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BBC iPlayer gets even better

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James Hewines | 16:15 UK time, Friday, 3 September 2010

The BBC iPlayer team are very excited about the latest developments going live next week - this is a big step for the product, and its users, bringing:

  • A new design which is more fun to use, and distinctively styled.
  • A range of personalisation features that let you shape your very own BBC iPlayer experience.
  • Integration with your social network account that lets you add a social dimension to your viewing and listening.

You can find out more about the new features in Anthony Rose's post.

Less obviously, to make all of this personalisation work well for 5m+ visitors each week, we've developed an entirely new technical platform, discussed in technical architect Simon Frost's post. It's been an exciting project with many challenges, both design and engineering, along the way.

New iPlayer design

Image: Screenshot of the new BBC iPlayer design

So, a few people may be wondering, why are we changing BBC iPlayer when it's already pretty successful? The impetus for change has come from two directions: firstly, we have a long-term plan to constantly evolve the site for the benefit of our audiences. A main theme here is personalisation - simply put, a way to get the programmes you love with less clicking (and thinking!). Secondly, we wanted to connect BBC iPlayer up with the users' online interactions with friends - to bring a social dimension to watching and listening.

While social networks are now a well established phenomenon, socially enhanced TV and radio aren't. It's early days yet, but we're pretty sure that this is going to be an important facility in the near future. Together, we hope these features represent a crucial evolutionary step in the enjoyment of online TV and radio. Until now, the focus has been on getting programmes to users packaged in a coherent experience - this next step is about allowing users to interact with the service and each other around our programmes.

Given that we'd be making some major changes to a popular product, we were very conscious of the need to be careful. While some users are generally receptive to change (especially where it brings obvious benefits) others may be more cautious. The key design challenge was to add in these richer, more interactive capabilities without detracting from the overall simplicity of the experience. It's been possible to reconcile these competing goals (richer interactions, simpler experience) by making some basic design decisions that keep things simple - most notably separating TV from radio, and reducing the number of modules on the BBC iPlayer homepage. You can find out more about these challenges in this post by our lead designer for the project, Fabian Birgfeld.

Of course, as we developed the designs and the product, we've tested them with real users at key stages to confirm we're on the right track and identify and address issues they raised. More recently we've been trialling the new BBC iPlayer publicly which with the help of your feedback has given us the chance to iron out a few kinks, some of which David Blackall talks about in his post. Most notable amongst these have been some issues with buffering in the media player, and disappearing downloads, issues that should be resolved by launch day and we will continue to monitor and put right.

I'd like to finish with a few interesting stats from the beta:

  • Usage of the beta quickly built to 8% of the total (and has more recently been ~10%).
  • Users of the beta site play marginally more programmes each day (2.4 vs 2.3) than users on the regular site.
  • 18,000 of you signed up for the social features and linked BBC iPlayer to your Twitter or Facebook profile.
  • Just under 700,000 of you 'favourited' programmes, adding an average of 2.5 programmes each. Your most frequently chosen programmes were Eastenders, Doctor Who, Top Gear, Mock the Week and Sherlock.

This is an excellent start and bodes well for the launch. Check out the new site and let us know what you think by commenting below or responding here.

James Hewines is Head of BBC iPlayer.


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  • Comment number 1.

  • Comment number 2.

    I tried the beta version when it first came out but found it very poor. I endured it for a week & then went back to the original version. I know of others who weren`t happy with it. I don`t know if the problems have been sorted out yet but at the moment will carry on with the old version which also has problems such removing programmes before their expiry date. One in particular had only been on there for 8 days. What`s the point in a new version when the old version has problems still?

  • Comment number 3.

    appalling development!

    if this is anything like the beta version, I find deliberately hitting my own thumbs with a hammer less painful.

    the rationale for change ('we have a long-term plan to constantly evolve the site for the benefit of our audiences') is clearly flies in the face of the actual needs of its audience - as the above changes simply got in the way of the very functions they aimed to execute and were significantly less user-friendly than the site they replaced

    close examination of the 'stats' do very little to actually demonstrate the need for change

    what are you thinking?

  • Comment number 4.

    After going through the registration to comment I’m out of comment.
    Not really – I’m inclined to agree the current system is ok to use the new setup is awkward ( Which I tried for about 10 mins in Beta) & for the programs I watch on the I-Player It will be easier for me to just DL it off a torrent site & watch it without it buffering (* I have virgin 20Mg connection) But find I-player still has probs buffering at times. Apart from that as I do not watch Tv in the normal sense, I watch it on the net....

  • Comment number 5.

    Having used the new BBC iplayer previously, I quickly switched back to the old one as it is much easier to use, more attrctive, and just generally better. I will bee extremely unhappy when it changes over as I think it's changing to a design like 'Channel 4od' and 'itvplayer' which I don't think are as good. Personally I think BBC iplayer's current unique design and layout make it superior to the other websites, and I am not happy about the changes at all.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm a listener, not a viewer. During the last few weeks iplayer radio has become less and less reliable, with 'this content doesn't seem to be working, try again later' coming up more often than not. The new iplayer may be 'more fun to use' but I'd rather it was just more reliable.

  • Comment number 7.

    The new site will be a great benefit! I agree that there's a problem with the actually flash player coding (freezing, double playback etc.) which could be developed further, but as for design, coding and userbility it should prove successful for old & new comers.

    I'm liking the greater emphasis on JavaScript Libraries - users spend less time waiting for pageloads and more time browsing content. And the user gets to choose what they wish to see!

    A great example of web development :) The internet is changing, we've got to change with it. If development was based on the comments of those who moan 'Whats the point?', we'd still be sat in candle light playing tiddlywinks.

