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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14 thoughts on “BBC iPlayer Breaks Down On Amazon Fire TV Sticks [Updated]”

  1. My BBC iPlayer and ITV hub won’t open. I’ve cleared cache, uninstalled and installed no end of times and still no joy. BBC is 577 version – can anyone please help ☹️ They both worked last week then suddenly stopped

  2. This issue can be fixed by changing the display output setting on your Fire Tv from automatic to a specific resolution and refresh rate, e.g. 1080p 60hz. This is a manual workaround suggested by the BBC who are aware of the issue and do intend to fix it with support from Amazon.

    The root cause is automatic refresh rate switching implementation by Amazon which isn’t yet supported by iPlayer

    • Just to be clear, they didn’t find this. I informed them about it after much troubleshooting and a few days later they started sending emails out, as my wife and friend received it following their support requests. I didn’t, because, I found the fix
      I don’t believe this would have moved anywhere had i not informed them, as their priorities are elsewhere. I’ve literally the chasing them on this for months, so I wouldn’t hold your breath on a fix

    • Hi, I’m afraid this didn’t work, but thank you for the suggestion. It’s getting very frustrating. I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled so many times grrrrrrrrr

    • So they’ve basically given up…

      Thanks for getting back to us. Apologies for the delay.
      The iPlayer on TV team have not been able to reproduce this issue – they suspect this to be related to the device rather than the iPlayer app and potentially Amazon will be aware of this issue.
      The Product team however are also looking at getting in touch with Amazon to further investigate. There is no time frame for when this will be fixed unfortunately.

  3. I cannot get bbc I player on my firestick. I cannot get past the I player icon and so I cannot get an update started. This is extremely frustrating.

  4. Having the same problem on my cube, having to keep uninstalling, and re installing.

  5. Very helpful, thank you!
    Although I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled the iPlayer app on my Firestick and it’s still version 2.1.220000576.

    I assume it will be available soon? Or is there something else I can try?


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