BBC iPlayer on the iPad update: live streaming of World Cup
The iPad version of BBC iPlayer has now been live for almost three weeks, and the reception has been hugely positive. And we also really appreciated your suggestions and feedback, for, as you will see below, we are always looking at ways to improve.
When we launched on May 27th, there were obviously a few items that did not make the release, so in the weeks following, we considered your suggestions and our 'to do list' and now have updated the site this week to further improve the iPlayer tablet experience.
You will now find, that, in addition to great quality on-demand TV and Radio catchup, you can now also enjoy the following:
Live World Cup Streaming
All the World Cup matches shown on BBC One, BBC Three, and BBC Red Button are now available for LIVE streaming on the iPad. When you navigate to the match listing from the World Cup link on the homepage you will see the next 6 upcoming matches.
The streams are available at both 400kbps and 800kbps. When you start watching it will start at 400kbps, and will then within 10 seconds go to 800kbps if your bandwidth permits.
Subtitles for ondemand content
As part of the work we did using the HTML5 video tag, we have also been able to include coloured subtitles. For any program where there are subtitles available, there will be an "S" shown in the player. Select this to turn on the subtitles.
This is the first BBC on-demand offering that includes coloured subtitles, where the colours change as different people speak. See more on this in Jonathan Hassell's accessibility blog (coming soon - ed).
The iPlayer Bigscreen site you see on the iPad was built mainly for TVs and set top boxes, where Back navigation is done using a back button on the remote control. On a tablet this requires an onscreen navigation option, especially if you are running iPlayer with the chrome hidden. We had this on our backlog, but it did not make the initial release. As your feedback also clearly stated a desire for this, we have now added this in the footer, conveniently placed for a left thumb operation.
One of the most tweeted about question since the launch has been how to hide the browser chrome. As many of you are aware of, this is done by saving a shortcut to www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bigscreen on the Home Screen and launching iPlayer from it. To ensure everyone can run iPlayer this way, we have added a Tips section in the footer. This will also include additional tips, and it will flag to you when there are new, unread tips added.
Things to come...
So, in relation to things to come, we have a few additional items still in the pipeline, such as the fact that the user interface still does not use the full screen (this requires some very interesting workarounds ) but, we're working on it... and we are also developing further improvements for the video player.
So stay tuned, and keep the comments coming.
Morten Eidal is Development Manager, FM&T.