Technology

BBC iPlayer app removed from older Samsung devices weeks before Christmas

Some Blu-ray and DVD players and set-top boxes will lose access entirely, while a number of smart TVs will not receive an update until early 2020.

BBC iPlayer viewers have criticised the removal of the broadcaster’s app from some older Samsung devices, weeks away from Christmas.

The streaming and catch-up platform is no longer available on some Samsung Blu-ray and DVD players and set-top boxes, dating from 2012 up to 2018.

Although the iPlayer app is not being withdrawn from Samsung smart TVs, a firmware update issued by Samsung could leave some models sold between 2013 and 2015 without access until early 2020.

“@SamsungHelpUK the issues with iplayer on Samsung TVs 2012-2015 vintage are an utter disgrace!,” tweeted one TV owner.

“Early next year? Are you kidding me? That’s 2 of our 3 TVs where iplayer is no longer useable! Clearly you have Utter contempt for your customers!”

Another wrote: “merry Christmas! I can’t access BBC iPlayer on my Samsung TV. How do I cancel my TV license then ? Or will this be fixed before Christmas?”

A third added: “Congratulations for mucking up my Samsung TV iPlayer. The update doesnt work and I won’t be able to use it for Christmas. Well done BBC.”

Others said they were struggling to install the software update, despite it being available.

Responding to one customer, Samsung staff wrote: “We understand your frustration; the reason this is happening is to avoid download traffic and ensure a smooth installation process by staggering the update releases.”

On a support page, the BBC said iPlayer will no longer be available on some Samsung Blu-ray, DVD player and set-top box devices from December 6 as they are “unable to support the technical requirements needed to keep BBC iPlayer going”.

“Despite the challenge, we work hard to keep BBC iPlayer working on as many devices as possible,” it added.

On Tuesday, the BBC said: “Samsung has informed us that their 2013 sets are still waiting to be automatically updated and that this should happen soon.

Samsung
(Nick Ansell/PA)

“However, we’ve been advised that it is also possible to manually update these TV sets now, should you choose not to wait.”

Which? computing editor Kate Bevan said: “People pay a lot of money for TVs and other smart devices, so it is understandable that they would feel frustrated when they are no longer able to access their favourite apps – a problem that is likely to become increasingly common.

“Manufacturers need to be upfront about how long they will provide updates for smart devices and do a better job of giving support and guidance about the options available to customers if they stop.

“App developers should also be clear with people about which platforms their apps work on and give them plenty of warning when an app is no longer going to be supported.”

The BBC said the issue affecting some Samsung TVs is a firmware issue.

A spokesman said: “Samsung tell us they are working hard to address the problem with their firmware and any viewers who are experiencing difficulty watching iPlayer on Samsung TVs should contact the manufacturer to get it fixed.”

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