Archives for February 2012

BBC iPlayer Android App Update

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David Madden | 15:14 UK time, Monday, 27 February 2012

 

Screen capture of iPlayer running on Android

 

The BBC iPlayer Android app has achieved 1.3 million installs since it was launched in February 2011. Today we are releasing a new version of the app. This new version includes streaming over 3G networks and an updated Adobe Flash player, for improved playback.

3G Streaming

We have worked with the network operators to introduce 3G streaming to the BBC iPlayer apps so you can watch your favourite TV programme wherever you are or listen to the radio when you are out and about.

Today's update to the BBC iPlayer Android app includes 3G streaming for both live and catch up TV and radio programmes and works across all UK mobile networks.

The BBC iPlayer apps are a free service.

However, do be aware that your operator may charge you for the amount of 3G data you use. If you are unsure how much 3G data costs on your tariff, contact your network operator.

We currently redirect Android 3 tablets from the app to a BBC iPlayer mobile website that is optimised for the larger screen size. We have some more work to do on the mobile website to offer 3G streaming to Android 3 tablets and, for the time being, the mobile web experience on Android 3 will remain a Wi-Fi only service.

Updated Media Player

We have had a lot of feedback and Android Market comments on the video quality of the BBC iPlayer Android app. As a result of your comments a great deal of work has been done to improve the playback experience and this update includes an updated Adobe Flash player.

The app will, of course, evolve and improve as we refine the interface and add features.

The team would really welcome your comments and feedback on the app. When we Tweet about iPlayer we use a #bbciplayer hashtag, so if you would like to use this too, that would be great.

I am always keen to know what you think and would love to hear from you.

David Madden is Executive Product Manager for BBC iPlayer on mobile

Update; 6.30 p.m.

Some people have asked why the BBC iPlayer Android app asks for permission to access your phone's Network communication, Phone calls and System tools.

These are standard Android app permissions that are defined by the Google Android platform. The 3 permissions the BBC iPlayer Android app asks to use are:

Network Communication - full internet access.

Granting this permission provides the BBC iPlayer Android app with access to the internet so it can play programmes.

Phone Calls - read phone state and identity.

Granting this permission provides the BBC iPlayer Android app with phone communication status and notifies the application if the phone rings or a phone call is in progress. We use this to ensure that the BBC iPlayer app pauses if you receive a phone call while watching a programme. The BBC iPlayer Android app does not access or store any personal information, phone numbers or IMEI numbers.

System tools - preventing phone from sleeping, retrieve running applications.

Granting this permission provides the BBC iPlayer Android app with the ability to prevent the phone going to sleep when you are watching a programme.

Thanks.

What's On BBC Red Button 25th February - 3rd March

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 25 February 2012

What's On Red Button banner

What's the Score?

WhatsTheScore

A celebration of iconic sporting tunes

Can you imagine the BBC's Match Of The Day without the opening music? Ski Sunday without that unforgettable tune? Or Rocky Balboa bounding up those famous steps in silence?

On the Red Button you can catch Colin Murray presenting a special edition of Kicking Off, which sees BBC Radio 5 live team up with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra to celebrate some of the best loved sporting theme tunes of all time.

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Radio and Music update: personalisation & mobile

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Chris Kimber Chris Kimber | 13:48 UK time, Tuesday, 21 February 2012

screenshot contrasting new menu bar -

The new Radio homepage, compared to the previous version (behind)

This week we have released several new elements of the Radio and Music product, which I will explain in this post.

Since my last post in December we have been busy releasing features and fixes every three weeks, listening to audience feedback sent in via our feedback form and also through formal user testing.

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Alix Pryde blogs on satellite TV at the About the BBC blog

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Ian McDonald Ian McDonald | 17:08 UK time, Monday, 20 February 2012

Until now, Alix Pryde blogged about BBC services on satellite here on the BBC Internet blog. Starting with her blog post today about some BBC channels moving to a newer satellite, her posts move onto the About the BBC blog:

The BBC currently broadcasts many of its television and radio services on Astra 2D, so as part of this replacement process BBC services that are currently located on Astra 2D will be moved across to Astra 1N.

Ian McDonald is the Content Producer of the BBC Internet Blog

What's On BBC Red Button 18th - 25th February

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 18 February 2012

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White Van Man

WhiteVan Man

White Van Man

Didn't catch the fantastic first series of White Van Man? Shame on you. But not to worry - you can catch the very best bits on the Red Button. Plus you'll have all the info you need to really enjoy Series Two!

Will Mellor plays good guy Ollie, the proverbial man with a van, written by stand-up comedian Adrian Poynton. In Series 1, Ollie reluctantly put his dreams of running a restaurant on the back burner when his ailing father, Tony, turned to him to take over the family handyman business. Unfortunately for Ollie, the business comes complete with a dodgy van, some questionable tips and an even dodgier assistant, Darren (Joel Fry).

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BBC Sport: Live Beyond Live

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Scott Byrne-Fraser Scott Byrne-Fraser | 14:00 UK time, Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Collection of mock-ups of BBC Sport website

a selection of design work in progress

I'm Scott Byrne-Fraser, Creative Director of the user experience and design team who work alongside the editorial and product teams on BBC Sport's digital products.

This month we launched the redesigned sport desktop site, the first step in our digital journey in what is a massive year of sport in 2012. It's a large scale modernisation of the site and the first full redesign in almost ten years. My colleagues Cait O'Riordan and Ben Gallop have already given details of the relaunch. I would like to talk you through the design process used and provide details on our user-centred approach to creating engaging experiences for our audience.

