The BBC has unveiled the new iPlayer, and its free catch-up television service has undergone several big changes. The biggest being an HTML5-powered responsive design driving the whole effort.
The New iPlayer
The BBC has unveiled a newly-redesigned iPlayer, one that’s followed the trend set by other forward-thinking websites by featuring a responsive design that adapts in size and layout depending on the device on which it’s being viewed.
The BBC iPlayer hasn’t been changed this considerably since it debuted seven years ago. While unveiling the new look, BBC director general Tony Hall described the iPlayer as the new “front door” of the BBC in terms of content.
Old Vs. New: What Has Changed?
The new iPlayer is a more visual experience, no doubt inspired by the way iPad and tablet apps look. An ever-changing roster of content is displayed, and can be scrolled through. The BBC wants you to keep watching for as long as possible, and it has provided a search bar, an A-Z list of programmes, and a recently-watched tab to make it happen.
Each channel now has its own dedicated space on the site, making BBC One and BBC Two more identifiably different, as an example. Category names have been overhauled, now being more in tune with those listed on the Sky on-demand service. Lastly, taking its cue from Netflix, the next episode of a selected show will be lined up to play automatically.
The biggest change is undoubtedly one of content. The BBC is actively commissioning shows and short films purely for iPlayer, and content previously aired on BBC Three will now be exclusive to the iPlayer after that channel is shuttered due to running costs.
The new BBC iPlayer breathes life into a platform that was starting to show its ages thanks to other, better, services. The design changes and UI tweaks will help it compete, but content is still king, and that’s where the BBC should focus its attention.
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