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BBC iPlayer 2.0: Sneak Preview

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Anthony Rose Anthony Rose | 11:54 UK time, Wednesday, 25 June 2008

BBC iPlayer launched officially on Christmas Day, on PC, Mac and Linux.

First, in January, we "pimped up" the iPlayer site by adding Most Popular, Just In, Last Chance and More Like This zones.

In February, we made iPlayer available on Apple iPhone. Then, in March, we made iPlayer available on Nintendo Wii.

So... what's next? It's time to let the cat out of the bag and tell you about the next big thing that we're working on: an all-new iPlayer website.

The existing iPlayer website works really well, and has proven hugely successful. However, in Internet Land nothing stays still for long and the iPlayer site that you see now is based on a somewhat inflexible static-page-rendering platform that's now over a year old.

That technology platform has proven robust and reliable, but we've pushed it to the limit in terms of features that we can add using the existing site architecture. It's now time to move onto an all-new dynamic-page-rendering architecture which will give us with a platform that can provide a personalised TV and radio experience, can adapt itself to different display sizes - and a whole lot more.

But enough preamble: here's a sneak preview of BBC iPlayer 2.0. which will be launching as a beta very soon..

(N.B. Editor's note: The beta for the new BBC iPlayer is now available here)

First up, we think it's gorgeous - thanks to the brilliant work of our in-house User Experience & Design (UXD) team - with a visual theme that matches the new bbc.co.uk site "house style":

Click to enlarge

The most important change is that we combined TV and Radio in the same iPlayer interface, which means that you when you go to, say, Comedy, you'll find your favourite TV and radio comedy programmes all in the same page, like this:

Click to enlarge

I'll say immediately that combining TV and radio in the same interface was a much-debated design decision.

One of the attractions of the current iPlayer site is that it's brilliantly simple, and we don't want to lose that simplicity. However, we felt that if we could provide a way to let you find your favourite TV and radio programmes in one place, that would be a major win.

But, for those who want to see TV only, or Radio only, you can easily do that by clicking the "TV", "Radio" or "TV and Radio" links.

Of course, you can also go directly to your favourite TV channel or national radio network:

Click to enlarge

Next, the first of many personalisation additions that we'll be adding over the coming months: the iPlayer site will now remember which programmes you last played and where you got up to in each programme.

If you don't have time to finish a programme, no problem: when you next go back to the iPlayer site, it will be right there on the homepage, ready to resume from where you last left off with just a single click:


Not only will iPlayer remember which shows you've recently played, but when new episodes of those programmes become available they'll automatically show up in the Last Played widget for you. So, if you're a Torchwood fan, when you come back next week, your new Torchwood episode should be ready for you to play directly from the homepage.

As people begin using iPlayer more, it's clear that they're deciding to not watch programmes on TV, expecting to be able to watch them on iPlayer later. But how do you know if a programme will be available in iPlayer?

One of our most common feature requests is for an indication of whether a given programme is scheduled to appear in iPlayer or not, so we have provided a full schedule view that shows all programmes that were on TV and radio, with an indication of which are available for viewing in iPlayer now, which are coming soon, and which (usually for content licensing reasons) are not scheduled for iPlayer.

And, for those who want to use iPlayer to catch up on last night's TV - a common use case - we made that easier with a dedicated widget on the homepage:


One thing conspicuously missing from the current iPlayer site is the provision of RSS feeds. For those who want to consume our content via their RSS reader, or who want to create mashups of the iPlayer site - good news - every page has an RSS feed.

You can even subscribe to a feed of an arbitrary search query, allowing you to use third party feed readers to alert you when your favourite programmes arrive:


Finally (we kept the best bit for last), we're making huge improvements to the quality of both TV and radio within iPlayer.

For TV, we have an all-new playback experience with a larger playback window (640 pixels wide, up from the previous 512 pixels - that's a 25% size increase), and a new More Like This widget at the bottom of the page (now also available in full-screen mode!) which will form a key element in our personalisation roadmap over the coming months:

[Click to enlarge]

For radio, we're starting to making huge improvements to the radio quality. Elsewhere in this blog you'll have seen some discussion of the changes to streaming radio online; watch out for a post from Mark Friend (from BBC Audio & Music) soon with the full details, but as a listener to BBC Radio 3, let's just say I'm particularly pleased with the changes... ;)

And if you're an existing iPlayer For Radio user, you'll spot an all-new popup radio console - a sleek new design with a built-in More Like This widget which will, in due course, grow to provide you with your own personalised radio station.