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BBC Sport: Strategy, User Testing, and Implementation

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Neil Hall Neil Hall | 12:34 UK time, Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Screenshot of BBC Sport homepage, showing football, cricket, and rugby stories

BBC Sport homepage

My name is Neil Hall and I work with Cait O'Riordan at BBC Future Media. Based in Salford, I am the product manager specifically responsible for the BBC Sport website. Working with our editorial colleagues at BBC Sport, I led the project team who delivered this relaunch.

Cait O'Riordan and Ben Gallop have already given you some insight into the relaunch.

In this blog post I am going to explain the strategy behind the changes we have made and how we went about implementing them.

I am going to focus in particular on the role of audience research, feedback and user testing in our development of the new site, an issue that has been raised by a number of you in the comments to the earlier blog posts.

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What's On BBC Red Button 11th - 19th February

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 11 February 2012

What's On Red Button banner

Dickens in London

DickensinLondon

Tune into BBC Red Button for the Omnibus edition of five short plays that mark the bi-centenary of Charles Dickens' birth.

The theme of the plays is Dickens' changing relationship with London - the city that fired his imagination.

Writer Michael Eaton has based each play on Dickens' own letters and journalism: Sketches By Boz and the articles from the journals Household Words and All The Year Round. But these short dramas are never afraid to play fast and loose with autobiographical details - as Dickens himself was wont to do.

Each play takes as its title one of Dickens' own appellations: A Not Overly-Particularly-Taken-Care-Of-Boy, Boz, The Sparkler of Albion, The Uncommercial Traveller and The Inimitable.

Dickens described London as a 'Magic Lantern spectacle'. So it is appropriate that 'Dickens in London' is part of an innovative collaboration between Film London Artists' Moving Image Network (FLAMIN), BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Drama.

For more information and to watch the films online go to BBC Radio 4

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BBC Blue Room at the Consumer Electronics Show 2012

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Lindsey Suter Lindsey Suter | 16:30 UK time, Thursday, 9 February 2012

Large white tent by a road lined with palm trees.

CES: the calm before the crowds

2012: my first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. I hop off the plane with ambition to reach as many of the 3100 gadget filled booths as possible, hard to do in a few days as there are over 20,000 new products alone. The place is epic, five ginormous halls spread over miles - ouch my feet hurt.

I'm information gathering for the @BBCBlueRoom - our consumer media technology lab - our 'micro CES'. We look at year-on-year trends to determine the impact of new consumer technology on the BBC and wider broadcasting industry.

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BBC Sport: Olympic page launch

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Cait O'Riordan Cait O'Riordan | 10:56 UK time, Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Screen grab of Judo page of London 2012 website with stories about Judo and related Olympic stories and features.

Every event now has a destination page.

Hi – just to remind you that I’m responsible within BBC Future Media for the development of the BBC Sport Website, including our Olympic coverage.

Following the roll-out of the new BBC Sport website (bbc.co.uk/sport) last week, today we are launching some new pages in the Olympics section.

In this blog, I will tell you a little bit about the new pages we are rolling out as well as talk about how your feedback is helping us plan further changes to the BBC Sport website.

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What's On BBC Red Button 4th - 12th February

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 4 February 2012

What's On Red Button banner

Radio 2 Folk Awards

FolkAwards

Mike Harding

The Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast live on Wednesday 8 Feb from 7.30pm on BBC Radio 2, online at BBC Radio 2, and on the BBC's Red Button Service.

The Radio 2 Folk Awards ceremony is a much anticipated annual event in the music world with previous years featuring incredible performances from folk luminaries like James Taylor, Nanci Griffith, and Donovan who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at last year's event.

This year, the ceremony will be broadcast live from the Lowry Theatre in Salford and hosted by Radio 2's Mike Harding and folk singer Julie Fowlis. There will be performances by folk favourites old and new including The Dubliners, Christy Moore, Don McLean and Seth Lakeman. The awards celebrate the folk highlights of the last year and include presentations for best album, group and musician.

To see who has been nominated, visit BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards

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Supporting Accessibility: Betsie, Text Only, and the Semantic Web

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Gareth Ford Williams | 12:00 UK time, Friday, 3 February 2012

On the Autumn open post, Russ asked:

When did the BBC drop the 'Text only' option for the homepage?

Whether or not to provide a Text Only version of a webpage is an interesting Accessibility question. I established the Accessibility Team for public facing BBC digital services back in 2005, and we have been discussing that question since then.

At the time the BBC had two Text Only solutions which enabled users of early screen reader technologies and mobile browsers better access to BBC content. These were necessary because they were the days when BBC content was almost exclusively published in tables based page layouts.

Times have changed and neither screen readers nor mobile technologies depend on text only versions of pages.

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Launching the new BBC Sport website

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Cait O'Riordan Cait O'Riordan | 07:05 UK time, Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Picture of printouts of site designs, on a whiteboard, on a wall.

Mock-ups of the new BBC Sport site

My name is Cait O’Riordan and I am responsible within Future Media for the development of the BBC Sport Website, including our Olympic coverage. Today we have rolled out some major changes to how the site looks and works and I wanted to explain those changes and why we have carried them out.

This redesign is the first major launch of many this year as we get ready to cover the Olympic Games this summer. We are working on some really exciting developments, which will be showcased on the new BBC Sport website.

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