ITV Player for iOS review
ITV's online catch-up TV service had a faltering start, switching from Microsoft's Silverlight to Adobe's Flash after concerns over flaky performance. Neither was it natively compatible with Apple's mobile devices, an issue the populist broadcaster addressed with the introduction of ITV Player for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The free app offers a selection of ITV shows to watch at your convenience, with content from ITV1, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4. 'Don't Miss' and 'Most Watched' selections showcase popular soaps, drama, quizzes and reality TV. The mixed delights of Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Britain's Got Talent, and The Only Way Is Essex are all highlighted, but you can dig a deeper by using the A-Z listings and 'Search' function. As ITV is a commercial broadcaster, ads are normally present at the start and at pre-determined intervals. If you skip over multiple ad breaks ITV insists you watch a set of adverts when you resume play.
At launch, ITV Player lacked the depth and variety offered by rival iOS based catch-up services from the BBC and Channel 4. That shortfall in choice has now largely been addressed, although we'd love to see space for news, current affairs and local content. While streaming quality depends on your Wi-Fi connection, we managed solid playback on a number of networks including free Internet offered by a local café. Regional restrictions, based on GPS information, along with the usual international limitations on broadcasts being seen overseas, means you may be missing out without even knowing. If you choose not to enter a postcode at first launch you'll also miss out on ITV1 programming. Apple iTunes App Store feedback suggests that even if you do, some viewers are still without ITV's primary channel. Ironically, those regional broadcasts can easily be viewed via satellite and in many cases online in the UK. ITV Player also offers a Parental Guidance option, with the ability to create a 4 digit PIN number to restrict content, which may not be suitable for younger eyes and minds. ITV Player also currently lacks support for Apple's Airplay wireless streaming.
ITV Player for iOS devices clearly adds choice for those who like to pick when and where they watch their favourite TV shows. That said, regional restrictions appear to prevent some viewers from seeing ITV's most popular channel output. The lack of Apple's Airplay support also needs to be addressed.