BBC shows off brand new iPlayer for TVs

BBC iPlayer - a new UI
BBC iPlayer - a new UI

The BBC has unveiled its latest iPlayer for smart televisions and set top boxes, with the new version making its debut on the Sony PS3 games console.

The iPlayer may be a massive hit online, but it has also become a key addition to connected television equipment, including Smart TVs, set top boxes and games consoles.

The BBC's general manager of programmes and on demand, Daniel Danker, told TechRadar that the latest iPlayer was designed specifically for bigger screens – rather than feeling like a rehash of the web iPlayer.

iPlayer for ps3

First principles

"I don't want to criticise an older project that has been so successful," said Danker, "but we have gone back to first principles and designed this to be watched on televisions."

Danker believes that the television remains the best place to watch television although he admits that the tablet is a 'curveball' and fast becoming a fine personal television.

And the iPlayer head thinks that the latest player takes the player "beyond the tech savvy, and in to the realm of anyone capable of changing channel on a television."

BBC looking to make iplayer simpler

New functionality

The new features, beyond a radically different yet still familiar UI, include an improved search, grouped programmes that often allow you to go beyond a week's catch-up, and the addition of favourites.

BBC iplayer - a new look

The BBC is planning to roll this HTML5 based player out to a multitude of televisions and set top boxes as soon as possible, with the increased prominence of connected home entertainment devices at the forefront of the strategy.

"Last week, Ofcom reported that 10% of TV sets sold in the UK are internet ready. But BBC iPlayer is already available on over 300 connected TVs and Blu-ray disc players, which has resulted in a 5x growth of iPlayer on TV over the last 6 months alone," added Danker.

"At this rate of growth, in the next few years we could well see over half of iPlayer use directly on the living room TV."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.