Video: Holy Cow! BBC iPlayer works smoothly on the Nokia N900's Browser! [V. Simple Instructions inside]

| February 15, 2010 | 20 Replies



BBC iPlayer is the greatest catchup service in the UK. Though it’s only BBC channels, it implements on demand video better than anyone else in the UK, with fast streaming of videos appearing seconds after the show finishes airing on live TV. It even does live streaming sometimes.

There’s an app for many platforms, and a really great one for S60, but this never made it over to Maemo and N900. On the Browser, BBC iPlayer only works well with Radio as the browser attempts to use the high bandwidth desktop videos.

User Dancairo on found that the Wii version is not only very mobile friendly in interface but allows you to watch videos in lower bandwidth! This lower bandwidth version is still much clearer than the S60 5th edition version and it’s smooth (let it buffer for a few seconds first in the smaller box).

You can quickly switch jump about on the time line and it resumes playback at that position almost immediately. Very, very, very nice indeed! Another testament to the greatness that is the Maemo 5 browser (and Adobe Flash Playback! )

  • IT STREAMS OVER 3G TOO! You can only do that with select networks with the S60 5th Edition app. [Though broadband and WiFi is recommended so as not to eat your bandwidth allowance if you have one]
  • It works with TV-OUT so you can watch on a TV without even having a digibox or TV connection even (ha, like Uni TVs). BBC iPlayer app on S60 5TH does not work over  TV out.
  • Sound and picture quality is better than S60 5th Edition app.
  • Subtitles work! And the font size is very mobile friendly. There’s no subtitles option in the S60 5th edition app.



1. Point your N900’s browser to

See it’s much nicer than bbc iPlayer direct. It’s very finger poke friendly.  It’s like it was made for the N900.

2. Just find any programme and choose “low bandwidth option”.  Click play. DONE! Here I’ve clicked to the TV section.

I’ve picked out BBC 1


I’ve selected Live at the Apollo

Scroll down at the bottom, it’ll say “Low Bandwidth Option”

Just click play

It might take a few seconds to buffer (and it will s stutter) but then it will play smoothly.

Then just tap the video once to watch in full screen. Tap again to access controls/time line. You can easily jump in the time line and video will resume smoothly. Tip. Go out of full screen mode, let it play a bit and return to full screen.

Note. There is another way to get BBC iPlayer to work on the N900 but it requres Xterminal/downloading of some stuff and so a bit long winded. This is just go to a web page…choose low bandwidth version…DONE!


Press the S.


Tags: , , , ,

Category: Maemo, Nokia, Nseries, Video

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
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  • Colin

    This is fantastic! Works perfectly!

    • Jay Montano

      Hey Colin, Glad it’s working for you. It surprised me how brilliant the quality was after it settles down. Clear stereo audio too.

  • Anita

    Is this BBC iPlayer only available for UK resident ?

    • Jay Montano

      Yes. Like Hulu is only US. But I hear there are ways around it – like some ExPats from UK still somehow watch US programs whilst in Spain/Australia etc.

  • CD

    The subtitles also work on this quite well for those of us that are hard of hearing or sat on the train with no sound on. I think muting the sound also makes it marginally smoother as well. Try it out and update your blog if you want.

    • Jay Montano

      Hey, that’s brilliant, SUBTITLES – I didn’t even think about that functionality.

      Especially useful in Horizon programmes when they’re mentioning unfamiliar molecular names/genes etc – and for RAB C nesbitt. HAHA.

      I’ll check on that and update this post soon.

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  • Mark K

    Excellent post. At work today I had my company director waving his iphone at me, saying how wonderful the BBC iplayer worked on it. My N900 ground to a halt when I tried it on the full BBC website. Not tomorrow. Keep up the good work.

  • jon

    is thet vorks on my nokia 6530

  • Dancairo

    CD :
    The subtitles also work on this quite well for those of us that are hard of hearing or sat on the train with no sound on. I think muting the sound also makes it marginally smoother as well. Try it out and update your blog if you want.

    Brilliant…i’ll update post on

  • Dancairo

    Since the BBC have changed the Wii version to no longer allow low bandwidth version this method seems to have stopped working…so, after playing around for a little while i think i may have another way :-)….

    1. Go to the normal BBC iplayer page and click on a program that you want to watch.

    2. At the bottom left of the playing screen there are 3 buttons, the first being the volume one, if you click the middle button it opens the program you wish to watch in a ‘player console’….this plays smoothly and after a little stutter at the begining, plays perfectly….you can also click the ‘full screen’ button…again, perfect


    • Jay Montano

      Thanks Dan,

      I was disappointed when the old method stopped working but this new method of yours works a treat. Great find again.

      I’ve made a new post here, and I’ll update this one too (to forward to the new post)

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  • Blackberry mobiles

    This is fantastic! Works perfectly!

  • Jeremy Gilbert

    myPlayer did not “break” any content protection. If (and I believe it did) work in the same way as beebplayer, it simply acted like a Nokia phone to provide streaming access the low quality streams already freely available. They were shut down because of the BBC’s “syndication rules”.

    The reason for those syndication rules is to protect the content.

    beebplayer fed false information about itself back to the BBC in order to access streams not intended (or presumably rights cleared) for the device. MyPlayer did that and then made permanent copies of the streams, which is illegal in the UK in any circumstances.

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