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BBC iPlayer Review

BBC iPlayer – Gold Award

BBC iPlayer has had a great year of content. As a service that comes as part of the license fee that many households already pay, it could be argued it offers unrivalled value – featuring a range of daring British shows and intriguing throwback content.

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What we love – Best of British, an improving app experience and a great back catalogue

You can’t mention BBC iPlayer in 2020 without mentioning Normal People, the Sally Rooney adaptation gripped the nation and even, transcended our shores – reaching astronomic popularity. 

While Normal People was a phenomenon, it would be unfair to overlook some other stellar offerings on the service – from Michaela Coel’s boundary-pushing I May Destroy You to the lockdown series Staged, starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen. Aside from the headline grabbers, there’s a refreshing lineup of intriguing documentaries and great British series of the past.

For several years, BBC iPlayer was a bit of a dinosaur among streaming rivals like Netflix and Prime Video. However, the service has improved over the past couple of years and, in particular, a 2020 update made big strides.

A new UI based on more modern technology introduced a much easier to use interface as well as a new Favourites feature that provides a dedicated space to catch new episodes of all your most-loved shows.

What we don’t like – Not as modern as rivals, missing big global shows and limited 4K/HDR content

While BBC iPlayer has made great strides in the looks department, it still feels a couple of years behind competitors – especially, recently released services like Disney Plus. A bit of colour, more prominent imagery and sleeker animations wouldn’t go amiss.

BBC iPlayer played a blinder in 2020 when it comes to marquee shows and, if every year was like this, this point wouldn’t stand. However, until 2020, the BBC has often failed to provide big shows that capture the eyes of the nation and beyond. This year may have turned the tide for iPlayer in this regard but it still has work to do.

For 4K and HDR content, BBC iPlayer definitely has a long way to go. The current list of supported content is just five shows long and, while they have also tested our some live sport too, this is all still being referred to as a “trial”.

Verdict

If you are one of the many of the people in this country with a TV license then BBC iPlayer is a stunning part of that package, offering a back catalogue of British greats as well as striving to create modern classics.

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