As you can guess, we've got a huge amount of work to do to pull this all together. iPlayer gets five million page views per day now, which we think will double when we add radio, and then double again over the next few months, so our plan is to "dual run" the new site alongside the old for a few weeks while we make sure the server can handle the load, listen to and act on your feedback, iron out bugs, etc.

Many of the iPlayer 2.0 enhancements are based on user testing and your feedback. We love to get ideas and comments, so let me know which things you'd like to see that haven't made it into our iPlayer 2.0 release and - who knows - they may show up in a future site update.

Anthony Rose is Head of Digital Media Technology, BBC Future Media and Technology.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great news! I am thinking of getting an ipod touch just so I can listen to Test match Special at work. Also, does the BBC sport player work now or will it? I am a frequent listener to Mark Church and Surrey cricket, and that will be the final decider for me if I can listen to that on an ipod touch as well!

  • Comment number 2.

    It does look great, my biggest request would be to be able to de-select certain channels programs, for example I'm never gonna watch anything from the BBC children channels, so being able to make sure those programs never appear on the front page would be very welcomed.

  • Comment number 3.

    I was expecting the iPlayer to be draped in the new pan-BBC site layout, and I love how that has been combined with the existing iPlayer brand. I also love how you are integrating the station identities as well - I wasn't sure about the new BBC Radio logos when they were first launched, but their flexibility and iconic nature works really well in this context.

    Will this release coincide with BBC Radio being streamed using a flash player, rather than Real Audio too? The updates to the Radio Player are what I'm really looking forward to in this respect.

  • Comment number 4.

    Increased screen size is very good news.

    Two things I would like to see:

    1. An iPhone/iPod touch interface, similar to the BBC Podcasts that is already available

    2. I'm a dual screen user at home and would like to be able to stream iPlayer on one screen in full screen mode. At the moment if I click on anything in another screen it drops out of full screen mode.

    I also hope that the new Radio iPlayer drops the annoying "Skip 5 mins" and "Skip 15 mins" and we can scan around at will. I found it so annoying listening again to the Chris Moyles show that I stripped the RealPlayer url out of the current Radio Player page and play it straight from RealPlayer where I can listen to it how I want.

  • Comment number 5.

    I have nothing but praise for the BBC and its iPlayer, but how about come compatibility with macs. I don't always have internet on my laptop and it would be great to be able to watch some of the best TV programs on the go and not have to risk them lagging sometimes!

    Also how about a downloadable 'iTunes' style service so consumers can watch the content on their mobile phones and ipods with the 30 day termination...

  • Comment number 6.

    Version 2.0 looks great, a good improvement on the first release. However will you also be looking at releasing to other platforms such as Xbox, PS3 and perhaps other handheld devices?

  • Comment number 7.

    And I bet it still won't be available on a Mac!

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely a large potential audience for your service use Apple. What about compatability with the mac?

  • Comment number 9.

    A desperately needed feature is a listing alongside each programme which states when it aired.

    For example, Doctors: Season 10 is listed only with the episode titles. It would be much more helpful if alongside this there was "Episode aired at 1.45pm, 22nd May 2008 on BBC One" or similar.

  • Comment number 10.

    The large version of your first screenshot (when you click on it) is actually no larger than the small version. It's just a low resolution image made bigger - perhaps you made a mistake when putting it up?

    Either way, this is all great news! Will podcasts be integrated into this? I'd like podcasts to be expanded too, ideally to cover drama, but I doubt that'll ever happen :(

    Also how about linking in with /programmes?

  • Comment number 11.

    Ed Lyons - well spotted. I have removed the link while I fix the problem.

    Roger Carter and joshcarlbaxt - the iPlayer streaming service works on a Mac and the downloads service for Macs is "work in progress".

