The BBC Store is finally here, a brand-new online shop stocked full of televisual BBC gems from the past and present.
But how does it work, how much does it cost and what devices and platforms can I access it on?
We attempt to answer all that and more in this handy document that you’ll no doubt want to right-click-save-as immediately if not sooner, right?
How many shows are available on BBC Store?
From launch, there’s over 7,000 hours of BBC content available to buy from the BBC Store. Titles available from launch include The Great British Bake Off, Sherlock, Top Gear, Doctor Who, Orphan Black, Poldark and many more.
How much are programmes on BBC Store?
Prices vary, with some shows like Luther going for £7.99 a series or £1.49 an episode. Others, like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell are priced at £10.99 for the complete series or £1.89 per episode.
Can I get BBC Store content in HD?
BBC Store content in high definition costs a little bit more. For example, you can pick up both seasons of The Fall in SD for £14.99 or HD for £16.99.
Provided you’ve got enough bandwidth to support HD streams (5Mbps minimum) you’ll be able to watch shows in HD. If not, you can choose to download BBC Store programmes in HD, although these files will take longer to download and they’ll take up more hard drive space.
Not everything is available in HD either. For a programme to be available in HD on BBC Store, it typically needs to either have been broadcast on a BBC HD channel or have been previously remastered.
What about 4K Ultra HD?
Cool your jets – aside from some next-level test footage, the BBC hasn’t publicly released any 4K Ultra HD content yet and it won’t for some time.
There are plans to make 4K content available on BBC iPlayer, which means that Ultra HD programmes will eventually trickle down to the BBC Store as well.
How long will it take for a show to move from BBC iPlayer to BBC Store?
Typically, each episode will become available the day after it broadcasts on television. If a series is mid-way through being broadcast, as is currently the case with River, you’ll be able to buy a Series Pass, which will see you get the new episodes as soon as they’re available.
If a BBC programme has very recently been broadcast, it may take a little longer for the HD version to become available.
Will BBC Store shows feature subtitles and audio description?
While many shows feature subtitles and audio description tracks, these aren’t always available on every show.
If these are available, there’ll be an ‘S’ or ‘AD’ icon next to each programme.
How can I watch BBC Store purchases?
You can either stream shows from the BBC Store provided you’ve got adequate bandwidth, or download programmes for offline playback.
To stream shows in standard definition, you’ll need at least 2.8Mbps of spare bandwidth. HD streams require 5Mbps.
If you’ve got a slow or unstable broadband connection you can download shows and access them through the BBC Store Downloader program.
Which devices will BBC Store be available on?
At the time of writing, BBC Store content can be accessed on a number of platforms including Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android.
To stream BBC Store content via Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE and you’ll need to have either Microsoft Silverlight or Adobe Flash installed.
To watch downloaded content on your desktop, you’ll need to have the BBC Store Downloader program (Windows, OS X) which requires Silverlight to work. It’s not yet clear if BBC Store content is coming to games consoles and other platforms like YouView and Freeview Play.
There’s a full list of supported devices and minimum specifications available here.
Can I download files to watch on my phone or tablet?
Not at the moment, but the BBC says it’s working on it. Hopefully it won’t take half an ice age like development of iPlayer downloads for Android did.
How can I access BBC Store shows on multiple devices?
Everything you buy on BBC Store is synced to your BBC iD, so when you log in on your iPhone, Windows laptop or Android tablet, you’ll see your purchases waiting for you.
I’ve been a licence fee payer for years. Why should I pay again?
That’s a good question – if you’re 111 years old and you’ve been paying for a licence since the BBC was founded back in 1922, you might have a reason to be annoyed about this.
On a less sarcastic note, BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has been selling DVDs, videos, books and magazines for years – BBC Store is an evolution of that.
More prosaically, the BBC has a huge archive full of old content – over 4 million titles – that people would love to see again. This is a good way to give people what they want while covering the costs of archiving and digitising that massive content library.
Between the millions in cuts the BBC has had to face from the previous and current administration, managing this vast content library isn’t going to be easy or cheap.
Unlike purchases from services like Wuaki.tv, you’ll be able to keep the things you buy on BBC Store forever. This is more like Sky’s Buy & Keep service, which gives you a permanent hard copy of all of your Sky Store purchases in the post.
I’ve already bought BBC DVD and VHS box sets. Will I be able to redeem my purchases like I can with UltraViolet DVDs and Blu-rays?
There are currently no plans to roll out an UltraViolet-style service on BBC Store, but we note that there is a ‘Redeem’ section on the site.
At the moment, this appears to be purely for voucher codes, which will see your account topped up with credit, allowing you to buy stuff. We think that an equivalent of UltraViolet for BBC Store is a great idea, but the BBC hasn’t yet indicated whether or not this is on the cards.
How can I buy vouchers?
Vouchers are available from ASDA, Sainsbury’s, WH Smiths and Wilko in £10 and £25 forms. As with iTunes vouchers, there’s a one-off code on the back which you can use to top up your account with credit.
Can I get a refund on something if I don’t like it?
There’s a 14 day window in which you can get a refund if you either don’t like something or if something isn’t working out for whatever reason.