Everything you need to know about BBC iPlayer on Chromecast

As Chromecast has now crossed the pond to land in Europe, one of the headline features for those in the UK is support for BBC iPlayer.

After connecting your Chromecast to your TV and setting it up - perhaps making a few router changes too - you'll be able to enjoy BBC iPlayer on the big screen, with minimal fuss.

How do I get BBC iPlayer on Chromecast?

You don't need to wait for any updates, there are no changes to apps or anything else. All you need is your Chromecast plugged into your TV and the BBC iPlayer app on your Android or iOS device.

Before you go looking for the Cast button, if you don't have a Chromecast on your home network, or your smartphone or tablet isn't connected to your home network, then you won't get the icon in the app - it only appears when you can actually use it.

One of the great things about Chromecast is how simple it is. To watch BBC iPlayer on your TV, all you have to do is open the app, find the programme you want to watch as you normally would and press play.

To send it to your TV, you simply press the Cast button and the BBC iPlayer stream is transferred to the Chromecast and it appears on your TV. Hooray!

Remote control

It's important to note that your phone isn't sending the stream itself, it's simply acting as a remote control, sending the command to the Chromecast dongle, which then gets its own direct stream from the BBC iPlayer servers.

That means your device is then free to do whatever you want. You can use it as normal, or ignore it, but you will need it to pause or stop watching. You can also use it to change the volume, if you want to, but note that this is the volume of the stream, rather than changing the level of the TV's speakers.

The advantage that Chromecast offers is that you navigate the app as you normally would, on your touchscreen device: you don't have to be fiddling with remote controls and clunky interfaces which hampers BBC iPlayer apps on some other set-top boxes.

What devices support BBC iPlayer on Chromecast?

Currently only the Android and iOS apps support the Cast feature. That will cover a lot of smartphone owners and because of the way that Chromecast works, you can use whichever device you have to hand. You might have and Android, your partner might have an iPhone, but that doesn't matter, you both get the same controls.

In the future, the BBC is going to be bringing support to desktop browsers too, supporting Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS. There's no confirmed date, but it's said to be happening soon.

There's no support for Kindle Fire devices.

Can I get BBC iPlayer on a Chromecast imported from the US?

Yes, you can. Talking to Google prior to the launch of the Chromecast in the UK, we were told that usage of Chromecast in the UK was already quite high, thanks to the number of imports, so the obvious question is whether you'll be able to use that US device to access iPlayer in the UK.

There are mixed reports about the experience, but Andrew Jones-McGuire reported over on Google+ success after factory resetting an imported Chromecast, so if it's not working for you, that should fix it.

What quality is BBC iPlayer on Chromecast?

The highest quality is HD at 2800kbps 1280 x 720, then 1500kbps 832 x 468 and finally 796kbps 640 x 360.

Play initiates at the middle 1500kbps level and then moves up or down depending on how well the stream is getting through. This means that play should start quickly, but then on most occasions, will step up in quality to 1280 x 720 for the best viewing experience.

If, for whatever reason, the stream isn't moving as fast as it needs too, it will automatically switch to a lower setting with the aim of keeping you watching. This is the same technique used by services like Netflix and in the time we've been watching BBC iPlayer, it has all run smoothly.

What about BBC Radio on Chromecast?

There is currently no support for audio only streams, but it will be coming in the future.

What about the BBC Sport app?

Although there's no support for Chromecast in the BBC Sport app, it is something that will be coming in the future. Fingers crossed that's in place in time for the World Cup.

Where can I get Chromecast?

Chromecast is available for £30 from Google Play, Currys & PC World and Amazon.

READ: Google Chromecast review