As an avid user and fan of the BBC iPlayer, and someone who accesses it regularly through a PS3, I’m pleased to see iPlayer for TV getting a much-needed and long-awaited upgrade. This is no paper thin makeover, instead this is a feature-packed update.
The BBC introduced the iPlayer, its magnificent television-on-demand catch-up service, more than three years ago now, and it has grown both in stature and usability massively in that time. Thanks to regular updates it is now intuitive and easy-to-use, yet offers a lot of features.
As well as being available on computers, the iPlayer can be accessed on a wide range of devices, including connected-TV platforms and mobile devices such as the iPad. The latter now has an international version, and the former has been given a plentiful upgrade.
iPlayer for TV Upgrade
The iPlayer for TV upgrade makes sense as soon as you lay eyes on it. Similar in look and feel to YouTube Leanback, the new iPlayer for TV is built with the living room front and center rather than being a messy compromise.
The Playstation 3 games console has been given the upgrade first, with the 300 or so other connected-TV devices to follow in the coming months. As I use the PS3 to watch BBC shows I’ve missed anyway I was able to update and install the new software today and give it a test drive.
This is about as simple an interface as I’ve ever seen for a television app. But that’s a good thing as it feels very much like traditional TV. The difference being that the range of content on offer is astounding and yet astoundingly simple to access.
Everything is divided into categories and channels; there are lists of your favorite shows and options to search for potential new favorites; and every menu is one click away. You can even find a new show while watching another.
My only criticism for the PS3 was that it’s impossible to switch iPlayer off. Not because of addictiveness, but literally because the only way to return to the main menu was to shut the system down and start again. Which really isn’t ideal.
The new version of iPlayer for TV is magnificent. Yes, the BBC uses our money (at least those of us who are license fee-payers) to fund the whole thing, but I really can’t resent that fact when it delivers such a fine application as this.
[Via The Next Web]
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