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In this article. BBC iPlayer is the dedicated online hub for browsing BBC programmes and then streaming the content to various devices, including laptops, TVs, tablets and smartphones. Most smart TVs will have BBC iPlayer available as an app, or integrated into their electronic programme guide EPGenabling you to catch up on programmes on the big screen. One option is to access it using a smart TV - find out how this works and some of the other benefits to having your TV connected to the internet in our comprehensive guide to smart TVs.
Tempted to invest in a streaming device but not sure where to start?
Read our guide on how to buy the best internet TV box. Another option is combining your computer and TV by connecting them via a HDMI cable to watch the online version of iPlayer on the big screen. If you'd prefer to catch your favourite show on the go, you can download BBC iPlayer apps on Apple, Android and Windows tablets and smartphones. Bear in mind that although all BBC iPlayer apps and variants share a common look and core functionality, the exact way they'll work and the features they offer will vary slightly from device to device.
BBC programmes are generally available for a period after they've been broadcast, so you can use iPlayer to catch up on any shows you've missed. News bulletins and sports coverage can be available for shorter periods.
Streaming live TV will require a decent broadband connection - at least 1.
Check whether your connection is up to par using our free broadband speed checker. These can be available for more than 30 days. It's important to note that you need a TV licence to use the iPlayer. For more, please see TV licence explained. If you're going on a long journey and won't have an internet connection, iPlayer enables you to download certain programmes to your computer or device to watch offline. After this, you can download content to watch later. Bear in mind that the download time will depend on how long the programme is and whether it is in SD or HD.
This lets you scroll back through the last seven days of television programmes that have been broadcast and catch-up on shows that you've missed. Available programmes are highlighted in white text, just click on what you want and start watching. You can also download programmes in HD to watch offline, although if you're using your phone's 3G connection, be wary of exceeding your data allowance.
Live Restart : If streaming live channels, a neat feature of iPlayer is being able to restart most live programmes from the beginning by clicking 'Restart the current programme'. So, even if you come into a programme that's been on for half an hour, you can just reload it to the start.
Search and favourites : If you know the name of the show you want to watch, you can use the search bar to find it. If it's a programme in a series you know you'll want to keep watching, simply click the star icon to save it to your personalised favourites. Enable subtitles : Most of the BBC's shows can be streamed with subtitles enabled.
However, as covered above, you can download programmes to your device and take them away with you. Downlo usually remain available to watch for 30 days depending on the contentso you can watch them at your leisure. While iPlayer used to hold both radio and televisual content, the two were split - the core iPlayer handles television and BBC Sounds became the place to find all of the BBC's radio channels and podcasts. Along with streaming stations such as Radio 1 and Radio 2 live, you can dip into the archives to enjoy radio programmes on-demand.
BBC Sounds works in a similar way to the TV version, including the ability to download shows as podcasts to enjoy later.
If you're looking for top notch headphones to use while listening to your favourite radio programme, read our guide on the most reliable headphone brands. This digital video online shop has entire series — contemporary and classic — to buy to keep on your computer or other device. Any purchases you make are made available to watch through iPlayer itself.
Everything you need to know about the BBC iPlayer, from the available shows to how to use it. W Which? Editorial team. How to watch BBC iPlayer One option is to access it using a smart TV - find out how this works and some of the other benefits to having your TV connected to the internet in our comprehensive guide to smart TVs.
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