  • Comment number 8.

    please nooo , its terrible i tried using it and switched back after using it for a day (i had to force myself to do that) I also agree hitting my thumbs with a hammer is less painful (and irritable), its awkward and really badly designed (no offence), at least give people the option to keep the old version, I'm all up for change but not change that makes something that is good and works to something that does not work and is pretty bad.

  • Comment number 9.

    I like to listen to Radio 4 live from the computer but now, every time I return to the page, it has reverted to Radio One - it never used to do so. It is irritating. I wish it would stay as I leave it.

    I miss the link on the Radio section on the front page to Listen Again.Why did it have to go?

    I wish you would remove the EastEnders link that always appears on the iplayer on the front page. I know lots of people do watch it but another large percentage of people, do not.

  • Comment number 10.

    Despite some negative comments, I look forward to seeing it. But can I? I never use my PC to watch TV. Is this 'new' version only for the iplayer on computers or will the same changes apply to the Freesat iplayer.

  • Comment number 11.

    I don't want personalisation! How does the BBC propose to personalise content for a household of 3? Do they expect us to log out/log in everytime we come to the computer? I know what I like, and with the current design I go straight to it.

  • Comment number 12.

    There are 11 posts on this site and 8 of them are negative. Make that 9. The Beta version is horrible horrible horrible. I am a listener not a viewer. The new version is counter intuitive, difficult to navigate, does not give you the easy access to programmes the way the current version does. PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE IT. THE OLD VERSION WORKS BRILLIANTLY AND IF IT AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT.

    Personalisation is just a gimmick. Functionality and simplicity are what matters. Please BBC for once LISTEN to your customer. Or you will lose them.

  • Comment number 13.

    To all of those who want to keep the old version I'd like to just say, forget about it. It's going to happen. Think of all those important people having important meetings about important things. I'm sure they had bowls of fruit on the table and everything. You people obviously who don't understand the reasoning behind this change are just squares. Not the kind of happening, facebooking, twittering, media-savvy demographic they are targeting. Go back to your wireless and television set.

  • Comment number 14.

    Please can you ensure that the 'old' version is left active for those of us who prefer it. Like the other commentators I tried the beta for about a week and gave up in frustration at how clunky and awkward it is and its pandering to the mania for twitter/facebook of everything. The current iplayer is intuitive, elegant and the page is clearly laid out in a well-thought way. I agree with georginaparis, leave it alone, or if you must have the 'new' version, then at least leave the current one up and running, so everyone can switch back to it one they have rejected the version in Emperors new clothes.

  • Comment number 15.

    I actually prefer the new iPlayer and miss its current presence as an option.

    I use the radio content almost exclusively, listening to dramas and radio 3.

    I find it easier to use, especially the default pop-out player, with the improved navigation to the detailed web page without stopping the programme playing.

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree with the majority of others, I'm all for new innovations online but, after trying out the beta version for a few days I really couldn't stand it any more, it kept opening new windows when I didn't want it to and the UI was in no way as intuitive as the current one.

    I know we're not going to stop Auntie from making the move but I do reserve the right to say "I told you so" when it all goes horribly wrong.

  • Comment number 17.

    I for one would never use Facebook or Twitter based aspects of iPlayer. I've tried them in the past on other websites and never found them to be very useful to me. I'm sure a lot of my friends will watch Eastenders, for example, but I never watch it. Even if I did, how would it benefit me to know that 27 of my friends watch it too? How is that really relevant to anything?

    What I'd like to see is some kind of tag interface. "You may also like" isn't really all that accurate when it comes to finding other shows I might like. Watching Natural World suggests Top Gear, Bargain Hunt and Great TV Mistakes, amongst others. Tracking what users watch doesn't necessarily give the expected results.

  • Comment number 18.

    "The BBC iPlayer team are very excited." Oh good. That's all right then.

    Many of the rest of us have tried the new Beta and don't see the point. It is worse than the one we have. A solution to a problem we don't have.

    I can understand that from the point of view of people who are pursuing careers in the "new media", all black polo-necks and skinny lattes, living on their own in warehouse apartments, being able to integrate watching telly and listening to the wireless through a computer into face book and all the rest is the summation of their ambition, and it looks goods for their CV, but for us mug punters that pay for this through the licence fee it's all nonsense on stilts.

    I suspect the reason for this change is to give BBC technicians something to do, change for its own sake, so staff can justify their existence rather than do something genuinely new.

    The BBC iPlayer works, mostly. If I want to tell someone about a programme I can speak to them, or send an email. I don't use face book and hardly anyone I know admits to doing so.

    So sure, keep a super social version for those who want it - maybe ten percent. For the rest of us, don't change a thing.

  • Comment number 19.

    When are you going to get an iPhone version of iPlayer?

  • Comment number 20.

    Nothing wrong with a change and potentially useful innovations, but now that the likes of BBC News site have been redesigned with the new Global Experience Language, how come this new iPlayer is apparently still not using the new guidelines?

  • Comment number 21.

    The important thing about any changes to iPlayer is that you do not change access.
    Now that you have a fully web based system, instead of the original Windoze only downloadable player, it is truly open to all.

    As far as I am concerned Facebook and all the 'social networking' sites, blogs etc are just a lot of twoddle. If people want to waste their lives using them, that's their choice.

    Just don't wrapper iPlayer in all that rubbish and think that because a name gets displayed at the top of the page that you have 'personalised the iPlayer experience'

  • Comment number 22.

    If the BBC was really listening, they'd realise that 95% of the comments about the beta iplayer are negative.