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 12.

    you should make the iplayer, or certainly programs, to be available to download on the to the psp, yet have the thing, where it stops working after a week

  • Comment number 13.

    Is there any plan for a review of accessibility for viewers outside the UK?

  • Comment number 14.

    Whilst I'm pleased you continue to improve the iPlayer (and you are doing a good job by the looks of it) may I ask that you don't forget about improving it on all platforms, not just the website.

    Despite claiming that the iPlayer is now available on Virgin Media it does not have as large a choice of programmes as the website, this is most notable with the sport which despite Euro 08 and Wimbledon currently in progress has only one programme available, The Super League Show. The usability and navigation of it is also nowhere near as good through Virgin Media, nor does it contain the features such as "Most Popular" let alone the new features you talk about in this blog. I cannot speak for the Nintendo Wii or the iPhone as I have not tried the iPlayer on them but I am probably right in thinking it is the same situation.

    Basically, please do continue to improve the service, it is a great credit to the BBC and you are deservedly recieving the praise for it, but please make sure you focus on improving every platform, not just online. Or at the very least, don't brag about the ways you can use the iPlayer if it is not really the case that it's an equal service with everything.

  • Comment number 15.

    Looks nice, but is this the beginning of the end of the BBC's RealPlayer and WMA streams for radio? Millions of internet radios using Reciva.com's interface depend on these formats, for live listening and listen again. Please Beeb reassure us that you're not going to switch off these streaming formats?

  • Comment number 16.

    honeypea - watch this space.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 17.

    Soo glad we can finally get a mashup. Out of curiosity - does the RSS support streaming direct from our apps?

  • Comment number 18.

    Any news on improving the service for iPod Touch / iPhone users? At the moment it's very hit and miss whether the programme you want will have been converted to H.264 video. I know a lot of money is spent and effort made behind the scenes retrieving and converting tapes, but sometimes it seems like 50 - 75% of programs just come up with 'unavailable' on Apple's mobile devices.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'd second AlexisV's comment. It'd be nice if we at least understood why some things can take 4+ days to be encoded to H.264, and why many things aren't encoded at all...

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm pleased to see you will be integrating Radio and TV on the iPlayer. I hope we'll be able to download ANY radio programme and transfer it to a MP3 player. So many radio programmes are currently only available by streaming and not on podcast. I like to be able to put a whole radio series onto MP3 and listen in sequence during a long car journey.

  • Comment number 21.

    Well done to the Beeb for this innovative development. The new iPlayer looks fantastic! Streaming on the Mac is good. Downloading to the Mac would be so much better (as quite a few posters have already pointed out).
    Just finished listening to the cliff-hanger of a match (England vs New Zealand) on TMS.
    Will that service be available on the iPod Touch or iPhone, for example?
    Can't wait...

  • Comment number 22.

    Looks good - particularly like the idea of beter adaption to larger screens and higher res.

    The biggest feature I would like to see is the ability for me to filter programmes i am never interested in, so they dont normally display in iplayer.

    I can't count the number of times I am looking to see whats on and having to wade through programmes I cant stand to find a few interesting ones...

  • Comment number 23.

    Nick, while I appreciate knowing that a Mac download service is still in the works, and hasn't been dropped, UK Mac-using licence fee payers would appreciate a little more information on it.

    "Work in progress" is a very vague term - has a secure solution (or rather, something as secure as Microsoft's DRM) been found to enforce the demands of the rights holders, or are you waiting on negotiations with, for example, Apple or Adobe? In which case I'm sure that the hordes of UK Mac users will be very willing to demonstrate to them just how important a download iPlayer is to us.

    Is it working yet? Is the code still being worked on? Is it ready but for a DRM solution? How will it work? How will it look? Will it integrate with Front Row, or be otherwise controllable with an Apple Remote? Will we be able to browse the iPlayer with an Apple Remote? Will it still be here by the end of the year?

    I realise that the BBC may be presently unable to answer many of these questions, but I'm sure that there are some you could - and although there may not be enough for a formal press release, it would be great if you could make some blog posts about how it's all coming along.


  • Comment number 24.

