BBC iPlayer gets social networking and customisation features in new update

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BBC iPlayer new homepage.jpgThe BBC’s Anthony Rose and Erik Huggers have today been showing off the fruits of a brand new revamp for the BBC’s video on demand service, iPlayer. Customisation options and the introduction of social networking features sit at the top of the agenda for iPlayer version 3.0.

iPlayer will be introducing customisable modules that can be moved about by the user. It’ll be instantly familiar to users of Google’s iGoogle pages, meaning that you only have to have the iPlayer features you most like, remembered each time you log on. There will also be a new recommendation system, suggesting programs based on what you’ve watched before.

An all new desktop version of iPlayer will also be introduced, with settings to download future episodes in a series as soon as they become available.

Twitter and Facebook will also be integrated into the service, along with a Windows Live Messenger BBC ID. You’ll be able to share what you’re watching straight to the networks, whilst Messenger will show in real-time how many minutes you are in to any iPlayer program, allow you to sync your viewing with pals.

The new iPlayer will even suggest you visit other channel’s video on demand content. A module will offer links to shows on ITV Player, 4OD, Clic, SeeSaw and Demand Five. Of course, the BBC will not host this content, just offer the meta-data to access it. Sky too are said to be considering being added to the list.

“When I think back to what it looked like in launch, I think it’s already changed a great deal. The service has done a phenomenal job,” said Huggers. “We’re just scratching the service of video on demand”.

Sounds like some real thought has gone into this update. Head over to http://beta.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/ to check out a beta-stage version of the release, set to go live officially at the end of June.

Gerald Lynch

One thought on “BBC iPlayer gets social networking and customisation features in new update

  • I got my hands on an iPad yesterday and watched the Apprentice on the new iPlayer for the iPad.

    The picture is really good (I was watching on High bandwidth mode). The only frustration is the Safari address bar is still in view.

    Let’s hope they bring out a fully fledged App for the iPlayer soon to get rid of this.

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