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What to do if your Samsung TV has lost access to BBC iPlayer

With people losing access for months, we contacted Samsung to see how to get iPlayer back

The flexibility and convenience of catch-up and streaming apps, such as iPlayer, All 4 and ITV Hub, means missing your favourite show is a thing of the past. But what do you do if you turn your TV on to find that one of the most popular catch-up apps has gone AWOL?

It’s a problem that won’t go away. Pricey TVs that promise to be your hub for all things streaming are losing access to BBC iPlayer. Some of our members inform us that the app can go missing for months.

TVs losing access to iPlayer isn’t unique to one brand, but the majority of the people who notified us of this problem had a Samsung set. We reached out to Samsung to see why the problem occurs and if there was anything people could do at home to get the apps back.

What is a smart TV? Learn more about what makes a TV smart and check out the best models.

Take these steps to try to get iPlayer back

Before doing anything, contact Samsung and the BBC to see if they are aware of the issue. It could be that they are and you don’t need to do anything to get iPlayer back on your TV. If they aren’t aware of any issues then the problem could be with your TV, in which case you can try out the steps below.

  • TVs are effectively computers at this point. Resetting a laptop is usually the first port of call when a program stops working and the same goes for your TV. Resetting the smart hub in your Samsung TV will reload all the apps currently installed. This could get iPlayer back on your screen. To do it, press the ‘Menu’ key on your remote then navigate to ‘Smart Hub’ followed by ‘Smart Hub Reset’ and finally ‘Reset Smart Hub’. You’ll have to enter your TV Pin at this stage, and if you haven’t changed it then it will still be 0000. On some TVs you’ll find the ‘Reset Smart Hub’ option in the ‘Self Diagnosis’ menu.
  • If that doesn’t work, then try a full reset. This will revert your TV to how it was when you first took it out of the box, with the exception of your wi-fi, so you won’t need to put in your details again. Once you’ve accepted the terms and conditions, the apps will be reloaded and this could get iPlayer back. Head to the ‘Self Diagnosis’ menu and choose ‘Reset’. You’ll be asked for your Pin again.
  • If the iPlayer icon still eludes you, then a full factory reset is the next step. Samsung recommends calling its customer support team, who will guide you through the process and can remotely access your TV to make sure the procedure is done correctly.

What to do if this doesn’t work?

If all those resets don’t result in the triumphant return of BBC iPlayer, you’ll need to phone customer support again. They will perform a range of checks and try a few different options, such as changing the the country the TV’s smart hub accesses. If this doesn’t work, your case will be escalated to a technical helpline which would ascertain whether it’s a problem with your IP address or a VPN is blocking access to iPlayer.

If this isn’t the case, it could be that a part of the TV needs to be replaced.

It’s not always so simple

If a quick reset of your TV was enough to get iPlayer back, we doubt this would be such a widespread issue we’ve been covering for years. And members wouldn’t be going months without access.

Compatibility between apps and the software on a TV can lead to it vanishing from your screen without any warning, and there’s typically nothing letting you know why or when the service will return.

It’s got to the point that John Lewis has added a disclaimer to all its TV listings online to say that apps aren’t covered by the warranty. When important apps vanish, some of our members have been stuck between a rock and a hard place, with Samsung failing to find a problem and retailers refusing to exchange the TV.

Samsung’s troubleshooting guidelines and willingness to identify the problem through customer support is admirable, but the issue still reflects poorly on it and the BBC. Buyers may turn to other TV brands rather than risk losing access to such an important catch-up app. And the BBC, which is releasing a dedicated rival to Netflix, clearly understands the importance of streaming. If it costs a fee like Netflix and Amazon Video, will people be willing to pay for a BBC streaming service when support for iPlayer can be so spotty?

Both Samsung and the BBC need to be more upfront about compatibility issues when they are aware of them by alerting users to the problem, advising them why it has happened and giving a realistic timeline of when the problem should be fixed.

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