Take that, Sky+HD.
When we were told there was no specific timetable for the HD iPlayer hitting Virgin Media, I feared the worst. Thankfully, I was wrong to do so because as of today, Virgin Media subscriber with an HD V+ set-top box can access the BBC’s iPlayer in glorious high definition.
While there’s no specific word on the quality available, it seems reasonable to assume Virgin Media is accessing the same 3.5Mbps H.264 encoded files as are available to the PC, Mac and Linux iPlayer client, and the BBC iPlayer website. The quality may not be up there with the best of Virgin Media or Sky’s HD broadcasts, but it’s definitely an improvement over the standard definition videos previously available.
The biggest issue with the HD iPlayer is the content available – not everything shown on BBC HD is available on the HD iPlayer. The selection is limited to programmes such as Robin Hood, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and Later…with Jools Holland. While I’m sure that’s good enough for many viewers, I’d like to see all of the BBC’s HD content available on the iPlayer.