Hi, my name is Marcus Parnwell and I am Executive Product Manager for BBC iPlayer on connected TVs, games consoles and TV operator platforms.

We are currently offering users a preview of the new version of BBC iPlayer for big-screen devices. If the preview is available for your TV device (see the list below and the BBC iPlayer help pages), you will see a new link at the bottom of the screen inviting you to try out a new version.

We launched the current TV version in 2011 and since then we have seen a dramatic change in how people use BBC iPlayer. Whilst we know users still want to catch-up on those programmes they know they’ve missed on TV, a lot of you want an easier way to find new things to watch. We are aiming to meet both needs with this version.

So what’s new?

Channel and Category homepages

We know that you like to use BBC iPlayer to find programmes by both genre and channel. We have improved this experience to allow you see a curated stream of content – either highlighted by our editorial teams or because it has been popular. Our user testing indicates this is an easy way for users to discover programmes they may not otherwise have known about.

BBC ONE channel page

Collections

You will notice some double-height images - these are collections. These may include all the episodes from a series, or all the programmes that from an on-air season, such as our current BBC FOUR “Ballet Season” programming. When you chose a programme from a collection, we will highlight more from that collection in the play-out area so you can easily go from one episode to another.

A collection page

More like watching normal TV

With the current version of BBC iPlayer on TV, it’s not always easy to find something else to watch. When you finish watching an episode then you have to leave the playback area to start looking for the next show. We want to make watching BBC iPlayer as easy as normal TV - a seamless experience without breaking playback.

So now you can browse all of BBC iPlayer without leaving playback. So if the credits are rolling or you are just not that into what’s on, then pick up the remote and browse our suggestions of other programmes you may also like or else return to the Home, Channels or Categories areas. And don’t worry if you change your mind - you can always return to what you were watching.

Playout

‘Find tools’ and Search

Know what you want to watch? Great. We provide a simple set of ‘Find tools’ that are designed to help you quickly locate the programme you’re looking for. These are found at the front of the stream and allow you to find all the programmes within a given area. On the home screen, you will be able to access new episodes of programmes you’ve recently watched or programmes you have added to your Favourites. In the channel and category areas we provide schedule and A-Z lists. Search is accessible from any page and uses auto-suggest technology to get you to the programme you’re after as quickly as possible.

What devices?

We are bringing this preview to a range of TVs, games consoles and the Freesat with Freetime box. The list of devices to receive this preview includes:

Brand Type Year/Model

Sony TV 2013

Sony Console PS3, PS4

Samsung TV 2012 & 2013

Panasonic TV 2011, 2012 & 2013

LG TV 2012 & 2013

Freesat Set top Box Freetime

This is only the start – we are looking to bring this new version to current HTML based big screen devices.

For a full list of available models please go to the BBC iPlayer help pages.

Where is radio?

We decided not to include radio within this new version of BBC iPlayer. The low usage of radio on big-screen devices means it is not cost-effective to develop and support. You can continue to enjoy live radio on all Freeview and Freesat devices and live and on demand radio via BBC iPlayer Radio on computers, tablets and smart phones .

We are releasing this new version of BBC iPlayer for TV as a preview so that we can hear your opinions and improve the product. So please let me know what you think – either via the comments below or using the TV survey we have provided.

Marcus Parnwell is Executive Product Manager, BBC iPlayer on Connected TVs

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Comments

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  • Comment number 19. Posted by DK74

    on 28 Mar 2014 11:42

    @18 Sorry, I meant live streaming. The HD programmes on iPlayer work fine, I just want to watch live in HD, too.

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  • Comment number 18. Posted by DBOne

    on 28 Mar 2014 00:05

    @17 Try pressing the HD button and hoping your Internet connection is fast enough..

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by DK74

    on 27 Mar 2014 22:46

    When will be able to watch the high definition versions of the BBC channels online on our computers? At the moment for example, I'm watching BBC One in a paltry 688x384 (1500kbps) resolution.

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  • Comment number 16. Posted by DBOne

    on 25 Mar 2014 23:20

    @15 This blog is talking about the TV version of iPlayer and not the PC version which most of your post seems to be referring to.

    The focus on featured and popular programming reflects the fact that for many people the schedule is less important - I don't ever look at it - I'll search by title or review a category - when it was on is of no importance - I don't see how this makes it for the casual viewer.

    iPlayer apps for Android and iOS are already available and have been for a long time.

    I agree with the fact that radio should be in the mix - its a shame I have to use the PC/Tablet and use radio iPlayer rather than have direct access via the TV but I'm guessing the usage stats were too low to warrant the investment needed.

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by caissier

    on 25 Mar 2014 23:02

    "Looks pretty, but don't be fooled. This is a huge step back for the iplayer in big screen/TV format, especially for those, who like me, watch TV on their computer. Unlike before where on the first page you had the option of going straight to a menu of what was on BBC1 that day or previous days or searching for a programme alphabetically or see what was featured or popular (all on the same page) now involves several clicks of the mouse (or multiple reloads on mobile devices). Plus I've noticed the response for loading pages on the new iplayer is significantly slower--hardly mobile device friendly. It's also much less intuitive than before with the opening screen overly focused on features and what's popular rather than scheduled programming, meaning it's designed now more so for the browsing or casual viewer. The loss of the radio tab is also a step in the wrong direction. Please, please, if you insist on instituting this monstrosity of an iplayer, keep the option of using the older version also. Or do as another reviewer has suggested and just introduce a separate iplayer for mobile devices. But please seriously rethink this BBC."

    I completely agree with Gareth.

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  • Comment number 14. Posted by caissier

    on 25 Mar 2014 22:57

    Too complicated and. Just give us firstly a schedule, not a random hotch-potch of suggestions..... plus it looks dull and colourless compared to the old one which worked fine for me.

    The spread sheet schedule ..... when I finally found it ..... looks just like the poor Channel 4 one - too much presented in one go, looking like a school timetable. Fairly dismal, sorry. You are probably trying to do too many things. Again, the old one was fine IMO.

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  • Comment number 13. Posted by John Tempest

    on 25 Mar 2014 15:13

    The decision not to include radio in the new version of iPlayer is not soundly based nor logical. The low usage of radio on big-screen devices (obscure language for TVs?) is immaterial in regard to the economics of developing the software for the new version of iPlayer. The software for providing the catch-up service is already there in the old version, it only requires the placing of one button in the new version and adding in the software related to radio from the old version. Also take account of the fact that more people have access to radio via their TV sets, but the facility for listening to programmes outside their scheduled broadcast slot is now going to be denied to a vast number of people who will have no other means to catch-up on radio programmes they have missed. Please, please, reconsider your decision.

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  • Comment number 12. Posted by talisker71

    on 25 Mar 2014 14:36

    Looks pretty good - any idea when we might see this rolled out to Virgin's Tivo boxes?

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  • Comment number 11. Posted by fr

    on 20 Mar 2014 12:47

    One of the most frustrating things about the existing TV player is it is very difficult to change your position within the program with any accuracy. If you want to skip forward a bit or go back to repeat something you missed, it tends to move in far too large jumps. What would be really useful would be either simple rewind/fast forward buttons that moved more smoothly through time, or even better an ability to input a specific time within the program and go directly to it.

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  • Comment number 10. Posted by U13949110

    on 14 Mar 2014 15:07

    @9 The TV Guide is horrible in the new iPlayer, too many clicks, sideways click scrolling, truncated text, some things which have the pink logo aren't available on iPlayer. The individual channel schedules are much better other than the bizarre fact that to change channels you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen.

    The old one was there on the home page, minimal clicking required showed you what programmes were available and it was easy to switch channels.

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