The BBC has announced version two of its phenomenally popular iPlayer web site will be available in beta from today.
The new service will feature “an all-new dynamic-page-rendering architecture” which means a much more personalised service, better integrated radio and TV listings, and higher quality for both video and audio.
TV playback will now appear in a window up to 640 pixels wide, up 25% from the previous 512 pixels. Radio quality has also been improved, though there’s no details on how much as yet.
Personalisation is a key part of the new service. iPlayer 2.0 will show which programmes you’ve already watched, including ones you’re in the middle of watching, as well as alerting you to upcoming shows for programmes you watch.
The site will list in advance which programmes will be available on iPlayer, and which (due to rights restrictions) can’t be archived. As catching up on last night’s TV is a popular use of the iPlayer service, there’s now a dedicated listing for this.
There will even be customisable RSS feeds, allowing users to be alerted when their favourite programmes arrive.
TV and radio is combined by default, and selecting a particular genre (comedy, for example) will show programmes available on both.
There will also be “More like this” buttons on the TV window and radio widget, allowing users to build up a personal playlist of content they enjoy.
The new site will run alongside the old one for a few weeks so the BBC can monitor server load and get user feedback.