The BBC has updated its iPad and iPhone apps to allow users to download and locally cache copies of the TV shows they want to watch, enabling later viewing. Shows in the cache are available for 30 days, but once you begin to watch them they’re only accessible for seven days.
The option is available to British TV licence payers now–the tax-like system that funds the BBC, but downloading is available at no extra cost. While the downloads have to happen over Wi-Fi a 3G option is due soon and the downloads can be accessed anywhere, even while outside the U.K. An update to the BBC’s Android apps is also on the way.
Previously the BBC only allowed streaming of shows to its partner apps, and the service is very popular in the U.K. with 141 million requests to stream shows in April of this year. The BBC has been quietly trailblazing the future of access to TV shows, and has begun to take iPlayer abroad so that overseas fans of its content–including iconic TV material like Doctor Who–can access it.