    I would like to see the range of programmes being expanded to include films and the third party stuff you show, eg US series. If I miss a day on auntie, only a proportion of that schedule is stuff that would be currently available via iPlayer. As I'm continually missing Heroes at the moment, this would be a bonus.

    And who knows, perhaps I can finally get a chance to catch an epidode of "Murder, She Wrote" :-)

  • Comment number 25.

    @sammyjayuk - this is exactly what I was wanting to know - they have been on about a 'work in progress' since the start of the year, yet they have been able to make these advances on the Wii and the like - I believe you can get it on Virgin too?

    What I would also like is for the media to be playable on the AppleTV. I understand that when Take2 was release some BBC blog said they would try to get the software on there. Not heard anything since.

    How far are you with that one BBC? Apple have a downloaded movie service now that is downloaded via iTunes, then sync to iPod, then times out after a certain period or when I have watched it. Why can you not use that model?

    I think what quite a few posters are coming back to for Mac users is 'it's streaming! - what more do you want?'

    Well I for one would like to be able to download it to my Mac and watch it on my laptop when I am away from an internet connection - that would be so much better for me and I am sure a lot of other users.

    Please BBC, can you at least provide us with some more information on this? We have been waiting for more than 3 words "work in progress" since the start of the year! A little openness goes a long way i think.

    It would be appreciated, yet I feel that to get the downloaded service, I have to source a windows machine but why should I? I pay my licence fee the same as other platform users do. Yet I am paying for something that I cannot receive (please don't jump on the band wagon streaming comments).

    Streaming doesn't work that great for me - very blocky, stuttery and not very watchable in my personal opinion, yet the downloaded version would eliminate that.

    Can you tell us a bit more?

  • Comment number 26.

    So I was writing another comment, saying that how really, we should be grateful that the BBC is doing so much for non-Windows platforms. Then I went to Channel 4's site to check that their in-browser catch-up definitely didn't work on a Mac - and got sidetracked and tried their online radio player, which does. Or should - I was skipping around in a show when Flash crashed Safari, and lost what I was writing.

    I think that my point would be illustrated more effectively anyway, by simply listing which non-Windows platforms each broadcaster's catch-up service works with:

    As yet, no broadcaster offers a free catch-up download service that works on anything but Windows.

    BBC: Mac, Linux, others (Flash 9, Flash video); iPhone, iPod touch (QuickTime, H.264); Nintendo Wii, others (Flash 7, Flash video)
    ITV: Mac (Microsoft Silverlight, WMV?)

    Here, we can see that the BBC offers by far the most cross-platform support - extending beyond the computer into consumer electronics devices.

    ITV comes second, by using Microsoft's Silverlight to show how even using only Microsoft's technologies a streaming service can be Mac and Windows compatible. It isn't compatible with anything else, though. I don't rightly know what video codec ITV's service uses, but I imagine it'd be WMV.

    Channel 4 deserves special mention here, and some sort of award, for having three Windows-only ways to watch catch-up content, and nothing else. The 4oD download service has been around for ages (relatively) and a while ago streaming video was added based on WMV DRM, but you still needed to install the 4oD software to use it. Channel 4 have recently added free streaming catch-up TV to their website, but that too uses WMV DRM and relies on Windows Media Player 11!

    So it does kind of annoy me when people moan here about the BBC not supporting Mac users at all, since the BBC actually set an example that other broadcasters should be following. I still want to know about a Mac download service, though!


  • Comment number 27.

    # 5. At 5:05pm on 25 Jun 2008, honeypea wrote:

    Looks nice, but is this the beginning of the end of the BBC's RealPlayer and WMA streams for radio? Millions of internet radios using Reciva.com's interface depend on these formats, for live listening and listen again. Please Beeb reassure us that you're not going to switch off these streaming formats?

    # 16. At 5:50pm on 25 Jun 2008, NickReynolds wrote:

    honeypea - watch this space.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)
    That sounds threatening, rather than optimistic, Nick. Can you reassure we Reciva users abroad that after all these wonderful changes, we'll still be able to get the Beeb live and listen again streams on our internet radios?
    Anne in Geneva

  • Comment number 28.

