« Previous | Main | Next »

Where has BBC iPlayer gone on the PS3?

Post categories:

Gideon Summerfield Gideon Summerfield | 09:05 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2011

With the army of loyal followers we have amassed for the original BBC iPlayer on the Playstation 3, it’s no surprise some have been reluctant to let the old design go. But we have been blown away by overwhelmingly positive feedback to the new version of BBC iPlayer on TV — initially available on the PS3.

The outpouring is typified by reviews like those from Trusted Reviews, PS3 Attitude and WebWire TV and compliments we’ve seen posted from users like: “huge improvement,” “swanky,” “rather tidy,” “really slick,” ”it rocks,” and “looks gorgeous”. These really are the greatest reward for the immense efforts of the team who put it together. So thank you all!

However, some of you have struggled to find the new BBC iPlayer on the PS3, which may have recently disappeared from the TV / Video menu. The reason it has disappeared is that since Sony updated the PS3 firmware to v3.7 a couple of weeks ago, TV services like BBC iPlayer have required users to install a small app to launch them.

While you don’t need to be signed in to the Playstation Network (PSN) to use BBC iPlayer, you do in order to install the link to it in the first place. So, if you’re not signed in already, select the PSN icon – second from the right on the XMB - and select “Sign In” to start the process.

Once you’ve completed this, you’ll find a new rainbow coloured folder under the newly renamed TV/Video Services section of the XMB, called My Channels.

screengrab showing large iPlayer icon amongst others

Select this and you should see a massive BBC iPlayer button alongside those of other TV services. If you don’t see it immediately, give it a minute or so to update. Selecting the BBC iPlayer button will re-install our icon in the TV/Services section. Choose it to launch the new BBC iPlayer from now on.

Finding BBC iPlayer is one challenge; quitting is also causing some confusion. Unfortunately the Sony framework required to deliver this improved version of BBC iPlayer on the PS3 relies on the old way of closing apps. Rather than tapping on the PS button to pull up the XMB, you'll need to hold down the PS button for a couple of seconds, then choose "Quit."

Unsurprisingly, like every major launch, this one has not been without its teething problems. But we believe we have now shored up the video distribution network servicing the new HD-capable BBC iPlayer on the PS3, which briefly buckled a little under the strain of the product’s success.

If you’re still experiencing any playback issues, you should check the performance of your own network and ISP via your PS3. Make sure you are signed into the PSN and go to “Network Settings” under the “Settings” section on the XMB. Select “Internet Connection Test” and leave it a minute to run. The figure you’re interested in is “Connection Speed (Download).”

You’ll need this to be consistently over 1Mbit/sec to be sure video can play in BBC iPlayer. Over 3Mbit/sec is required for HD. If you struggle to get over 2Mbit/sec, you may need to go to the “Video Quality” area of the “Settings” section of BBC iPlayer and select “Lower Quality” as the preferred video quality to ensure reliable playback.

Gideon Summerfield is the Executive Product Manager, BBC iPlayer TV.

His team is part of Dave Price' s TV & iPlayer department within Daniel Danker 's Future Media Programmes & On-Demand group.


  • Comment number 1.

    Thanks for the information. As I keep up on the PS3 EU blog, I knew about the menu changes beforehand, but I can't imagine many people do the same.

    The new PS3 "Bigscreen" iPlayer is a revelation.

    It has catapulted the PS3 from a distant third place device (my laptop and iPad being second and first, respectively) to being the best way to view the BBC's great content in my house. The HD support is seamless, and smoothness of playback is vastly improved across the board, without so much as a stutter as long as my connection holds up.

    That's all without mentioning the massively better navigation and discovery, the UI responsiveness, and the easier navigation with a remote.

    A superb job from everyone involved, and please accept my heartfelt thanks for creating such a great product.

  • Comment number 2.

    It is a gorgeous thing. Terribly exciting to use. So thank you to all the iPlayer Drones who have made it possible.

    Only beef is that I can't easily find an exit button from the interface .. unless of course I've completely overlooked it. Could you help?

  • Comment number 3.

    @Thoroughly Good
    See 2nd para after photo

  • Comment number 4.

    Can the iPlayer Drones do anything about my distinct inability to read things carefully *before* posting?

    If they can, please let me know.

  • Comment number 5.

    Loving the new iPlayer. Loads of HD content that plays smoothly and looks great. I can also navigate totally using the PS3 Bluetooth Remote if I wish. This alone is killer functionality, as navigating with the SixAxis was a drag.

  • Comment number 6.