    It's much more annoying to navigate, and particuarly the lack of a "TV Highlights" and "Radio Highlights" in each catagory makes it almost impossible to find the programmes you want to watch or listen to.

    Please, please, please shelf this plan. Noone wants it.

    What was the point of doing it as a beta if you were going to push it on everybody no matter what the public response?

  • Comment number 23.

    As almost everyone else has said, I changed back to the old version. The new one consistently told me that the content was unavailable, it suggested things unrelated to other programmes that I did not want to watch, and the subtitles barely worked (thus being useless for people who are hard of hearing). It also made it difficult to browse by channel.

    But I suppose it looks a bit shinier which is all that really matters.

  • Comment number 24.

    Can you explain the reason for denying me access to an a-z list of programmes by channel? Anthony Rose seems to have gone out of his way to ignore the question in his blog post and follow up comments.

    It's the most common and most rewarding way I search for content on the bbc and I don't understand why you want to make my experience of bbc content unpleasant and based on some redundant 20th century 'schedule'.

    As people working at the bbc I'm sure you're more than aware of the huge difference in quality between some of your money wasting marketing driven channels and the astonishing work of channels like BBC 4. Why force me to have to scroll through the garbage you waste my money on when I'm looking for quality?

  • Comment number 25.

    Its good that your linking bbc iplayer with facebook but thats the only good change i see.

    The other thing about people viewing more content on the beta site (2.4 vs 2.3) the increase isn't even that big ?!?!?! is that meant to be a good thing?

    Anyway i just hope you keep the old version active which is fine in my honest opinion but with the facebook connectivity. Thats all you need i reckon.

    If not then ........

  • Comment number 26.

    Please don't.

    iPlayer deserves an upgrade, but not to what you had as Beta iPlayer.

    You have introduced some good concepts: social networking, social recommendations, and personalisation. Great. You have also made some improvements to the delivery mechanisms, and technology behind the site. Brilliant.

    And majority of comments here are not complaining about that.

    What you are not talking about, and what makes the new site dreadful, is the change in user interface.

    While I was trying the new beta site I was wondering why are you degrading it so much? Why are you deliberately making it harder to consume content through it? I was especially baffled by the decision to go against your core principles of delivering quality content and catering for niche audiences.

    I believe the first point in this article explains it all: "new design which is more fun to use, and distinctively styled". It certainly is fun, if you consider looking for content fun. I don't. I find consuming content fun. This site should not be fun to use. It should be, as it is now, be a very brief stop between powering the computer up and watching or listening a programme.

    As for "More recently we've been trialling the new BBC iPlayer publicly which with the help of your feedback". You have certainly gone out of your way to make a feedback link very hard to find. I have not been able to find any. But what do I know, I only produce sites like this for a living.

    Please do not ignore these comments. They are not an outcry from conservative audience afraid of the change. Nearly all the people here have tried it (very few conservative users will do that). These are early adopters, and all love your programmes. Just not the new site.

    A while ago, I've read a Wired article (aptly named The man who saved the BBC) about Anthony Rose. In it there is a description of the state of the iPlayer when he joined the BBC:

    "Rose, who had arrived three months earlier as the iPlayer’s latest boss, thought that users would find the service too difficult to use. But first he had to make his case to the BBC’s tired Future Media & Technology team. So, pulling a chair up to a computer, he asked his assistant to find her favourite BBC show, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. “It was a disaster,” Rose recalls. “It went wrong in ways we couldn’t even imagine.”

    First, she clicked links that didn’t go anywhere. She couldn’t return to the main page. And the search didn’t work properly. Finally, when she did find the page, it had no guest information, meaning that she couldn’t be sure whether she’d already seen that episode. Rose sat back. The rest of the iPlayer team looked at each other. Maybe they should listen to what this guy had to say."

    Maybe it's time they repeat this experiment. Maybe they should now listen to what we have to say.

  • Comment number 27.

    The only thing that comes close to being as bad as the new Beta presentation is the implementation, it just fails to function on so many occasions.

  • Comment number 28.

    Wow nice! Cant Wait :)

  • Comment number 29.

    Please don't change over to the Beta iPlayer. Like almost everyone else who's posted, I tried it and found it awful. It is totally counter-intuitive, wouldn't let me do what I'm used to doing on the original version, didn't give me the information I needed, and didn't allow me to go straight to what I wanted to hear (or, occasionally, see). It would be much better – and more economical, which surely is of prime importance at present? – to iron out the glitches in the original, like the continual 'buffering' and 'This content doesn't seem to be working' which others have mentioned.

    It's our licence fees that are paying for this, so you might think about taking our views into consideration!

  • Comment number 30.

    Why do the BBC carry on investing in world leading technology? I mean, it's not like we should be leading the way of the digital revolution and reaping the fortunes from it. I mean there's no money in advance technology and the internet, is there? Is.. there? Oh, Oh God, there is! There actually is!

    Phewww, It's a good job people like the BBC had it covered! Thanks guys.

  • Comment number 31.

    Whilst I applaud the commitment to innovation that the BBC has made and the service that the iPlayer provides, which is bar none the best online player out there, the new player is change for change's sake. simplicity is always the best option and the original gave you everything you needed and it was easy to navigate, in the interest of accessibility at least give us the option to use the old version.

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm surprised to hear the negative feedback about the beta iplayer...I really liked it and watched more programs because of it. I must admit that at first I was a little unsure, but as I used it more often, I adapted and moved on! Technology must improve, even if we don't appreciate it at first.

  • Comment number 33.

