 360 - It's really easy to get iPlayer on Xbox - you just need to download the app from Xbox Live (the console's online service). To do this:
- Turn on the Xbox console and sign in with a valid profile
- Choose the "Apps" menu on the console dashboard and select the "Apps Marketplace" tile
- Find or search for BBC iPlayer in the menu
- Select it to download the app. It will then automatically start
- To access it on subsequent occasions, go to the "Video" menu on the main dashboard and select "My Video Apps". iPlayer will be listed there.
Unlike some applications on Xbox, which require you to pay a monthly or yearly "gold" subscription for online services, BBC iPlayer is free to all.
Sony Playstation 3 - Playstation 3 owners have had access to iPlayer for some time now. Initially the catch-up service was available through the Playstation's web browser, but since August 2011, it's been available as a downloadable app.
To get it:
- Sign into the PlayStation Network (the console's online service)
- Go to the "TV/Video Services" menu, and select "My Channels"
- Select "BBC iPlayer". The application will download if it isn't already installed.
Nintendo Wii - If you prefer a bit more waggle when you watch, you can also get iPlayer on the Nintendo Wii. To access it, you need to make sure your Wii is connected to a Wi-Fi internet connection. Then:
- Select "Wii Shop Channel" from the console's main menu
- Search for BBC iPlayer channel
- Download the BBC iPlayer channel
BBC iPlayer has been a smash hit with people who want to watch TV on the small screen - on Christmas Day 2011 alone, the iPlayer app was downloaded more than 22,000 times.
The service is now available on iPhone, most Android handsets and BlackBerrys. A full list of compatible devices can be found here.
iPhone - There are two ways to watch BBC iPlayer from your iPhone. The first is to download the iPlayer app from the Apple App Store which you can access from your phone.
Alternatively, you can access the catch up service by going to http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer through the iPhone's Safari web browser.
Android - An iPlayer app is available to anyone with Android 2.2 or higher. You can download the BBC iPlayer app for most Android devices from the Google Play Store (formerly known as the Android Market).
Alternatively, you can watch it through a web browser at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer.
To watch iPlayer on an Android device, the BBC recommends you download the most up-to-date version of Adobe Flash Player. This can be found by searching the Google Play Store.
BlackBerry - You can download an iPlayer app from BlackBerry App World. You can also watch BBC iPlayer through your phone's web browser.
Note: In many cases, it's possible to watch shows on iPlayer via a 3G mobile broadband connection. That's great because it means you can catch up on your favourite shows while on the go. However, like any video service, iPlayer will eat up a lot of data. To avoid hitting your usage limits, and maybe even incurring additional charges, we recommend you compare mobile broadband deals to ensure you have a data plan that supports your viewing habits.
With their great screens and easy portability, tablets are a natural home for BBC iPlayer. To get it:
iPad 2 / New iPad
Download the free BBC iPlayer app from the Apple App Store. This will let you watch BBC iPlayer on your tablet via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Alternatively, you can access it through the Safari browser (although this is much clunkier than using the app).
Android Tablets (Android 2.2 or higher only)
Download the BBC iPlayer app from the Google Play Store. The BBC recommends you make sure you're also using the most up to date version of Adobe Flash, which can also be installed / updated from the Google Play Store.
Note: As with smartphones, watching video through your a 3G mobile broadband connection can eat into your data usage allowance faster than you might expect. If you plan to regularly watch iPlayer this way, we recommend comparing mobile broadband data plans to make sure you have one that gives you a data allowance of at least 2GB a month (ideally more).
If you subscribe to Virgin Media, BT Vision or Freesat, you can watch BBC iPlayer on your TV. Alternatively, if you're lucky enough to have a web-connected television you may also be able to watch iPlayer directly through your "smart" TV.
Virgin Media - If you subscribe to a Virgin Media cable TV package, getting BBC iPlayer is really easy. Simply push the red button on your remote when watching BBC One. Then, select BBC iPlayer from the menu.
BT Vision - To get iPlayer through BT Vision, simply press the "BT Vision" button on your remote control and scroll to "Replay (Catch Up)" on the menu. The BBC shows are available here, ready to watch at your convenience.
Alternatively, tune the TV to channel 990.
Freesat - To watch BBC iPlayer through Freesat, you need to make sure your Freesat box is connected to the internet. If it is, then you can watch iPlayer by pressing the red button while viewing BBC One.
Alternatively, you can go to channel number 901.
Note: Watching iPlayer on your big screen TV is a great feeling. If you want to subscribe to a service that lets you do this, or switch to a different option, make sure you compare the different deals available in your area via our sister site DigitalChoices.co.uk, to make sure you get the best price.
PC / Mac
And, although it isn't your first choice Angelica, if the other options aren't available, you can always watch iPlayer through your computer. This is the most flexible way to watch the service, as it lets you both stream content and download programmes to play offline (these can only be watched for 30 days after download).
Remember: if you connect your computer to your television, you can watch iPlayer comfortably on your big screen. Check out this video for more information:
Simply go to BBC iPlayer to use the service.
I hope all that helps Angelica. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to watch iPlayer in comfort - from the Xbox 360 to the good old TV itself.
To get the most out of iPlayer, we recommend making sure you have a broadband connection fast enough to stream content without irritating buffering pauses, and with a generous enough usage policy to not worry about the amount of data you're using. If in doubt, compare the different broadband options available to make sure you do.