The BBC has released its iPlayer for iPad app in 11 European countries and plans to launch it to iPad owners in the US, Canada and Australia later in the year.

iPad users in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland are now able to download the iPlayer for iPad app from the App Store.

The download itself is free and there is a limited amount of free content available, though you'll need to sign up to a €6.99 per month (about £6.15) subscription or a €49.99 (£44) annual package to see premium content. The app is produced by the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide and there is some pre-roll advertising in the app as well.

It's slightly different to the iPlayer for iPad available in the UK, providing video-on-demand services rather than catch-up programming from the last seven days.

BBC.com managing director Luke Bradley-Jones said: "We will have content from the last month, but also the best from the catalogue stretching back 50 to 60 years."

A UK version of the iPlayer for iPad app was launched in the UK in February, but only carries a three-star rating in the App Store.

"A very nice looking app, with good video quality, but why oh why are we not allowed to download programmes like in the desktop version? The whole point of the iPad is to use it on the move, and being able to download a programme and watch it on a train or tube where there isn't a Wi-Fi connection," one reviewer wrote.

Interestingly, the missing features bemoaned by the above reviewer are available in the international version of the app. With a year's subscription to the app costing roughly a third of the standard UK licence fee, this might not go down too well with the BBC's critics.

The BBC ran into trouble when it launched the original iPlayer service as it was only compatible with Windows-based computers. Though Mac and Linux versions did eventually arrive, controversy has followed the service ever since.