    A few more thoughts, if I may:

    The BBC eventually want to make HD content available through iPlayer. That's all well and good but many Windows PCs sold in the past few years are completely incapable of playing HD video. I would even go so far as to say, given the amount of sub-£300 Celeron/Sempron machines that the market has been stuffed with, that in fact MOST Windows PCs are going to seriously struggle with HD.

    On the other hand, every Intel-based Mac Apple has ever sold (with perhaps the exception of the Intel Core Solo Mac Mini) is more than capable of playing any HD video, up to 1080p. Some PowerPC Macs are also likely to be capable of 720p.

    I am very concerned that an HD download service is going to be Windows only, at least in the beginning and perhaps for some time afterward. This would be an even greater shame than the eternity Mac users have been waiting for a download service, because if you were able look at HD-capable PCs vs. Macs you'd see a much larger proportion of Macs than you would by just looking at f.ex. server logs.


  • Comment number 29.

    These changes look great, especially with the new on demand radio formats.

    Will the 'last played' and other information allow users to build up a profile, perhaps an API to retrive information on last watched or favourite shows for a specific user - much like thelast.fm web services ?

  • Comment number 30.

    I liked the suggestion about being able to deselct catagories. In this day and age with cookies, temp files and other little commodities hidden deep within our computers, i think it would be a good idea for us to be able to have favourites. e.g Dr Who.

    So when u log in, it automatically searches for the latest info on it, what new progs there are etc. Regular watches would use and enjoy this feature and saves them having to search.

  • Comment number 31.

    Love the iPlayer 2.0 look and the integration of radio, TV and the RSS feeds.

    Just regarding the BBC Internet Blog itself (this page etc). Can you please put the article title in the HTML title tags?

    FF3's "awesome bar" searches your page title histories, but all of the BBC Internet Blog pages are called "BBC Internet Blog", rather than the standard "Page name | BBC Internet Blog".

  • Comment number 32.

    In the last picture, the one with the Doctor and Martha, have a look at the second More like this... picture.


    A mistake, or hope for the future for halfamo & co.?

  • Comment number 33.

    Will we still get the option to watch TV at the smaller size? I like to have iplayer in the corner of my screen while I'm working, and at the larger size it'll take up too much space to do that.

    Actually, what I'd really like is to be able to resize the video area to any size - since when I go full screen on my computer it gets all jerky, but at, say, double size, it should (I imagine), work just fine.

  • Comment number 34.

    As someone who travels abroad frequently, it's frustrating to be locked out of content when not in the UK. Please look into some kind of registration scheme (if you can't do it with cookies) whereby I can permanently identify myself as a UK licence payer and download and/or stream while in other countries.

    Oh, and as so many others have said, please sort the Mac download piece out - it's strange that you can implement DRM to make your programmes available for purchase via the iTunes store, but still can't sort it out for iPlayer.

  • Comment number 35.

    Another small BBC miracle.

    Brilliant work once again. I love the Radio being integrated with the iPlayer interface, now - particularly if you finally get rid of that Real Player - or provide an alternative for "Listen again" shows. RealPlayer might have a wide platform, but it will never go on my PC due to it's privacy concerns and bloatware components.

    Having just invested in Freesat HD, and seeing the ethernet port on the back, am a little dissappointed your guys might not have been coding for that. When will this be coming? (I have to invest in Freesat because the BBC have positively neglected the Isle of Man in the digital switchover - even after that (late 2009) we're only going to receive a selection of channels)

    And I think the various posters on here are right in highlighting the wide range of platforms the BBC support. Web, Virgin iWhatever and Wii is a significant effort but perhaps have forgotten that this represents a significant obligation towards supporting each platform in its own right.

    So a comment to mac users, you are able to receive WMV content, so let's not criticise the BBC for your decision to purchase a minority platform. ;) BBC regularly provides free advertising for Apple products (partly due to Job's clever branding of a product that had been around for years (iPod) making it into something other than "just" a brand).

  • Comment number 36.

    Looks good.

    My only concern is that the font size is still quite small- as I predominantly use iPlayer on Wii the size of the text, coupled with the low resolution of my SDTV set and being on the other side of the room (And, admittedly, my own shockingly bad eyesight) can make navigation difficult, especially as zooming in on a video causes the system to slow down.