    How is it quicker and simplier? It takes longer to get to each of catagories. Then even when you do the programmes aren't in alpabetical order and those that have whole series catch up are listed seperately as well, meaning there's more pages to get through. Even I was to add favourites to the main page I still like to browse Drama to see if there's anything interesting to watch, and this seems like so much more hard work on the new version.

  • Comment number 34.

    Now change is good - when it is done well. BBC News website changed recently and is the worst mess and balls up I have seen the BBC make 'online'.

    iPlayer however is not. It worked before, and the Beta was a step forward (my one and only niggle was the 'double screen size' button shifted from top right of player window to bottom left).

    But It makes navigating programs easier, it makes watching live TV easier as the old player one would have to scroll through the days TV to find the current time and program on air. Now you don't need to.

    I have never had buffer issues with iPlayer at home personally. Compared to things like ITV player this is so much better. But for all those who moan about changes which work I really have no idea what the problem is sometimes I wish BBC and other sites would not do beta tests 'in the wild' and would jsut one day change it you log in, and oh its all new looking..It upset a few but saves time with blog posts like this having to go over and over what has changed and why and the background to why it was needed.

    Anyway I like it and hope the day where one can have all their media, tv, radio and what YOU want when YOU want it over the web comes soon because most of the media I consume is through the likes of iPlayer.

  • Comment number 35.

    hi i am in agreement with the negative comments. OK it needs to be upgraded, but the new layout is so confusing and awkward. can just imagine a new user, just not even bothering to want to learn how to use the site. leave it alone or start from scratch. i signed up just to post this comment, i normally don't bother but this has to be done.

  • Comment number 36.

    Sorry, I have to add to all the negative comments above.

    I was very excited about the Beta and installed it straight away, but found it hogged resources (at one point using over 100MB of memory when idle!), wasn't intuitive, and messed up my downloads at least as badly as the current one does.

    Like other commenters, I would never use Facebook/Twitter integration - I have no need to spam my friends with what TV I watch.

    I really hope you get this right when we're inevitably forced to upgrade...

  • Comment number 37.

    I don't find the iplayer that good, more often than not it is constantly buffering or you get the message the message this doesn't seem to be working please try later. Would be better if you concentrated on providing a product that did what it was supposed to do!!

  • Comment number 38.

    Social networks may be an 'established phenomenon' but so are lots of other things that don't get such ridiculously overwhelming support and consideration from the BBC. I am tired of licence fee payers who don't have and don't want Twitter or Facebook accounts being bombarded with the views of anonymous Tweeters ('Twits'?) As for the ubiquitous buttons ... I use iPlayer on an iPod Touch and now, an iPad and hope the new version will be optimised for them.

  • Comment number 39.

    I cannot belive that theres so many negative comments, I use the Beta and I really like it, I think programmes are just as easy to find and I like the layout. There is always the search option if you cannot find what your looking for.

  • Comment number 40.

    all these new social features why cant we have something useful like been able to schedule a download for off peak times

  • Comment number 41.

    I initially tried the beta version and found it the most hideously awkward and counter-intuitive experience from a web page that i can remember.
    The sole purpose of i-player is to be able to watch BBC content that has been missed or if browsing,something that might take your eye.
    It doesn't need links to Facebook or Twitter so that you can annoy your friends with your life's banality.
    Typical public body doesn't listen to its customers and spends money fiddling just because it can.

  • Comment number 42.

    Unlike the vast majority of comments on here, I would like to say I am delighted that the new version is arriving. Having tried the beta version, although it took a few days to get used to (a length of time many on here were not willing to give it), I found it much easier to use, and find interesting content. I was extremely disappointed when the beta version disappeared, and will be glad to have the new version back.

    It seems that people are simply scared of change, and not willing to try anything new. You see the same story whenever other sites, such as facebook launch a new UI. There are complaints for a few weeks then everyone realises its actually better than the old version.

  • Comment number 43.

    I am a new user to watching television on the net. Watching and using iplayer is really good and easy to navigate. HD programmes are sometimes slow to load and buffer, but on the whole i find it good

  • Comment number 44.

    Comment 40 by luthernc

    "Why can't we have something useful like being able to schedule a download for off-peak times."

    Launch the desktop and click on "preferences". Auntie loves you.

  • Comment number 45.

    Well, I've finally learnt to use the new news pages, but the layout is still uncorrected, and I do not seem to find as many interesting items as I used to.

    So I can only guess that the "new" iplayer will be much the same.Personally, I never use the iplayer home page, I have my favourite programme home pages set as favourites, go to the one I want and then use the "listen now" button. It is very rare that I watch TV programmes on my computer (and I do have a modern, all-singing, all-dancing one). Simplicity is the key to user happiness. KISS is the watchword - we do not have time to fiddle.

  • Comment number 46.

    I love the new version of the iPlayer. It's far better asthetically; a pleasure to use!

  • Comment number 47.

    I find iPlayer gives a very jerky picture with a downloaded file. iTunes provides a perfectly good picture from downloaded films. Why is this?

  • Comment number 48.

    Although we did not try the Beta version, I welcome the BBC's efforts to continuously innovate. However based on comments below it would seem the pace of change may be too rapid. I suspect many heavy users of iPlayer are either the young, who are watching remote from the 'family' TV and those with fast, reliable internet connections.
    Many who work for the BBC are young, and they live in a well connected world. Please remember the bulk of licence fee payers who are less 'technology literate' and those in rural areas who are still struggling to get 1MB speeds. The emphasis should be biased to ease of use and reliability. For these reasons, less is more. Keep it simple and well designed. And if you want all your Radio listeners to go digital, make it easy for them to access their favourites via iPlayer.

