BBC has just shared some good news to users of its BBC iPlayer app on Android. Those with devices running Android 4.0 or higher can now have access to video downloads, though the success or quality of that experience is not exactly guaranteed to be smooth.
Last September, BBC launched support for downloading TV programs via its Android app on a select number of devices, 11 in total, including both models of the Nexus 7 tablets, the HTC One (M7), Samsung Galaxy S II, SIII, and S 4, among others. BBC has been growing that roster though rather slowly, supposedly due to stringent testing of the myriad of hardware and software combinations possible. Now, they are somewhat throwing caution to the wind in order to bring the feature to majority of their users and simply making the feature available with barely little testing.
The good news is that now, anyone with a more recent Android version, which BBC claims to comprise around 96 percent of the app’s users, will now be able to enjoy video downloads on their devices. The bad news is that BBC is practically offloading QA testing to its users. As such, BBC isn’t giving any guarantees that video downloading will be a painless experience outside those it had previously officially supported. With more than 5,000 possible combinations of phones, tablets, and Android version, it would just be statistically impossible for them to guarantee each one.
That said, BBC isn’t exactly abandoning its users to frolic or flail, whichever the case may be. They do have a mechanism available that will disable video downloads for specific Android device models and versions that are reported to be critically misbehaving. However, for some such devices that are only slightly having problems, BBC will just list them but not disable video downloads for them wholesale. It believes that any download is better than no downloads at all, and some users might even agree.