    The new iPlayer interface is utterly fantastic, and I'm so pleased with the update. However, I'm still unable to play HD streams without buffering and stuttering, and it isn't my internet connection at fault. The 'Internet Connection Test' in the XMB reveals the download speed to be 6.1Mbit/sec, which is more than fast enough, and I can stream things ok on the PC. Is this the video distribution network still having issues with demand? I didn't realise that the PS3 and PC content came from different servers. I really want to be able to start watching iPlayer in HD on the big screen and hope it can be sorted very quickly!

  • Comment number 7.

    More to the point, where is it on the 360?
    Will this console be ignored yet again, despite the BBC being supposed to be non-platform specific, and impartial?

  • Comment number 8.

    Sounds good! I'd love to have HD content but unfortunately my broadband speed won't allow it (and as I live in a rural area that's not likely to change soon). Is there any chance of iPlayer on the PS3 allowing downloading of HD programmes in the near future? I'm sure lots of people are in a similar position to me and would love this chance of HD content...

  • Comment number 9.

    To add to Tengsted's comment:

    When are the BBC going to fix the Android iPlayer client? Judging by the comments, this is obviously a cracking bit of software, so well done for that.

    But I have to ask. If the BBC can create such a great iPlayer application for the PS3, why is their effort for Android so utterly dire?

  • Comment number 10.

    @7 / Tengsted - Actually the BBC want to put the iPlayer on the Xbox 360 but Microsoft want to make it exclusive to Xbox Live Gold subscribers so that users have to pay to use it. The BBC disagree with this model as they believe access to the iPlayer should be free to all Xbox 360 owners (so long as they have a TV license!). So blame Microsoft, not the BBC!

  • Comment number 11.

    @10 - Fair enough, and credit where it's due to the BBC on that one.

    They should perhaps publicise that they'd love to be more inclusive, but they're not being allowed to, otherwise, they're giving the impression that they're not catering for every platform.

  • Comment number 12.

    @Tengsted It's Microsoft that's preventing iPlayer on Xbox, their greed is their primary motive for not making it free-for all.

  • Comment number 13.

    As I've already posted MarkG, fair play to the BBC. They need to publicise it's not them that's the problem though.

  • Comment number 14.

    The new UI is great, but there's a problem with the PS3 iPlayer's programme listings - it doesn't show the content that's available when I browse iPlayer using my PC.

    As an example, The Belgian Grand Prix Practices One and Two (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b013yyvf/Formula_1_2011_The_Belgian_Grand_Prix_Practice_One/ ; https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b013yyvh/Formula_1_2011_The_Belgian_Grand_Prix_Practice_Two/%29 aren't shown when searched for (tried 'formula', 'belgian', 'grand p'), aren't listed under the 'Sport' category* and don't appear as 'related' programmes to 'Grand Prix: The Killer Years' (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00z8v18/Grand_Prix_The_Killer_Years/%29 which does appear in the sport category and when searched for.

    The old PS3 search used to be a bit dodgy too (not always returning the latest results, or returning results that were expired), but I could get around it by either viewing the 'related programmes' or manually changing the URL and switching to the regular web-based iPlayer. Now if I use the PS3 web browser it tries to load the HTML5 content designed for the plug-in, and doesn't work properly - so my workaround is no longer possible.

    So I'm back to watching stuff on my PC in my study - not exactly the family-friendly viewing environment of being sat on the sofa in the lounge (and you may be surprised to learn that I was searching for F1 Practice because my 2yr old daughter likes watching it!). Any comment from the beeb or other affected users?

    *as an aside, it's frustrating that the sub-categories shown on the web aren't shown in the PS3 version.

  • Comment number 15.

    No matter what I did, I couldn't get the 'my channels' icon to appear. I was running v3.70 and was utterly confused as to what was going on.

    However, I used my initiative and downloaded the 'Mubi' thingamajigy from the PS Store and now the icon is there. Loving the new iPlayer, being able to stream HD content flawlessly is a real bonus. Excellent work.

  • Comment number 16.

    I had the same problem as Andrew1984. Mubi didn't work for me, but installing and starting up Playstation Home did (never used it before). When I came back out of it, the TV icon was restored, along with all the iPlayer and 4OD icons and the like.

  • Comment number 17.

    Please advise where my TV/Video Services section icon has gone on the XMB???

    The TV shape with the little aerial top right is not in the list of icons at all?

    This is making the finding of the I Player Icon rather difficult!!


  • Comment number 18.

    I downloaded iPlayer for PS3 the day it came out, together with the Sony enabler. It has always looked fine and it takes me to the programme selection page. Then, however, the response to every programme selection has been and is: "Sorry, there has been a problem with this programme." This is accompanied by a Close button that does not work.

    I can get iPlayer easily thru the browser and it works perfectly, but what is wrong with my app?