  • Comment number 37.

    Gumrat, Anne -
    my apologies, what "watch this space" means is "there will be a blog post about radio soon" and I am also trying to find an answer to your specific question as well.
    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 38.

    To we Australians, the television part of the Player is just a tease. Whatever we click on, we're told "only for U.K." even though we can listen to as many radio programs as we want (with the exception of 'Pick of the Week' - why is that?).

    But increased quality of radio can only be a good thing.

  • Comment number 39.

    So is today the day then Nick? Lots of dashing around behind the scenes?

  • Comment number 40.

    Thats looking good.
    I like the larger video size, but would it not be possible to have a button (alongside the fullscreen button) to open the file in a popup. I usually like to have the programme runnign while doing something else, so having a popup i can position on the screen would be great.

    It might be a little trickier, but ahving the popup scaleable (so that the video scales, not just the window) would be brilliant too.

    I like the sound of channel filters, so you filter out certain channel's programmes.

    Are you going to have a schedule (like in What's On) so it is easier to find programmes which you know were on sometime on tuesday night, for instance.

    And as for Heroes and American Dad (and other US shows) coming to the iPlayer. Is this going to happen, and is their lack of them on here due to licensing problems from fox, etc? Also is this a similar thing with sports?

    Is there any plan to bring in the podcasts, and the audio/video stuff from news/sports too.

    The cookies to remember your details is nice, but would it not be possible to also have a users bit, so that you can log in at different machines and it will still remember what you have wathed, what favourites you have, etc (and maybe even set up a users profile to share your fav programmes with your friends).

    sorry if it seems i am just thinking up loads of things taht it is missing, the list was linger before this announcement though. iPlayer 2 looks great. Good work

  • Comment number 41.

    I love the iplayer and find it so much easier to use than other tv channel players (commercial channels where you have to endure ads and you can't find a place in a programme, but have to watch a whole chunk).

    I adore Radio 4 and Radio 7 iplayer, so the thought of having all the Beeb stuff in one place is just great.

    My one criticism is the fact that iplayer uses Kservice from Kontiki, a peer to peer application that continues to use bandwidth after the iplayer has been shut down. Most people probably don't realise this, but it does have implications in terms of download limits.

    Luckily, I tend to stream my programmes rather than download, but it's still a little disconcerting.

  • Comment number 42.

    I don't think this has been answered but will I be able to listen to LIVE radio via my iPod Touch and iPhone?

    2.0 looks great thus far!

    I assume TV will be up and running on the touch/phone straight away as its a front end change?

  • Comment number 43.

    Gumrat, Anne- I've chatted to the team responsible, and they assure me that all streams available on internet radios are unaffected by the new iPlayer.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 44.

    Clint - yes, lot's of dashing around.

  • Comment number 45.

    @sammyjayuk Obviously you are a Mac user, but trying to scare people into buying a Mac by passing off bad info is not what this blog should be for. To correct you: All PC's bought in the last three years and most in the last five years will be capable of receiving and displaying HD content. The PC has for many years been way ahead of what TV is able to produce. The reason Apple started using Intel chips is because, basically, they were better than what they were currently using. If any hardware is not capable of displaying HD it would be Apple's as many of their display systems aren't capable of showing the full 16 million colours required by HD (they use an anti aliasing system designed to fool the user into seeing colours that aren't there - in fact they have been sued over this!). For the past ten years there has been no reason to buy a Mac except for personal choice - the PC hardware is actually better and more reliable in most cases (plus of course it's cheaper). The PC also has a much larger market share which is why, I suspect, the BBC aimed their iPlayer at it initially.

    @The BBC - I think a system of adding or removing TV and Radio sections from the main page would be excellent. Somewhat like Google's News pages. Ideal.


  • Comment number 46.

    All of the above sound like great additions. Although it would it be possible to add a comments section to programmes? Or at the very least a link to the appropriate place in the BBC forums to discuss the latest episode of Doctor Who/The Apprentice/I'd Do Anything.

