Live interactive video player help

This is a help guide for using BBC Sport's live interactive video player.

Do I need a TV licence?

You must have a TV licenceexternal-link to watch live TV streamed on your computer. A 'live' TV programme is defined as a programme which is watched or recorded at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is being broadcast.

What will happen if I don't have a TV licence?

It is a criminal offence for users in the UK to watch live television without a TV licence or to possess or control a device which you know or reasonably believe will be used to watch 'live' TV without a TV licence.

You could be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000 (plus be ordered to pay legal costs) for these offences.


I'm getting audio but no video, what can I do?

If you are hearing audio but getting no video playback, try turning off hardware acceleration and refreshing the page and then seeing if the video plays.

If you right click on the video player and open up 'Settings', you should get an option to turn off hardware acceleration.

If you can't click on settings because it is greyed out, please follow the steps in the following message board in order to turn off hardware acceleration:

We are also aware of a specific problem in Firefox with streams failing when connecting to the internet when set to 'Auto-detect proxy settings for this network'.

To get round this, select Tools > Options (or Preferences on a Mac) and click on the 'Advanced' button and select the 'Network' tab.

You will then see 'Configure how Firefox connects to the internet' and should click on the 'Settings' button.

Finally select 'No proxy' or 'Use system proxy settings'.

I'm using a Mac and the screen sometimes goes green and pink. What can I do?

Try turning off hardware acceleration. Follow the instructions above.

Why are the Extras panels only available on some videos?

Our 'Olympics Live' alerts panel is viewable on all videos but the other panels are sport-specific so they are not available on the streams that we take directly from BBC One, Two and Three, which will jump from sport to sport.

Why is the video buffering?

If you are on a slow connection the video may pause every now and then, however we are aware that some users on fast connections are also seeing buffering so we are investigating further.

We recommend turning off hardware acceleration for all video playbck issues.

Why is the bar at the bottom of the player only half visible?

You are probably zoomed into the webpage. Try to zoom out to a normal view and it should become fully visible. In most browsers you can do this by clicking on: View > Zoom.

The bars at the top and the bottom of the page will not fade away. What can I do?

We have seen intermittent problems of this sort and we are trying to resolve them. If you see this happening, you should move your mouse so the pointer is away from one of the activation areas at the top and bottom of the player and the bars should disappear.

If this still does not work, try clicking on 'More video' in the top left hand corner, and then clicking 'Back to video'.

Why am I seeing black bars around the video in full screen?

Depending on the size and aspect ratio of your screen you may see black bars at the bottom and sides of your video in full screen. The space at the bottom is to accommodate the 'Extras' panel.

If we positioned the panel on top of the video it would interfere with on-screen graphics which commonly appear on sport video.

The bars on the side are because we have chosen not to clip the video in full screen. It's a similar approach to when you watch a film in a letter box format on a 4:3 screen.

If you are seeing inconsistencies or prefer a more traditional approach, then you can use the full-screen functionality in our pop-out player as an alternative while watching live video.

Users may see a problem if trying to watch a catch-up video in full screen in the pop-out player.

The video sometimes appears pixelated. Why?

We are using a technology that adapts the bitrate of the video you are watching depending on the speed of your connection in order to give you the best experience.

The rate starts low and ramps up to the appropriate level which is why the video quality may look poor when you join the stream for the first time.

We are working to make this experience more seamless, and one thing we've seen is that if you leave the video running in a tab in the background, the rate can drop and may take a while to pick up again.

You've said I can watch in HD but I'm not getting an HD picture. Why?

The video in the interactive video player is available in HD quality if your broadband speed is fast enough but only if you watch in full screen.

The player will offer the best quality suitable for your broadband speed.

I'm watching video on iPad and I get an error message. What can I do?

We are aware of an occasional issue when trying to watch video on iPads. If you turn the wifi connection off on your iPad and then reconnect, you should be able to watch successfully.

How can I report a problem that is not covered here?

Please send feedback to with 'Video player' as the subject.

For further information, visit BBC Give an Hour's guide to watching the Summer of Sport online.


Can I use the live interactive video player with a screen reader?

Yes, there are two versions of the player.

The default version allows you to play video only while the alternative version has accessible controls that have been optimised for keyboard and screen reader access.

From here you can choose video and chapter markers from within the page.

How can I access the alternative player?

When you visit a page with our new player in it, look for the heading (level two) 'Choose how you watch', and from there select the link 'Alternative player'.

Are there any subtitles?

Subtitles are available on catch-up video from our broadcast channels and this content is only available in iPlayer.

Live content and content that has not previously been made available on our broadcast channels is not pre-subtitled.

Is there any audio description?

A version of the opening ceremony will be made available with enriched commentary for blind users. All other events come with standard commentary.

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