The BBC is adding the Live Restart feature to the iPlayer portal running on Virgin Media and Freesat set-top boxes. A launch on Sky is also expected, following the satellite broadcaster’s recent revamp of its On Demand feature to add a Catch Up TV section.
UPDATE: Our original report gave a start date of 15 October for this feature. The BBC has since clarified to us that the Connected Red Button services will instead be starting on selected TV-based platforms "soon".
Live Restart was unveiled in June this year on the desktop PC version of iPlayer. It enables viewers to jump back to the start of a BBC programme that’s currently being shown. Before its introduction, you had to wait for a show to finish before it was uploaded to iPlayer.
It is similar in theory to the live TV buffer feature in PVRs, but your set-top box would need to be on and have one of its tuners switched to the channel on which you wanted to skip back in time, so the Beeb's update is arguably more flexible and convenient. With the Live Restart function you can choose from or switch between any available live BBC TV feed.
So, if you missed the beginning of a programme, you can now launch the app from the newly updated Red Button menu on any compatible broadband-connected set-top box and catch the show without missing anything or having to wait until it’s over.
From 15 October the number of Red Button video streams from the BBC is being reduced, though the BBC plans a few extra features to accompany certain shows, such as a live commentary for Strictly Come Dancing and a play-along game for Antiques Roadshow, as well as special sport and music events.
Sky's new Catch Up TV section
Live Restart has not yet made its way onto the iPlayer apps for mobiles, tablets, Smart TVs, consoles or Freeview HD boxes but the BBC has previously hinted that updates are in the pipeline.