BBC iPlayer Breaks Down On Amazon Fire TV Sticks [Updated]

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Many owners of Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices have been reporting serious issues with BBC iPlayer in the past few days, with the BBC now investigating the problem.

It appears the issues started after a software update of the BBC iPlayer app on certain Fire TV devices, which happened last week.

Since then, many viewers keep experiencing playback issues – namely constant buffering and pauses, with some of them taking to social media to complain.

The BBC is aware of the problem, but so far could only offer a temporary workaround (see below), with the investigation into the root of the problem still ongoing.

  • Update: The BBC confirmed to us that this issue only affects the 2nd Generation Amazon Fire TV Sticks from 2016.
  • April 13 Update: According to the BBC, the issue has now been fixed with a new software version – see full instructions below.

This iPlayer breakdown is happening at the same time as another one – an iPlayer fail on Humax Freesat boxes, which we reported about a few days ago, and is still ongoing as well.

BBC iPlayer new look 2021
BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is the BBC’s streaming app/service, which holds thousands of box-sets, films and catch-up programmes.

It’s available on a wide range of devices – from streaming devices like the Firestick, to Freeview Play recorders, Smart TVs and smartphones. 

Many viewers who can’t get a Freeview (or Freesat) signal, rely solely on the BBC iPlayer app for watching the BBC’s programmes and channels, and therefore can’t access any BBC programming when it fails (on their TV, at least).

Furthermore, Amazon’s Fire TV sticks are among the most popular streaming devices in the UK – so many are potentially affected by this issue.

BBC iPlayer Buffering On Fire TV Devices

The buffering issues are only happening on some, but not all, Fire TV devices – the 2nd generation Fire TV sticks from 2016.

And indeed, I haven’t been able to replicate this on my Fire TV Cube, for example – but if you’re noticing this on another Fire TV model, let us know in the comments.

Fire TV Sticks Close comparison
Fire TV

Affected viewers took to Twitter to complain:

Normally, buffering occurs when your broadband (or home WiFi’s range) connection isn’t fast enough, or isn’t stable enough for some reason (either on your end, or somewhere along the line between you and the BBC’s streaming servers).

Buffering loading icon on streaming tablet

However, in this case, the broadband connection doesn’t seem to be the culprit, as this is happening to a variety of users (just don’t mix this with the Humax / Freesat iPlayer issue – which is a separate one).

How To Fix The BBC iPlayer Bug On Fire TV Sticks

On Wednesday, April 13, the BBC announced that the issue has been fixed, with Amazon releasing a software update that will resolve the issue.

However, you have to update your BBC iPlayer app for the fix to be implemented.

In order to update the app on your Firestick, you have two options:

1. Go to the Fire TV App Store (on your device) and search for BBC iPlayer. Select it and a prompt to update should appear.

2. Go to the Fire TV’s Homepage, find BBC iPlayer and use the Menu button on the Fire TV Remote. An option to update should then appear.

The fixed version of the app is 2.1.220000577. You can check which version you are using by going to Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications > Select BBC iPlayer.

Where Can I Also Watch BBC iPlayer?

When facing such issues, you can still watch BBC iPlayer on several other platforms.

If you have a Smart TV, with streaming apps, it most likely has the BBC iPlayer app as well – so look for it, and as long as your TV is connected to broadband, it should work fine.

BBC iplayer on ipad

You can also watch BBC iPlayer directly on your browser, on any desktop PC/MAC or laptop, and there’s also an app for Android and iOS smartphones.

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man watchin streaming tv on tablet

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