  • Comment number 19.

    I think I've knackered my iPlayer until the next update is available. I was annoyed at having the two different logos (and also having to update the new one each day I went to use it), so I did a factory default reset on my PS3, unfortunately it has kept my software version at 3.70 but I now have no TV services, XMB still shows 'Video' only. I have tried all the solutions online on how to get the player back (all post new redisign) but nothing works. If anyone has a solution then please let me know!

  • Comment number 20.

    I've found the new app version of iplayer totally rubbish, what was wrong with the old version? Nothing it was excellent. There are many people also complaining on other forums about the new version all over the net so I feel you've been very selective with the comments you've posted here. It's clunky, unresponsive, buffering is bad. Bring back the old version or at least let us use the old version on the web.

  • Comment number 21.

    Whoops. Playstation Home solution worked the second time it installed new software.

  • Comment number 22.

    The new PS3 interface is a fantastic improvement. It certainly shows how shoddy Flash is as a distribution medium and what can be achieved with native video playback. The HD stream in particular is very nice and finally it's possible to watch TV that looks better via my PS3 than direct from the (SD) tuner.

    There are still a few tweaks that could be made though. One thing I do miss is the sub-categories which is most evident when you select the "Factual" category. However all in all a fantastic improvement to the PS3 experience.

  • Comment number 23.

    Will the scaling problems be solved soon? All HD programmes seem to be missing part of the image (the BBC logo seems to be cut and I am pretty sure the whole image is), this is on 720p TV, other than that I love the new look. Also had this problem before on the old iplayer which was solved by changing the standard size and seeing as this appears to be still running on the browser maybe you just need to tweak that setting a bit?

  • Comment number 24.

    well, I can only say.
    firstly. How were we meant to know about this change? The average user doesn't follow every little thing the BBC does. Even if this was a major change.
    Secondly. they don't seem to have tested it very well as I have spent half an hour trying to follow the instructions to find the Iplayer and still with no luck
    Wonderful instructions like following the "XMB" - what is that? is it Dr. Who geek speak? I can guess what it is but PLEASE try and recognise that your average user does not have a clue what you are talking about.
    So finally, I have checked that I have the latest version of the PS3 software. I have! I have searched EVERYWHERE on the menu for the Video option with the "rainbow"...it does not exist...what do I do now... This so called smiley faced instruction is as much use a chocolate teapot...thanks BBC...try testing your changes next time! To say that "some of you have struggled" is because you have not tested it properly. What a poor show!

  • Comment number 25.

    Disappointed. The old PS3 iplayer was indespensible in our house. Although the new interface looks much nicer and works much better with the PS3 remote, it is much harder to find a program unless it is a popular one. More significantly however, we have a 2Mb broadband connection. This is apparently not sufficient for the new standard SD mode, so I have had to set the quality to the lowest level. This is clearly inferior to the old iPlayer SD video quality, and even manages to pause to cache every few miniutes where the old iPlayer did not. We had got to the point where we watched nearly half our content using iplayer, but this will now drop to 'only when we have no choice'. I develop software for a living, including work for some significant internet retailers and media companies - this would not have been allowed out of our house. Very poor.

  • Comment number 26.

    This new iPlayer is useless. Please give me the option to return to the old player! Progress for the sake of progress is not good customer service.

    The best thing about the old iPlayer was that I was able to watch Formula1 free practice sessions on my big screen tv via ps3. Now i'm stuck using the tiny screen of my laptop and out of sync sound due to bluetooth delay.

    At the very least add the BBCSport Channel to the CHANNELS menu so that Formula1 service can be viewed on the new clunky version, at least that would be a step in a better direction.

  • Comment number 27.

    I don't have any rainbow-coloured 'My Services' folder in the TV and Video section. I don't seem to even have a 'TV and Video' section, just 'Video' and it even has a different icon to the one in the picture in the article (My icon looks like a piece of film reel) so what is going on?

  • Comment number 28.

    I finally managed to add iplayer after an incredibly long winded process only to find that I can't watch formula 1 apparently. It just says your preferred quality is not available and that stupid circle just keeps spiralling on ad infinitum. Shocking. Having to resort to my Macbook Pro 17" screen with tinny sound...instead of my 46" widescreen surround sound lounge. Not happy one bit.

  • Comment number 29.

    The new version of iPlayer on the PS3 is totally useless to me due to constant pausing and buffering. The new interface may be nice, but it's all for naught if I can't watch a single programme in standard definition.

    Back to my PC and the normal web version, it is then!

  • Comment number 30.