    Also you mentioned creating RSS feeds for 'mashups'. Does that mean I could create a personalised RSS feed for the latest series of Torchwood/Top Gear/Ashes to Ashes? Rather than having to create separate feeds for each of these shows. If not, it should at least be possible to 'subscribe' to these shows, and have them appear on your personalised home page. (Much like getting Sky+ to automatically record your favourite series)

    I also think the 'More Like These' bar should be changed to indicate what users who watched this programme also watched (much like amazon). Thereby giving users better quality recommendations.

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick, thank you for the reassurance that we who are abroad will still be able to listen (and listen again) to BBC radio via wifi internet radios.
    Personally, if there were a system of registration and/or payment for people abroad who do not pay the television licence fees in the UK to be able to use the iPlayer to hear the radio, I would happily subscribe to it. I shouldn't think I'm alone in that!
    All the best,
    Anne in Geneva. (You can call me Gumrat!)

  • Comment number 48.

    Please get the sound louder !!! It's way too quiet of the current version.

  • Comment number 49.

    I hope you don't shove loads of extra dynamic objects onto the player page so that some viewers suffer flash slowdown when they try to watch a video.

  • Comment number 50.

    @NTT: Yes, I am a very satisfied Mac user and perhaps should have been more clear about that. You certainly pay a premium for a Mac, and while a Windows PC can indeed be specced to perform at the same level as a comparable Mac for less, the difference in price starts to close as you either pay in money to have pre-installed software removed, or take the time to do that yourself.

    I think you over estimate how much most people are prepared to pay for a computer though. That, or you're being remarkably optimistic about the performance of a £300 laptop - many of which have problems playing even SD video smoothly. I must admit that I haven't tried playing HD video on either of the £300 laptops my family own, and will try some 720p H.264, and maybe some 1080p if I can find some, next time I'm home.

    I'm not saying that there aren't cheap, HD capable PCs out there, but you would have to look. I recently recommended a £400 Acer small form factor desktop PC, with 2GHz Core 2 Duo and 19inch widescreen TFT, and it's a wonderful little thing! It certainly cost far less for the package than it would to get just a Mac Mini, and then have to add monitor, keyboard, etc. If I had the money, I'd probably get one from the same range (sans monitor) to use for MythTV. However, I was very lucky to find it - most everything else in that sort of price range had a Celeron in it, and even then I really had to push to break past the £300 mental limit.

    I'm certainly not trying to scare anyone into buying a Mac though! If somebody could justify the extra money, then I do think that they offer an overall better and more satisfying computing experience. Recent figures from the US show that Apple command about two thirds of the market for $1000+ computers, and although I'm sure the numbers would be different over here it does show that when paying anything more than a small amount of money for a computer, Apple is certainly one of the big fishes in the pond.

    With regards to the colour issue, it is certainly disappointing that Apple choose to use those sorts of panels, but I've seen banding in all but the most expensive flat-panel monitors, and to be fair it only really becomes an issue when accurate colour reproduction is absolutely essential - it's completely unnoticeable unless you're actively looking for it, Apple are just an easy target, guaranteed to garner publicity (Greenpeace, incidentally, are guilty of doing this repeatedly). While we're on the subject of panels, Apple generally use panels that are of higher resolution that the rest of the industry - 1280x800 is a standard resolution for a 15.4inch panel but Apple use that same resolution in their 13.3inch computers, while their 15.4inch MacBook Pro has a resolution of 1440x900.

    You're completely correct in saying that Apple switched to Intel because PowerPC just wasn't good enough. IBM were unable to create viable dual-core PowerPC CPUs, and also couldn't make a G5 for Apple's notebooks, meaning that they were stuck with the G4. When Apple made the switch away from the Motorola 68000 architecture, I'm sure the PowerPC satisfied Apple, but even as far back as the inception of Mac OS X Apple was worried about what PowerPC would offer in future, and Mac OS X has always, secretly, been able to run on x86 processors.