    Please remember who is paying for all this new development.

  • Comment number 49.

    Does this upgraded system allow me to view iPlayer entries from anywhere in the world? Probably not!!!! Therefore from my own perspective, no help!

  • Comment number 50.

    The ad on the main BBC homepage looks like Christine Bleakley looking at her last BBC appearances before her career goes down the pan, starting tomorrow.

  • Comment number 51.

    Why are there so many negative comments? I love the new iPlayer. I admit like most things it was hard to get used to at first, but after a while I loved it.
    There will always be negative people, with their negative comments.
    1) Back in the 70’s they would say: “I’ don’t want a colour TV, I’ve been using my black and white TV for years and I love it...”
    2) Back in the 80’s they would say: “I don’t need stereo, I’ve been listening to my TV in mono for years and it sounds good to me...”
    3) Back in the 90’s they would say: “I don’t want any more TV channels I already have 4… and why do I need the Internet when I can get all my info from my Teletext and Ceefax …"
    To the BBC I say “onwards, and upwards”. I remember in early 2000 if you had said watching TV programs on your computer would be normal within ten years, people would have thought you were mad. The BBC was the first to do this, and the other TV channels had to follow. The BBC innovates, the others follow.
    BBC Please put this comment at the top so people can read it before posting their negative comments about the new iPlayer.

  • Comment number 52.

    How much longer before we get a version for the iphone?

  • Comment number 53.

    Hello, i think you should leave well alone there is nothing wrong as it is especially now with funds the way they are, like licence fee i pay £6 a fortnight and for what more repeats im really sick of the bbc and i am seriously thinking now of stopping the licence fee and just watch things a few days later for free. It really is terrible same as itv and the rest there all the same so it seems to me as many people watch the i player for free anyway why should i pay £6 to watch it, the new programs are rubbish, cooking, mr. joe soap in the street where have all the real programs gone youve only had one any good lately and thats ended john bishops britain was like a blast to the past and to me is how tv once was.
    Well im sorry for the bad comments but it has to be said, stop wasting mine and everyone elses money on things that arnt important for christs sake. colin rochdale

  • Comment number 54.

    Why do we need to spend money on a new IPlayer when people are starving in the streets and people loosing their jobs?

    For those who have IPhones ask jobs to pay for development not the UK Taxpayer or buy an android.With the TV license set to be slashed next year the BBC needs some serious financial restructuring!

  • Comment number 55.

    I agree with many above comments, particularly Jarowdowsky, tasa, Black Rocket 2000. I am a huge fan of BBC radio but can only listen at irregular times and the current iplayer is great for me. I am NOT anti-change - proof being how well I have taken to computers, iplayer, etc. but I do not like the new system at all. Radio 4, 3 and 7 are so easy to use on the current system, and finding programmes is easy too - the new system is much less accessible. I occasionally watch TV programmes through the pc and using the existing system the interface is fine.
    PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR LOYAL, FEE-PAYING, CHANGE-EMBRACING AUDIENCE. We are not criticising change, just the type of change we are being forced to accept. Make it better or leave it alone. And to CEdw, please don't insult those of us who disagree with you - you are entitled to your good opinion of the new system but we are entitled to our view too, and my (and others')grounds for disliking it are not based on head-in-the-sand backward-looking resistance to change, or we would not even be using the pc or the iplayer in the first place!

  • Comment number 56.

    What was wrong with the old version? Waste of money if you ask me

  • Comment number 57.

    I admire the BBC's innovation in website development, they are certainly a leader not a follower, and to some extent effect the way in which we live. As with other users, my initial reactions to change can be low, due to unfamiliarity and the confusion that change generates. This is temporary condition and often I eventually find the new better than the old after I become familiar with it. This only happens when the developers listen well enough to be able to separate out the comments between those that are just a reaction to change and those that are pointing out real omissions or failures. With this much negative comment there are likely to be a fair number of the latter. (PS.I always wonder about the psyche of developers who have black page backgrounds . . . ;)

    In short, always keep striving for something better, but listen to the comments above and below!

  • Comment number 58.

    Another needless waste of license payers money. At times when budgests are being cut Thomson okays spending on an already working product that has no logical business reason to throw money away on /2improvements" and dumbing down eg facebook.

    Bring back Greig Dyke......Quick!!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    Commenting to balance out the moaners. I really like the beta version of the iPlayer. It's great to favourite series I'm interested in and find them all there waiting for me in one place when I want them.

    My only comments were that I would prefer radio programmes to work in the same way as TV rather than opening in a pop-up console and have some way of de-emphasising programmes I've already watched/listened to. It sounds like you have done/are doing both of these so can't complain!

  • Comment number 60.

    I don't normally comment but wanted to add my voice to the negative comments that have been posted thus far (sorry).

    I opted in to the beta just after it was made public, and in an attempt to familiarise myself with it I decided to keep the 'new' version even though I didn't really like it. After a couple of months of added difficulty finding the programmes that I wanted to watch, I remembered it was still a beta and that I could opt out - going back to the original felt like an upgrade, everything seemed so much simpler.

    So this is not a case of just not embracing change, and not being willing to get used to something new - there's clearly something wrong with this design.

    My main problems with it are:
    -The Most Popular section. It's usually my go-to place for finding something good to watch, in the new version there seems to be fewer programmes in the list yet they individually take up more screen space.
    -The Schedule. Just show last night 6pm onwards as default.
    -The Featured section. Nearly a quarter of the screen is taken up with an advertisement for ONE episode of ONE programme? Are you serious?
    -The Friends section. Takes up space, unnecessary, don't care.

