It’s been almost a year since the BBC’s download store launched and yet the broadcaster seems no closer to answering one of the most-asked questions about it – when will customers be able watch purchases on their big screen TV?
The BBC Store is accessible via the browser (PC and Mac) version of iPlayer as well as dedicated smartphone and tablet apps for Android and iOS.
But as yet the broadcaster has refused to say when the service will be extended to Smart TVs and connected set top boxes, all of which include iPlayer as standard.
Obviously it’s nice to be able to watch purchases while out and about, but many of us still like to watch on a larger screen and not being able to so using the iPlayer app already installed on our TVs is a serious disincentive to buying from the store.
This is a real shame, and a commercial own gown, because the BBC’s statutory duty for platform neutrality means BBC Store could be the most flexible way of buying digital content.
Unlike iTunes and similar digital stores which ultimately tie you in to an operating system or retailer, the BBC’s version means you could switch between Android and iOS and change TVs as often as you like, knowing you’ll always be able to access your purchases.
Yet the BBC is spectacularly failing to leverage that advantage by not making content available on Smart TVs, YouView, NOW TV, Virgin Media TiVo, Amazon Fire TV or Roku. That’s an awful lot of potential customers its missing out on.
Over the past few months I’ve asked the BBC press office whether this might change and each time been met with silence.
From time to time I get an email bigging up some promotion or discount the BBC Store is offering, or hailing the arrival of something truly special like the upcoming Power of the Daleks release.
But until I can watch on the device of my choice, I’m not likely to shop with BBC Store and our mailbag suggests many of you feel the same way.