    You claim that PC hardware is better and more reliable in most cases, but when "most cases" means all the £300 laptops out there (and it does) then unfortunately that isn't the case. That however is more of a problem with the price point, Apple certainly couldn't build a reliable laptop for that sort of price. Even when you get up to around £700, things still aren't perfect - a friend of mine has an HP laptop with a built in webcam, but it's never worked for more than a minute and has even been back to HP and they can't make it work properly. Not to mention the completely braindead design decision of putting the headphone socket on the front edge of the machine, where it's continually getting knocked by wrists and became almost completely unusable after about 9 months.

    Anyway, this is entirely the wrong forum to be having this discussion in. You seem knowledgeable, if a tad misguided, and I'm intrigued to see whether we could find some middle ground, but alas this is not the place.


  • Comment number 51.

    Obviously a sidetrack point, but I'm not sure where this statement has come from: "the PC hardware is actually better and more reliable in most cases". Seems blatently false to me.

  • Comment number 52.

    I thought RSS feeds were going to be part of this release?

    I'm looking at the beta and can't see them.

  • Comment number 53.


    I hate to keep bashing away at this, but in the new iPlayer beta I now see for instance at:


    that all Listen Again material seems to be playing in Flash, not mp3 format as reported by The Register - unless I don't know how to see that it's mp3 underneath the Flash front page or something? This makes me very concerned that the old RealPlayer/WMA formats that we all listen to on our Reciva Internet radios will be kept going "for now" to cite the posting in March over at RadioLabs:


    - but that they might later be dropped citing budget cuts and figures of how many people using the new Flash format iPlayer, say (because that's all they see available).

    I don't mean to flog you to death on this, but I think we all deserve more technical details of what formats are proposed for both live and Listen Again radio, and some commitment to keep Internet radio-friendly streams available for the long haul, else this will just run and run. I just bought an internet radio, love it, and would be horrified to think that the BBC might cut access to it in the foreseeable. Thanks in anticipation of some techy stream details.

  • Comment number 54.

    As Heroes is listed in the More Like This console on the last screenshot, are we to guess that its comping to the iPlayer soon?

  • Comment number 55.

    This is the url for the iPlayer beta:


    honeypea - on Friday there will be posts on this blog and elsewhere which will hopefully answer some of your questions.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 56.

    Mark Friend has now posted about the changes to radio:


    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 57.

    I'm sorry to sound disobliging - but what a MESS! It's incredibly unwieldy and difficult to find old programmes that you've missed (I'm only talking about radio here, can't speak for TV as am abroad and haven't looked). Also, the listings are wrong and show programmes currently being repeated on BBC7 as being on Radio 4.
    I find it completely counter-intuitive and wish you would keep the old BBC Real Player on for much longer, it's far simpler to use. Unless I've missed something obvious and am doing it all wrong?
    Well, that's my opinion, but I'm not a techy, just a listen againer.
    Sorry about that.
    Anne in Geneva.

  • Comment number 58.

    Whatever happened to creating an n95 version of the iplayer? I thought this was coming at the same time as psp and wii versions?

  • Comment number 59.

    The iplayer needs to stay in full screen mode on a second monitor. Every time I browse the web on my laptop monitor it flips back to the browser window view on the second monitor. This is useless. Is there a setting somewhere to keep it full screen?

    Also you need a filter for tv or radio when browsing catagories. Who wants to sift through all the radio to find 1 or two tv programs?

  • Comment number 60.

    Also it keeps freezing half way through on high quality and when I restart it begins at the beginning.

  • Comment number 61.

    I'm new to the whole concept of iPlayer in its new guise. Until some months ago I was able to "Listen Again" without subscribing to a service which also gave access to tv programmes.

    Like many contributors to these blogs, I have no tv or tv licence. Unlike most if not all of them, I have no desire to watch any tv programmes whatever.

    The tv licensing people have recently indulged in one of their periodic bouts of intimidation against freaks like me, in whose existence they cannot quite bring themselves to believe.

    I would like to be an iPlayer-For-Radio-and-Nothing-But user. I can find no evidence that such an option is available.

    I presume that subscribing to iPlayer in the normal way triggers an e-mail to the Tv Licensing Authority alerting them to the fact.

    Can a strictly radio-user avoid the hassle that this inevitably would entail?

    in a form that is obvious to even the least intelligent of investigators

  • Comment number 62.

    Delete that last line


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