You’ll probably have noticed that this year’s Wimbledon tennis championships is underway, it runs until Sunday 7 July. As the competition heats up (like the weather) you may want to keep tabs on the tennis when you are nowhere near the television. Here is our guide to watching Wimbledon 2013 on your iPhone or iPad. We’ll also explain how you can watch Wimbledon on your Mac. Just try and avoid the big outburst of disappointment or joy when you are in the office.
First things first. You’ll nee a valid TV license to be able to watch Wimbledon live while it is being broadcast. You also need to be in the UK to watch the UK coverage of the event.
You’ll also want to keep tabs on your data if you are streaming via 3G - you will find that just a few minutes of live programming can eat up a few MB of data. Be wary, especially if you have a capped data limit for the month.
Speaking of 3G (or if you are lucky enough, 4G) you’ll want to be in a decent network area, when we tried streaming via 3G the picture was terrible.
How to watch Wimbledon 2013 on your iPhone or iPad with TVCatchup
You can watch Wimbledon online live via the TVCatchup app. It’s free from the App Store. When you open the app you’ll see a straightforward TV guide including all the Freeview channels. Tap the channel you want to watch (Wimbledon is broadcast by the BBC). You may be confronted with an advert, although we were able to skip it. You’ll then be watching the tennis live - well, not completely live, there was a 30 second delay compared to our TV.
By default TVCatch up only works via Wi-Fi, however, you can change your settings so that you can stream via 3G. To change your settings, tap the cog icon on the top right of the screen and deselect Use Wi-Fi only in Streaming Video. We streamed for one minute over 3G and it took just 3MB of data (over half an hour that could add up to 90MB). The streaming wasn't ideal though, with images becoming quite pixelated.
We liked the fact that we could pause the playback, see what programme is on next, and send to our Apple TV.
We tested the Apple TV streaming feature and it worked well (in fact the quality of the stream seemed better than that from the iPlayer app). Imagine if Apple allowed TVCatchup as an app on the Apple TV...
How to watch Wimbledon 2013 on your iPhone or iPad with iPlayer
The most obvious way to watch Wimbledon on your iPhone is via the BBC iPlayer app. You can stream some programmes live and we found they were about 45seconds behind the TV. Streaming for a minute over 3G (the BBC warns you that data charges may apply) used 4MB of data (that’s potentially 120MB of data over half an hour). The quality was a tiny bit better than via TVCatchup, but it’s likely to depend on your 3G coverage.
Via the iPlayer app you can watch any match at your leisure, so if you miss a match, it’s easy to catch up.
If you don’t find Wimbledon in the list of Featured programmes we suggest you scroll to the top of the page and enter Wimbledon in the search box.
The matches are available to watch for five days. So don’t wait until the end of Wimbledon to watch anything from the first week. That said, we frequently download content from iPlayer to watch on our iPad and we had expected to be able to download matches. We were disappointed, however, as there was no option to download any of the matches. This strikes us as a missed opportunity.
You can also send your live stream straight to your Apple TV to watch on a HDTV. When we tested the TVCatchup stream we found that if we closed the app the stream stopped. We were impressed that the stream continued to play when we closed the app on our iPhone, which meant we could continue to use the device.
How to watch Wimbledon on your Mac or PC via iPlayer
To watch Wimbledon on a Mac, simply head to bbc.co.uk/iplayer for the desktop version of the site.
If you were hoping to watch a match live, select BBC One or BBC Two in the TV Channels section to the bottom left - make sure you have the correct day selected. You will see the programme listings to the right of that, and you can select whatever is being broadcast and watch it live.
As with the iPhone app it is possible to watch any match that has been broadcast over the past five days. To find the matches we recommend searching for Wimbledon in the search box in the top right corner. As with the iOS version of iPlayer it isn’t possible to download.
How to watch Wimbledon on your Mac or PC via TV Catchup
When we ran TVCatchup on our Mac we were confronted with a scary looking message that Flash wanted to store some information on our Mac. We allowed it to do it’s stuff.
The stream was just 10 seconds behind our television. Unlike the iOS app it wasn’t possible to pause playback, which seemed an odd omission to us.
As with the iPhone, you should be wary about streaming data via your Mac if you have limited data on your broadband contract.
Enjoy the tennis.