    I thought the previous version of iPlayer on the PS3 was excellent and it seemed to work extremely well. However I cannot compliment the new version in the same way. It is slow to respond to the controls when switching between categories and more importantly it always buffers and stutters when playing the programmes. I once tried watching the F1 in HD but never again will I try this action. After watching the rather ugly swirly thing go round and round for 10 minutes I gave up and then had to restart the system as trying to switch it back to normal definition resulted in a complete frozen state. Why did the BBC feel the need to change the old verion? I used to regard it as the best tv player but now I give this accolade to the ITVplayer and 4od. Their programmes may not be as good but being able to watch a programme from start to finish without any interruptions and splutters is quite a nice concept and one that might catch on!

  • Comment number 31.

    What this doesn't tell you is that both the PS3 firmware and playstation home have to be updated. To do it, go to the second to last option on the bar (playstation network), then scroll down one to playstation home. When this is selected it will ask to be updated to 1.52. Once completed, close using the ps button. Now the guide above will work.

  • Comment number 32.

    BBC can't seem to please anybody. I used to have stuttering and picture break up on the old iplayer interface. The new version for me is great, missus watched EE last night in HD and had no dropouts(No, I dont have a superfast cable broadband). I want the new interface to stay,

  • Comment number 33.

    Just tried (and tired) to watch Spooks via the PS3. Works with no problems on the laptop but keeps buffering every 10 seconds or so on the PS3 - took me 10min to watch the first 3min or so!! Have just turned the settings down to SD - slightly better possibly but not really. Now watching on the lowest setting and is working fine.
    I have the old PS3, connected to Virgin Media via WiFi.
    Speedtest on the PS3 gives me a connection speed of 3.0 - shocking!!!!!
    Incidentally, quite like the new version (other than this issue) but would like live radio streaming - how about a PS3 version of the Radioplayer?

  • Comment number 34.

    Could someone please tell me why, since the iplayer update on ps3 you can no longer watch the f1 practice sessions? To do this I now have to watch them on my laptop as I can't even get it through web page on ps3. Is it not already bad enough that we are looking like we will be forced over to sky next season!?

  • Comment number 35.

    Love the new ps3 iPlayer interface but the buffering problems means that it's completely unusable. On a wired connection playing at SD frequently pauses for 5 to 10 seconds. My internet connection is fine. Playing exactly the same program on a laptop on the same internet connection works flawlessly with no pauses at all. Please fix it, I'm a big iPlayer fan.

  • Comment number 36.

    Great. If it worked. I am trying to watch the F1 and it just sits there spinning! The old interface was clunky but at least it worked.

  • Comment number 37.

    I had same problem with constant buffering on new Iplayer on ps3. Have sorted this completely and can now watch hd perfectly with no buffering. Ps3 just needs to be connected with a wired connection to the router. The ps3 wireless receiver is just not up to it. Hope this helps as new Iplayer is a vast improvement

  • Comment number 38.

    I’d like to explain why you can’t watch the F1 practice session on the PS3. We use a different mechanism for encoding programmes broadcast via the Red Button. Right now this process can only produce files that playback in the Flash video player that’s available on the website (the EMP). We don’t use the Flash player on the PS3 any more which is why we can deliver improved quality video and HD. An unfortunate side-effect is that we can’t play this Red Button content. We are actively looking at ways in which we can increase the number of platforms that can support Red Button video.

  • Comment number 39.

    There are still a few people who say they are experiencing buffering problems but are sure they have adequate broadband speeds. To be certain there are no networking problems in your home, I’m afraid you really need to connect your PS3 to your Internet modem/router directly with an Ethernet cable (you’ll need to change the network settings on the PS3 to "wired"). If you are still experiencing problems then please let us know what you were trying to watch and when (date and time of day); plus who your ISP is and what connection speed your PS3 is reporting. We will continue to look into this.

  • Comment number 40.

    For those who have been following the instructions for installing the BBC iPlayer link but are still having problems or have lost the link again, we hear that entering PSN Home first after signing in helps; exit PSN Home and then wait 5 minutes before looking for the My Channels folder.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think the new interface is ok, but I prefered the old one, as it was easier to find programmes and there were fewer long lists to scroll through.
    However, my main issue with the new interface is that it is really hard to skip to a specific point in the broadcast - if I press left/right on the control it sometimes skips through 1 or 2 minutes, but sometimes skips 10 minutes. This is very frustrating. Will there be a fix for this navigation issue soon? Many thanks.

  • Comment number 42.

