Rating: BBC’s Media Player saves the day on Android
Over the last weekend [3rd-4th November 2012], GoMobile News struggled to watch the Formula One motor racing live in the UK. But then we discovered that it was possible to play ‘catch up’ by using the BBC’s iPlayer service. The question was – how? And the answer proved to be watching via iPlayer on a Motorola RAZR (XT910). Naturally, the screen size – even on the RAZR – was more than a little bit disappointing. Luckily, the RAZR has a built in HDMI port. So using an extremely low cost HDMI cable (£3.75) purchased from eBay, we were able to plug the RAZR into a regular flat screen TV set. This gave us the screen size we needed but not quite the resolution. We’re working on that bit.Regular GoMobile News readers will already know that we’re not too happy about Adobe’s decision to stop supporting ‘Flash’ on a mobile platform.
The net effect felt most acutely in the UK is that the BBC’s catch up TV player – known as the iPlayer, didn’t work without Adobe Flash loaded.
Until now. The BBC has come up with an ingenious solution.
Instead of relying on Flash, the broadcaster has built an entirely new app called the BBC Media Player.
The Media Player is based on Adobe’s Air product instead of Flash. It’s not an elegant solution but at least it works.
More information here.
How did we discover this change? Well, GoMobile News happened to be at the recent 4GEE (4G) party held in Battersea Power Station.
We wanted to gauge how much better 4G is at streaming video than 3G, so we tried to stream an old F1 TV programme to a Samsung Galaxy attached to the 4GEE network.
It displayed brilliantly but in the process we noticed that the iPlayer demanded that we download the Media Player app. And it worked.
Not only that but the 4GEE video streaming worked extremely well.
We took a peek at the download speeds that the Samsung Galaxy S III was experiencing and it reached about 28 Mbit/s which is highly respectable.
So, if you want to run the BBC iPlayer app on a very recent Android handset, you don’t need Flash any more – just download the Media Player app.
The only cloud on the horizon? Well, GoMobile News tried to upgrade our loan Motorola RAZR i to BBC Media Player but it didn’t work.
We suspect that the switch to Intel’s chips on the RAZR ‘i’ rather than the regular RAZR are very much to blame for this.
It’s not the only app to fail thanks to the Intel chip which is worrying for Intel/Motorola.
Here at GoMobile Towers we are no experts on configuring a flat screen TV sets.
So if anyone has an idea why the image projected from the RAZR onto an ordinary TC screen was so poor, do let us know.
To download the BBC Media Player go here.