    And this is just the comments from the sort of technically minded people who would participate in such a beta trial, imagine what people are going to say when it goes public and there's no way to get back to the original version? I feel a backlash coming on.

  • Comment number 61.

    It's hideous... please keep the old version up, so I can continue using it.

  • Comment number 62.

    I find the new beta iPlayer very hard to use. So many little screens, pairs of downloads grouped so you can't see easily what you have etc.

    But worst of all is the fact that so many fewer programs can be downloaded, and often once they have been downloaded you can't watch them for a further 24 hours. There's nothing quite so frustrating as having only the HD version available for streaming when your bandwidth can't quite cover it, and no option to download nor witch to standard resolution. Though play backs expiring while you're watching them is REALLY annoying too.

    The whole design seems very confused, both in terms of screen layouts, and available options for viewing e.g Top Gear episode 4 was unavailable for download when episodes 3, 5, and 6 all were.

    Friends section: pointless so scrap it.

    Better still, can we upgrade to the original version ?

    It's no wonder usage of the beta player is increasing. It's simply hard to switch off. Both my computers automatically redirect to beta when I try to use the original player. Anyone have a way to overcome this ?

  • Comment number 63.

    The BEEB just don't get it "if it aint bust dont fix it"
    I only have axcess to the radio portion of the iplayer as i live in Orlando, so no TV outside the Uk, but as an expat looking in and reading the comments, I see that the people in charge NEVER follow the wishes of the people who pay their wages

  • Comment number 64.

    I've recently invested in a Compaq laptop with windows vista7 [not advertising think you'd need to know what sort of equipment :).

    When I first tried BBCiplayer it was great and I watched a previous programme but lately it only goes for a few seconds and then the little circular thing appears in the centre of the screen, the picture stops and I have to wait ages before it starts again only to stop again after a very short time.

    Not aware I've done anything to make it any different, so is there something I have to download or has the iplayer changed in some way?

    Hope this is the right place to ask for help on the above. didn't know where else to look and am not a "techie" - as you've probably gathered :).

    Will much appreciate any help, and in very simple computer language please.

    Many thanks.

  • Comment number 65.

    I find the beta version difficult to use. Why have you taken away the option of having both television and radio programmes listed together? If I want a crime drama, I want a full list, in alphabetical order, of what is available. I don't want to wade through a list according to what's most recent and then click umpteen buttons to find the radio list.

    I also don't see why the list of recently watched programmes has disappeared from the front page. I want to be able to pick up where I left off - that's one of the reasons I watch iplayer, because I can watch a bit at a time.

    Why can't it be made so that we can select what's on the pages like on the home page of the BBC? Surely that wouldn't be too complicated? That way, those of us that don't want the front page taken up with recommendations can put a list of what we haven't finished watching there instead.

  • Comment number 66.

    WOW, i have read every comment on this item. I cant believe it, i tried the new BETA version, when it was first offered, and i just agree with most of you, it was terrible.
    I metioned it in passing at work the follwing week, but assumed it was going to be,"a version" i did not realise it was going to cahnge all together!

    I am not that clued up on this computer stuff ( being a painter! But please BBC get this sorted, i dont watch tv real time, as i am usually too busy, i only watch and download from the iplayer.

  • Comment number 67.

    Am extremely upset that the change will happen. Gave it a week, couldnt use it, all I got was 'This content doesnt seem to be working'. Is that the intention ? Freezing us out ? Please please please allow the original version to remain available.

  • Comment number 68.

    Actually once I switched and gave the beta version a chance, I preferred it to the basic original. I liked the fact I didn't have to go searching for shows on iplayer that I wished to watch because I had favourited them before and thus they were waiting in a handy drop down folder for me to locate and view them at any time. It was also great because it suggested other programmes you may like due to your preferences of favourites and this helped me discover and enjoy other BBC shows.

    The problems people are talking about seem to be BBC iplayer problems in general, lord knows the amount of times I have tried to watch an episode and it buffers so many times it eventually tells me the things unavailable, this seems to happen mostly when demand is high for the particular programme as it has just been loaded to iplayer and thus all who missed it are trying to catch up on the coverted programme. I agree this isn't acceptable and perhaps a greater user capacity is needed along with other little service tweaks to allow iplayer to run smoothly so it doesn't buffer etc. before something far more advanced is introduced.

    I for one enjoyed the beta version especially with the fact you could link it up to ones twitter and facebook pages to recommend shows you love, it is better than 4od and definitley far superior to itvplayer.

  • Comment number 69.

    Really not happy to change to the new version after having tried the Beta version.
    Personalisation does not work and never will.
    Awfully difficult to find programmes that I had previously been watching and wanted to continue watching.

    Was relieved to return to the current version.

    BBC iPlayer is a super product - be very careful when tinkering with it please.

  • Comment number 70.

    Love the tabs on the beta version.

    Its the double audio bugs, video locking bugs that puts me off beta.

    Please, please please sort the bugs before you release it.

  • Comment number 71.

    Oh no! The current i-player has won awards for being awesome. I got stuck in the Beta version months ago and stopped using it entirely as it was atrocious - over complicated and with far too many options.

  • Comment number 72.

    Whu the constant tinkering with everything, tried the new version, too fussy by half, the only advantage being the ability to cler individual programmes.
    The new comments boards format is irritating and the Farming Today one is currently closed.
    Not good enough.

  • Comment number 73.

    Sadly I have to agree with the majority of other comments; before seeking to improve it is important to ensure the existing functions well and like others, this has not been my experience. I would urge the site developers to spend time on reliability ahead of innovation.

