12 ways to get more from the BBC iPlayer

iPlayer Main
BBC iPlayer has been designed from the group up to be as user-friendly as possible

The BBC iPlayer has been with us for a couple of years now and it's a very powerful way to watch catch-up TV.

Here we run through some of its lesser-known features.

1. I closed iPlayer in the middle of a programme

Don't fret, the iPlayer is an intelligent piece of software. Even if you've ham-fistedly closed the window just as Strictly Come Dancing was approaching its giddy climax, iPlayer will remember exactly where you got to.

Simply open the programme again and it should re-start from the moment you stopped watching. There's no need to wrestle with the slider and risk accidentally seeing the results before you've fully absorbed the build up, so make sure you don't touch that when you load it back up, or you might end up undoing this convenient timesaver.

2. Can I watch more than just TV programmes?

Sure. For a start, there are often full-length films found on the service. They still only appear for the seven days following their broadcast on television, and the selection is nowhere near as extensive as the number of films broadcast across the BBC's various channels.

On the plus side, though, it'll be the full film, just as if you were watching it on DVD. Simply select the categories tab and look for the Film category.

In addition there are full-length sports broadcasts in the Sports category, including, for example, entire football matches and full three-hour broadcasts of Formula One races.

3. I'm deaf, can I still use iPlayer?

The iPlayer has excellent support for deaf viewers, with an entire category devoted to the Sign Zone programming that is often consigned to late-night slots on television.


There are options for subtitling on the majority of programmes on the service, though you have to begin the show to find out whether it supports them. There is also an Audio Description category that offers programming for those with impaired vision.

4. Can I re-watch programmes I have already seen?

Yes, programmes can be watched as many times as you like within the seven day time limit. If you want to find shows you've already watched, they appear on the right hand side of the iPlayer homepage.

5. Is live programming available to watch?

You can, though for TV it's not a finalised service so might not always be available. Radio is fair game, however, and all of the BBC's radio stations, including the wide selection of digital stations that are available, are streamed live. Many of them can even be listened to abroad.

6. Can I make the interface clearer?

The iPlayer has another version of its interface, designed for when your PC is plugged in to your TV. It's available from the at the site, and is much larger and less busy.


There's quick access to a carousel of the most popular and recent programming. There are also large buttons and a text entry system for ease of control if you're using a wireless remote to interact with your computer.