Official: BBC iPlayer goes HD

BBC iPlayer gets HD content
BBC iPlayer gets HD content

The BBC has officially announced that the iPlayer has gone high definition. The incredibly successful VOD catch-up service has taken the HD plunge and will start to offer high-definition stream and downloads on some programmes.

"For many users, it will be their first chance to view HD television," notes the BBC news story about the new service. "Doctor Who, Kerwhizz, and

Dragons' Den

[are] all slated for HD release."

More satisfying experience

Speaking about the tech behind getting HD content on the iPlayer, Anthony Rose, BBC's head of digital media technology, said: "The new adaptive bitrate technology and speed diagnostics page help optimise the viewing experience, while the resizable window gives users flexibility to switch between different quality streams, hopefully leading to a more satisfying experience overall."

Hi-def programmes will only be available straight from the iPlayer to begin with. There are plans to roll out the content to iPlayer-enabled third-party systems, such as Virgin's set-top boxes and the Sony PlayStation 3, but no time-frame has been given on this.

As well as updating the iPlayer for the HD world, the BBC is also offering a desktop version of the service and has tweaked the download manager so that Windows, Mac, and Linux users will be able to download the HD programmes.


TechRadar contacted a Virgin Media spokesperson to try and glean more information about when the HD service will be appearing on the company's set-top boxes and they told us: "We're working closely with the BBC to make this service available on our platform as soon as possible."


Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.