  • Comment number 74.

    I agree with most of the posts. I tried the Beta version and was horrified by the messy clutter. On machines with small display resolutions I found that the pages wouldn't fit and the lack of both TV and Radio in one category listing made finding interesting stuff much harder.

    e.g. I currently look down the comedy lists and pick from both the TV and Radio (mostly from Radio-4 and 7) shows, but the beta version requires you to click several times to switch to Radio and back.

    After trying the beta version for a few days I switched back to the 'classic' iplayer and am still happy with it.

    I tried to report my views as feedback but couldn't find a good place to put it, and then when I typed in a long message to the iplayer dev team found that it was 'too long' for your message system.

    Fancy animations and effects don't make an interface easier to use. The classic iplayer interface probably already contains too many images and similar junk, but at least you get a sane number of shows per page.

    I would prefer an option to turn off the graphics heavy chrome, and just present nice simple text lists of the shows.

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm afraid much of what I say will be a repeat of others. I tried the beta way back when it first came out, and then quickly switched back when I realised that none of the programmes had subtitles. I think instead of adding all this social network stuff, which I don't mind but I don't see it as a priority, unlike improving accessibility which I think should be a priority. The subtitles for programmes frequently take a day or two to appear which means I have less time to catch up on the programme, and I'm left waiting to watch it how I want where someone with normal hearing wouldn't be. It's almost discrimination.
    I would also like to see an Android platform for iPlayer, with subtitles of course. And don't take the lower bandwidth option away, it's going to cut off iPlayer for a lot of people. BBC services should be accessible to all, and parts of this change have completely dismissed that idea.

  • Comment number 76.

    I spent a week or two hating the new iplayer until I switched back to the old one.

    I found it awkward and counter intuitive to browse whats available rather than what's 'hot' or for whatever reason pushed to the fore by the BBC. The original just works better by narrowing down the selection by category or channel. I can see that it looks better but once a programme's playing they both look the same anyway.

    I also don't like that the radio and TV are separated. I like that I can watch something then switch to relevant radio and back again in one screen, I just don't separate the two so don't see why the BBC has.

    If the 'new' version had been in place when I started using iplayer I wouldn't have used it anywhere near as much as I do as I'd never have found most of the programmes I watch.

    As others, I don't want your software's idea of personalisation in the same way I don't want Googles idea of personalisation. Both my TV and Radio choices are pretty incongruous and the personalisation doesn't give me more of what I want it gives me far less since it just doesn't know what I want to see or listen to now.

    An 8% take up on the new version which has been a headline banner option for months should be enough to tell you people don't like it.

    The single most important thing is why should I need to register? I so much don't want to be FORCED to register with the BBC that I've CHOSEN to register with the BBC just so that I can tell you I don't want to be FORCED to register with the BBC.

    I'm all for progress and perfectly at home with technology but the only reason to make the change is to improve things, otherwise it's just not progress, this certainly does not improve things for me.

  • Comment number 77.

    "if it not broke don;t fix it"

    I like the old one the best

  • Comment number 78.

    I like the new one but you've got to fix marking repeats as new episodes.

    I really don't know how to explain it better than this:

    Is it only me that thinks this is blindingly obvious way to ruin the great feature you add, by allowing users to select their favourite shows and be notified of new episodes?

  • Comment number 79.

    @76: "An 8% take up on the new version which has been a headline banner option for months should be enough to tell you people don't like it."
    No it doesn't, as it means they haven't tried it, and not that they tried it and didn't like it.

    Also you are not 'forced' to register in order to view the programmes.

  • Comment number 80.

    Using Safari on the Mac (latest version, latest OS) the front page of the iPlayer now pops up error messages from Adobe AIR every few seconds.

    Where has the complete programme listing for each station gone? I don't browse by day, so that I can catch up on multiple episodes at once, and I don't browse by genre of programme because I find the choices of genre too subjective to rely on. Surely leaving in a complete listing for each station would have been easy and inexpensive.

    I would also have hoped that space could be made for programme names and descriptions to display without needing to hover.

  • Comment number 81.

    "A new design which is more fun to use" meaning it takes twice the time going through fiddly menus trying to find what you want. What was wrong with having a full on-screen list of the schedule, or recently-played programmes rather that the silly scrolling flash junk stuffed in a corner? Not impressed, BBC.

  • Comment number 82.

    The new BBC iPlayer has just landed here.

    It has broken everything. Many programmes deleted well before their "view by" dates. Cannot download anything.

    Check the bulletin board for tales of woe.

  • Comment number 83.

    Going live with the abomination that is the new site with no clear and unmissable prior warning is a demonstration of the BBC arrogance and Auntie knows best attitude that beggars belief.

    People who were tricked into using the Beta have lost downloads that cost them precious bandwidth quota with no prospect of downloading again since programmes have now expired.

    Previous functions that worked well and were of use have been removed, I cite the A-Z listings. Also I am not alone in using the complete programme listing for each channel, BBC 3 and to an extent BBC 4 almost demand it with the number of repeats. Specifically on the children's channels having only the available programmes listed saved parents from explaining why, if the child can see the picture for a favourite programme they can't watch it.

    A perfectly good service ruined in the name of change for the sake of change.

  • Comment number 84.

    Can we have a classic view button please? Items that were available yesterday before the upgrade can now only be downloaded for iPlayer desktop and not Windows media Player and the desktop player files are HUGE!
    I'm sorry but I see little evidence of the beat feedback being listened to.

  • Comment number 85.

    The problem is this: the BBC will always fix things that aren't broken. People will complain, the BBC will "take on board" what people are saying and then...

