New iPlayer aims to take you on a voyage of discovery

New iPlayer aims to take you on a voyage of discovery
iPlayer: getting a revamp

The BBC has unveiled the latest version of iPlayer, promising a more exciting experience for users as well as new ways for people to make and show TV shows online.

Described by the BBC's Director General Tony Hall as the "next staging post of the BBC iPlayer" on a journey that "will never end", the updated player is rolling out to mobiles, tablets and computers right now.

You'll get smarter search and recommendation tools as the BBC tries to push shows you might not have known about based on the types of things you've been watching. The platform has been completely rebuilt to make it easier for you to find something cool to watch by showcasing things it thinks you will like.

Keeping it simple

The new homescreen is simpler and easier to browse thanks to a new navigation bar that pushes your favourites as well as the various channels.

iPlayer main

The new-look iPlayer is very image-led

It's very image-led, so rather than big show descriptions, you get stills from the show that you can hover over for more information - and bigger images indicate a curated collection of programmes on similar subjects.

The viewing page has also been revamped so all viewing options are available at a glance - and once you've hit play, after a few seconds any text and images around the viewing box are discretely dimmed leaving just the video.

The option to 'play this programme again' once your show has finished has been done away with since not many people actually opted to rewatch something they literally just watched. Instead, you're given alternative episodes and show options.

TV times

It's been built for multi-screen world so it's the same across all platforms - the browser version is responsive so it fits whatever size screen you're viewing it on. The tech has been developed so new features can quickly and easily be rolled out across all devices so updates should start to hit both Android, iPhone and your smart TV apps at the same time.


All the extras will fade away as you begin to watch

The BBC says it's trying to move iPlayer "from TV online to online TV." To this end, it's really pushing the new ways that iPlayer can allow writers and filmmakers to tell their stories, as well as ramping up dedicated iPlayer shows.

That includes all the youth-focused comedy and drama that the BBC promises will come iPlayer's way in lieu of the BBC Three TV channel. One exciting-sounding initiative hits iPlayer in May, allowing established comedians like Stewart Lee to pursue "passion projects" for the internet platform.

Today the new version of iPlayer will be available in mobile and tablet browsers, plus there's an opt-in preview running on computers and TV apps. The official iPlayer mobile and tablet apps will be updated in coming months.

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.