    At 17:32 5th Oct 2011, GideonS wrote:

    There are still a few people who say they are experiencing buffering problems but are sure they have adequate broadband speeds. To be certain there are no networking problems in your home, I’m afraid you really need to connect your PS3 to your Internet modem/router directly with an Ethernet cable (you’ll need to change the network settings on the PS3 to "wired"). If you are still experiencing problems then please let us know what you were trying to watch and when (date and time of day); plus who your ISP is and what connection speed your PS3 is reporting. We will continue to look into this.

    So we are taking a step back then and now suggesting wired, rather than wireless, is the way to improve connectivity. Many people, like me, do not have their router anywhere near their PS3 or TV. The new IPlayer may look like an improvement, but it has now meant this household are unable to use it via the PS3 - great progress indeed ! After 1.5 hours downloading, updating and installing software (which was only made possible by comments on this blog as there are no comprehensive instructions) I was finally able to navigate the IPlayer menus. Not that I wanted to sign up to PSN (remember that Sony's site was recently hacked) as I've no intention of playing online games etc - I've been forced to in order to get IPlayer. But once there it has proven useless. I live in a rural area with a 2mb connection, so HD was out of the question straight away. Even in SD the buffering was appalling - as an example I valiantly watched an episode of the Dinosaur programme. A 30 minute slot that took 58 minutes to watch which gives you an idea of how bad the buffering was. I didn't manage to watch any part of it uninterrupted for more than about 30 seconds. So well done BBC, you've successfully denied me the option to access IPlayer on my TV !

  • Comment number 43.

    Downloaded the new update fine, but now I can not run any of the content on BBCi Player, although i could with the old one. Just says Unable to run content. I live on the Isle of Man does this have anything to do with it, although it shouldn't.?

  • Comment number 44.

    I have playback glitches on this new iPlayer on PS3 (not buffering/stalling). For just a second, the sound glitches, and there a few dropped frames. It happens approx every 10 minutes, though is variable and intermittent (and highly annoying).

    It appears on any programme, though especially in HD, and at any time. I am connected at 720p to my TV. I have tested with the same result via a ethernet connection and a DMZ configured for my PS3. On PC, everything is flawless, and my download and streaming tests on iPlayer diagnostics and the PSN test are over 15Mbps at all times.

    Is this a confirmed issue? and is it possible to fix?


  • Comment number 45.

    WRT the new PS3 iplayer, should I now be able to select live local radio station feeds ? I can pick up all the national stations via my Virgin box, but the only other station I wish to hear is BBC radio Kent for local news and features which are generally quite good. I can play via my PC and have a network connection to my PS3 but cannot get the PS3 to play live feeds. Any advice plse ?

  • Comment number 46.

    Glitch/Dropped Frames Issue

    Might have found an easy way to replicate this: Eastenders in HD, 11 seconds into opening sequence seems to always trip it up...

    Would be nice if anyone else can confirm?

  • Comment number 47.

    re 46.
    dropped frames on HD will undoubtedly be caused by the huge amount of data having to negotiate via slow internet speed or poor local network connection speed/WiFi, or a combination of both. Download any free speed monitor to check your internet download speed, especially at peek times when the ISP will drop the bandwidth.. and connect your PS3 via direct ethernet to the modem.

    My Virgin 10mb cable speed rarely exceeds 1mb on downloads and drops far below in the evenings.

  • Comment number 48.

    re 47


  • Comment number 49.

    Would Gideon like to address the problems at 18 and 43? The app appears to install perfectly but then responds to every programme selection with "Sorry, there is a problem this programme".

  • Comment number 50.

    BBC iPlayer change in the summer 2011. I am in France, in June we could pickup the BBC Iplayer on the Sony PS3 - RADIO only its true. I have laboriously signed in to SONY set up an account etc but can't see it any more. Is this because i am in France ? Only the IPAD runs the BBC international iPlayer?

  • Comment number 51.

    Hi Gideon,

    I too am having buffering problems with the new version of iPlayer. Network tested at an average of 2.2Mbps, but it's still buffering on "Low Quality" settings. I've updated the firmware, etc, but still to no avail. Could you suggest a fix please?

    What particularly gets my back up about this, is that it rather smacks of poor software development to release something which is causing so many problems to so many people.

    As far as I know, the new version of iPlayer wasn't beta tested (or if it was, then the test was woefully insufficient), and there is no option to revert to the older "internet browser" version of iPlayer (that worked absolutely perfectly). This is crazy when the general public are so tech-savvy.

    I'm fortunate enough to be able to stream my PC to my TV, so I can watch iPlayer without buffering via that method (but it ties up what the PC is being used for), but it rather makes the new version of iPlayer obsolete in my view.

    I'm a massive fan of iPlayer, but there seems to be these issues that are persisting that absolutely need to be addressed for it to be seen as a credible way of viewing on demand.


More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.