    ..they will do nothing about it.

    Yes, it is awful. Navigation is harder, more difficult to see content menus and badly thought out. No surprise. BBC News website anyone?

    It is a shame the BBC rarely sacks anyone for making such a bad decision....

  • Comment number 86.

    Where have the A-Z programme lists by channel gone?

    I like Radios 4 and 7. I want to see what programmes are available to listen to from those channels.

    I don't care about the schedules.
    I don't want to wade through lists where every repeat is listed several times (most of Radio 7 is repeated!).
    I don't want to wade through lists which include things which aren't available on iPlayer.
    I don't want to see all episodes of something as separate items - collapse them into one and let me expand them if I'm interested.

    In short, in this respect, it worked very well before and you've completely broken all this useful functionality.

    Some of the new stuff might be useful, but some other changes look to be unwise. A-Z is the worst omission IMO.

    You were told by many. You didn't listen. You are arrogant beyond belief.

    But it looks pretty so everything must be fine! :rolleyes:


  • Comment number 87.

    I've tried to be fair and to not react against change just because it's takes a little effort to adapt to the change.

    BUT IT REALLY IS BROKEN NOW. Type in "motoring" in the search field and what must be the BBC's most popular motoring TV program, Top Gear, does not appear! Neither does F1.

    This new iPlayer cannot be designed by the same people who have developed the current BBC home website. I found some of the changes with that a little strange at first but soon got used to them. The main BBC website has a basic logical way to access data which also used to exist in the iPlayer area. Now iPlayer is just gloss with no substance. Great, add new stuff but don't loose all the work that lead to the old site.


  • Comment number 88.

    This new set up is a fancy web designers dream. As far as I am concerned I had no problem at all with the old version. It was simplicity itself to find a program for the last week using the alphabetical list.

    All this fancy favourites and friends nonsense is just gimicky and has no practical purpose as far as I can see other than to make life difficult. If only I could find out how to revert to the old classic verdion I would do so straight away.

  • Comment number 89.

    A brilliant improvement - well done BBC. just ignore these moaners - people just hate change.

    One thing that's making me laugh is all the people moaning about the removal of the A-Z listing - why not use the search instead? Surely that's much quicker and more convenient, given you presumably know the name of the programme if you're able to look it up under an alphabetical listing!?

  • Comment number 90.

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

  • Comment number 91.

    Frankly I'm going back to torrents

  • Comment number 92.

    As the new iPlayer is so "good" Why haven't the BBC responded to the many comments on the message boards yet?


    I am yet to see an positive comments from anyone except the iPlayer team

  • Comment number 93.

    I don't like the new version, if it has any advantages to offer I fail to see them or even be able to find them. I therefore think it user-unfriendly, awkward and I urge you to bring the old version back.

    If you are at all interested in what the users have to say, you will at least consider scraping the new version. Please do not worsen something that works perfectly fine for the sake of "constant development". Change for the worst does not constitute development.

  • Comment number 94.

    It's incredible to see such a unanimous howl from people who know and love the iPlayer and recognize that the update has effectively bricked it - in the name of what, exactly? Social networking tools that no one seems to want? Most redesigns endure the nay-sayers and eventually win people over. But every now and again, there's a genuine cock up that requires the designers to eat humble pie and accept they got it wrong. It happened to Coca Cola, now it seems to have happened to the beloved iPlayer. Please give us back our full lists of programmes, our A to Z, and the other features that made the iPlayer one of the most popular things the BBC has done in YEARS.

  • Comment number 95.

    ''Senior staff from the BBC's online and technology teams discuss issues raised by you about BBC Online, BBC iPlayer, the BBC's digital and mobile services, and the technology behind them. ''

    So could some senior staff please respond constructively to the huge number of negative comments on this? Reading the comments it seems like most people are far from being technological luddites, like iplayer, use it regularly, and want to keep using it. Inovation is not a problem, (after all iplayer itself was a fantastic innovation), but breaking something that wasn't in need of fixing is.

  • Comment number 96.

    Why are web designers obsessed with getting as much information onto one page as possible. What's wrong with changing page to see the categories or the full listings. The new page is horribly cluttered and overly busy; the old site was far more intuitive to use.

    Also I'm young(ish) at 27, but I have no intention what-so-ever of letting my friends know what programmes I watch and I imagine they don't care that I enjoy watching historical documentaries at bed time either.

    I agree with the previous posters that this is just box ticking by BBC management who are changing the site just for the sake of change. However I do think that allowing discussions about the BBC programs would be a good idea, however it is also impossible because of the way the BBC moderates it's forums/comments.

  • Comment number 97.

    p.s. give us the option of choosing a version of the site to see which ine is more popular. You ran the beta at the same time as the old site so this shouldn't be to difficult for profesionals like yourselves.

  • Comment number 98.

    I think the iPlayer is awesome! Love the improvements, really well done!

  • Comment number 99.

    I'd like to add my name ot the list of people asking for a Classic View to be added to the iPlayer client.

    I also watched the odd programme on my Nokia N900 (in its browser), and what on earth was the idea of removing the A-Z view? Or forcing people to scroll in order to scan previous schedules?.

    I'll have to see if it grows on me.. but if we could hide/disable the social options because we frankly don't care about that aspect.. or use other tools for that.. it would help.

    Also what would help is the pop-out option as that enabled hardware acceleration on the N900 to kick in (it has Flash 9.4 as a standard component), although it was a workaround.

    As the N900 is a reference device for MeeGo, and there is the possibility that Maemo is where Nokia is going...

  • Comment number 100.

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


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