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Behind the scenes of BBC iPlayer

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James Hewines | 12:51 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

Hello, I'm James Hewines, the Head of BBC iPlayer.

I look after everything you see as a user, including new developments and keeping things running smoothly every day across the many platforms we support.

Wednesday was a really exciting day for the iPlayer team with the launch of a major new beta version of the site - adding a range of personal and connected features, and rethinking the way the site is designed to keep things as slick and simple as possible. You can find out more about what's included in Anthony Rose's post.

The other big piece of news came in the publication of the latest figures for iPlayer - the highlight for me here was the record monthly play requests which are now hitting 123 million.

A big thank you for all your comments and ideas so far - we've had a great response so far and the team are closely following the reaction. Although I can't promise to come back on every question individually, we'll be posting updates as the beta progresses and give a response on the key things that come up starting next week. We'd love to hear what you think, so please:

Below you can check out the video we've put together to try and give people insight into some of the thinking behind the new site. It's a chance to meet some of the people on the team and find out a bit about how we work, and why we've changed it. This kind of thing is a bit of a departure for the BBC and we hope people find it interesting. Tell us if you do in the comments on this blog.

James

James Hewines is the Head of BBC iPlayer.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I hate to repeat things over and over, but when we are going to see keyboard shortcuts for iPlayer? Just space to pause/resume. Please!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Some comments from me:

    1. There only seems to be space for one 'Last played' programme whereas before there was about 10 or something. Sometimes I don't watch the whole programme in one go, I'll pause it and go do something else and comeback. If I do that now I can't just go to TV Favourites and see it in last played with my other recently watch programmes. Also I might want to watch it again and be able to find it easily...

    2. Instead of having favourites I think it would be better to have subscriptions like YouTube does. Instead of favouring an episode and then getting all the other new episodes of that series it would be better to just subscribe to a series.

    3. On the TV Channels section it says "Full BBC One London Schedule". I'm in Oxford so this is no good for me. When will you introduce local TV listings like you do for Radio?

    4. Will you ever be able to get the license to show Family Guy or other American Shows on iPlayer?

  • Comment number 3.

    I'd like to reiterate what Ed Lyons wrote, at least a spacebar shortcut for play/stop would be lovely. Other than that, I'm liking the new revamp so far, I just wish the iPlayer could be a platform for every other channel too!

  • Comment number 4.

    Why is it that BBC only ever uses open standards for Apple products? Why can't other platforms be given easy access the HTML5 video iPlayer?

  • Comment number 5.

    It seems very nice. However, Black it’s not the best color for this site.

  • Comment number 6.

    That James Hewines looks like he runs up mountains for fun.

  • Comment number 7.

    The new beta iplayer site looks awesome on my iPad. Nice use of screen space and great navigation. All seems to work fine, except for the fact that it insists on using flash for playback.

    Sadly the new iPad "optimised" version of iplayer based on the bigscreen interface looks dreadful. When in fullscreen mode you also can't navigate back to the previous page, which makes it virtually unusable. Sure, when videos play back they look nice, but at the moment there's hardly any videos there to watch.

    It would make much more sense to me to have based the iPad iplayer off of the desktop version. It feels like the four weeks spent hacking together the current bigscreen based version would have been much better spent adapting the desktop version instead.

    Failing that, allowing iPad users to use the iPhone version would be a massive improvement over the current iPad version.

  • Comment number 8.

    Completely agree with ss7. Please please please, just give us the normal iPlayer site on our iPads - the big screen interface really is dreadful.

    Or just give us back the iPhone version - that used to work on the iPad until you blocked the device!

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    When is iplayer going to become available in an open way for a large range of mobiles rather than a small number of selected handsets?

  • Comment number 11.

    On the PS3, a timer stays on screen when the progress bar fades off (this started happening about a month ago, can this be changed please or set as an option, as its very distracting.

  • Comment number 12.

    Just checked the Radio How to Guide but the content seems to have disappeared. Which bring me to the question. Have you made the way of telling you that (especially) the Radio Player is not working simple and immediate. The usual problem in that programmes are decapitated either end or have bits missing. I would not advise the competition to use the current version before it is 100%

  • Comment number 13.

    I second the opinions on the PS3 version, also I have found that the dashboard comes and goes throughout the programme.

    This is without touching anything. Can we get a fix please as I cannot stand the timer on the screen

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    The player embeded in your blog says

    This content doesn't seem to be working. Try again later

    It give error message from right click "Title: XMLError:Main.Playlist
    Description: A demand for xml data was not returned in a timely manner - try refreshing the page.
    Code: -13"

    It did start after I refreshed the content. I wonder how many users see the first error message but not the video because they do not see the second error message.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    I absolutely love the BBC and the iplayer - but the new beta stinks.

    Finally however, i am back to the original iplayer - simple usability over unnecessary complexity.
    Now i have my recently played back, my quick click to 6music and the previous evenings programs one click away. And no longer need to scroll past the overlarge 'featured' rot, to get to what i want.

    I like the idea of favorites but it is rubbish.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm not surprised the i player usage is so high, it is so useful for when you're away from home and miss a program! I like the new beta player, I think some people perhaps complain a little too much....

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Instead of having favourites I think it would be better to have subscriptions like YouTube does. Instead of favouring an episode and then getting all the other new episodes of that series it would be better to just subscribe to a series.

 

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