Here's how to catch up with your favourite BBC shows on your Google Android tablet or Google Android phone.

The BBC iPlayer is a free app for your Android device. It allows you to watch catch-up TV, some movies and even live television as it's broadcast. You can also use it to pick up BBC radio. You should note that iPlayer requires Google Android 2.2 or higher, and won't play on earlier versions of the OS.

If the iPlayer isn't already on your Android smartphone, download it from the Market. Just search for ‘BBC iPlayer' and then follow the installation steps. The process takes just a few seconds. Now you'll find the BBC iPlayer in the apps list. Tap and hold to copy it on to the home page of your Android device.

The BBC iPlayer streams media to your Android device over the air, so you may prefer to use it over Wi-Fi where possible rather than over your 3G data account. If so, before running the app, make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi.

When you first use the BBC iPlayer, it may tell you that you need the Flash Player installed. Just click ‘Download now' and you'll be taken to the relevant part of the Market to complete the download.

Google Android: What's on the box

Back in the BBC iPlayer note the icons towards the top of the screen for TV, Radio and Favourite. TV is selected by default. If you tap Radio, the main screen will change to show radio programmes. Scroll down to see more radio or TV shows, and tap something to start streaming it. If you tap a TV programme, tap ‘play in full screen' to see it in widescreen. Tap the screen at any time to access the playback controls.

To search for a particular television or radio programme, simply tap the Search button top-right corner of the main screen and type in your search terms. Then hit the magnifying glass next to the search box. Wait while your search results are retrieved, then scroll through the search results and tap whatever takes your fancy to start watching it.

There is another way to refine the full range of programmes available in the BBC iPlayer. Tap the icon to the left of the search icon and you can browse by category and by channel, and see what's showing on Live TV. This is the easiest way to find any movies that are available on the iPlayer as they have their own category.

You can also make a programme a favourite by checking that box while it's playing or long pressing on it in a listing. Then when new episodes of favourite programmes appear they'll be listed on the Favourites page. This is handy as you can watch the episodes that are due to expire soonest first.

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