Global iPlayer will be exclusive to iPad for one-year trial.
The long-awaited international expansion of the BBC iPlayer begins today with the launch of the service in 11 European countries exclusively via the Apple iPad app.
The global iPlayer service will be available only on the iPad during a one-year trial, during which the US, Canada and Australia will also gain access at some stage.
The BBC is pushing the global iPlayer as a video on-demand portal rather than just the catch-up TV platform we've become accustomed to on domestic shores.
The app will feature that month's new content, including the likes of Top Gear, Dr Who and Eastenders but will also feature on-demand access to classics from the BBC's 60-year catalogue. Yes, that means Only Fools and Horses.
The iPlayer app will debut with 1,500 hours of programming, but the Beeb plans to add 100 hours every month. On top of that, the Corporation has also agreed deals with independent studios to screen content originally aired on ITV or Channel 4.
"We think we have a load of unmet demand for BBC and British content internationally," said BBC.com MD Luke Bradley-Jones.
"This is not a catch-up service: this is a video-on-demand service. We will have content from the last month, but also the best from the catalogue stretching back 50 to 60 years."
Some of the content will be free of charge and supported by pre-rolls and sponsorships, but the main bounty will come through a monthly subscription fee of 6.99 Euros or a yearly fee of 49.99 Euros.
The application will allow users to watch over Wi-Fi and 3G and download programmes for offline viewing. The BBC says that if the trial is successful the app will expand to the iPhone, Apple TV and perhaps Android tablets if they enjoy success.
The 11 launch countries are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.