The BBC is sure that almost half of people watching its catch-up content will be doing so on connected devices in the next few years, and has therefore launched a revamped version of its iPlayer, designed for TVs, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players.
The new iPlayer will be available from today on the PlayStation 3 and is currently being adapted by manufacturers for a range of other devices.
According to the latest Communications Market Report from Ofcom, only 10 per cent of TVs can go online, however in the last six months the BBC has seen a five fold growth of iPlayer on TV.
“At this rate of growth, in the next few years we could well see over half of iPlayer use directly on the living room TV,” said Daniel Danker, the BBC’s general manager of programmes and on demand.
While iPlayer is available on over 300 devices already, the presentation is inconsistent and on some devices, very frustrating to navigate. The new iPlayer will offer a more consistent platform making it a lot easier for users to navigate using their remote controls.
The new interface will also offer better personalisation so that iPlayer will remember your searches and preferences to allow your access the programmes you want, quicker.
“It feel like TV, it's much easier to use and it’s more personal. This is designed from the ground up for televisions,” said Gideon Summerfield, the BBC’s executive product manager for iPlayer on TV.
While a huge variety of set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and TVs will be getting the newly redesigned iPlayer, one major player won’t be getting it any time soon. “Sky today remains a closed platform,” Danker said. This is in contrast to competitors Virgin Media and BT who both offer iPlayer as part of their service.