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BBC iPlayer launches on XBox 360

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Dave Price Dave Price | 08:30 UK time, Tuesday, 20 March 2012

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Product Manager Chris Tangye demonstrates BBC iPlayer on XBox 360

I'm Dave Price, the head of BBC iPlayer, and I'm thrilled to let you know that as of this morning, BBC iPlayer is available on the Xbox 360.

As we've said in our press release, today's launch means that BBC iPlayer is now on all major games consoles in the UK. Users of Sony Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, and the Xbox 360 all have access to the BBC programmes they know and love for free, using BBC iPlayer.

Since announcing the deal with Xbox in October last year, we’ve been working hard to make sure we bring you a consistent; easy to use BBC iPlayer experience you’re familiar with. And for the first time, using Kinect technology, you can discover and play content using voice and gesture.

Today’s launch builds on a core BBC value, to reach all audiences on a universal basis at no extra charge. So we are delighted that BBC iPlayer content will be available to all Xbox 360 users, for free. Indeed the BBC is the only UK content partner to make their service available free to all Xbox Live Gold members and Xbox Live Free (previously known as Silver) members..

Last year, BBC iPlayer set out to go beyond the PC, bringing content to audiences on the devices and platforms they use – whether that is a laptop or connected TV at home, or a mobile or tablet device when out and about.

In 2011, we saw huge growth for BBC iPlayer on connected TVs- either through Smart TVs, operator platforms or hooking up games consoles. There were 433 million requests for programmes during last year, or said another way one in four requests was on a TV. And with BBC iPlayer coming to Sky homes later in the year, and today’s launch of BBC iPlayer on the Xbox, we’re expecting this dramatic growth to continue.

But, why specifically are games consoles important? Games consoles are no longer just about gaming, they’ve evolved into entertainment/media hubs where viewers can watch and interact with programmes.

We know the majority of games consoles are in the living room and connected to the TV. Most are also connected to the Internet. However, until very recently, many of these have only been used for gaming. With the launch of BBC iPlayer on Xbox, we’re excited to be unlocking a new audience, and perhaps provided a new reason to connect the device to the Internet… I can tell you the fight is already happening in my home for control of the Xbox! And my wife has never been interested in Call of Duty!

We’re really excited to launch on the Xbox today and really hope you like the service. I love to hear what you think and am always interested in your feedback.

Dave Price is the Head of BBC iPlayer, Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media


  • Comment number 1.

    Looks fantastic, and great to see it is the same content as you can get on other devices. 4OD and Demand5 on the Xbox have a subset of the content you can get elsewhere, so this iPlayer app looks set to beat them all. Plus HD as well. Well worth the wait.

  • Comment number 2.

    Ahh at last, the head of iplayer, hopefully he will read this!

    Fix the volume on iplayer so it goes from 1 to 10 not 1 to 11

    Who taught you mathematics? Why 11? why not 12 or 17 or 42? You get me??

    10 is universal makes sense, you are increasing/decreasing by 10% each time

    You got 10 fingers and 10 toes!!!!

    Ever heard of the decimal system?

    OK rant over

    and relax.

    BTW well done for bringing iPlayer (with its shoddy volume control) to the Xbox


  • Comment number 3.

    @Lord_Liverpool: I believe it's a reference to This is Spinal Tap.

  • Comment number 4.

    @Lord_Liverpool I think having volume from 1-11 is great and shows a bit of sense of fun (as per @Keith's reply).

    You'll be glad to know the XBox version according to the FAQs doesn't have a volume control (https://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/announcements/xbox360_faqs%29 so no level 11....

  • Comment number 5.

    @Keith @DBOne Precisely - a great little 'easter egg' that I seem to remember has been a quirky feature since the first release. So nice to see developers being given free reign to include something unconventional!

    @Lord_Liverpool Stop whining - its only a bit of fun! :) Google it - you'll see hundreds of references to Spinal Tap!

  • Comment number 6.

    Glad it's on the Xbox for free.
    Are there any plans to have radio stations?

  • Comment number 7.

    @Dave-95 - we recognise the demand for BBC radio programmes, and will be making Radio available in iPlayer on the Xbox later in the year.

  • Comment number 8.

    we recognise the demand for BBC radio programmes, and will be making Radio available in iPlayer on the Xbox later in the year

    Err, hang on a mo, that's the biggest BBC u-turn statement I've heard all year - what happened to the Huggers' strategy of "Radio and music will come out of BBC iPlayer, and we'll develop a new stand-alone product."?

    If radio isn't coming out of iPlayer later this year, why is a whole new iPlayer-incompatible feed system being built for radio?

  • Comment number 9.

    Lord_Liverpool the volume to 11 is a nod to This Is Spinal Tap..

  • Comment number 10.

    So glad it has finally arrived on Xbox, been waiting a long time for this.
    And well done with sticking to your guns with regards to making it available to everyone on Xbox Live, not just Gold subscribers.

  • Comment number 11.

    Anyone else having volume issues?
    The volume is all distorted and clearly too loud for my HDMI cable :S

    ...oddly the menu sounds are fine!

  • Comment number 12.

    Good to see the major consoles bring supported, iPlayer gets a lot of use through our PS3. But I'd be interested to know if it's feasible that PS Vita might be supported with similar Flash free methods used to deliver iPlayer on iDevices?

  • Comment number 13.

    @Don - Glad to hear you are enjoying using BBC iPlayer on your PS3. iPlayer is already on 450 devices/platforms – and as team we are continually looking at both the audience value (i.e. reaching new users and increasing frequency) and technical feasibility of enabling BBC iPlayer on new devices/platforms like the PS Vita.

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't see the iPlayer app. Is availability limited in any way by LiveID locale? I'm English, have never lived aboard, pay my license fee, but have a US LiveID. MS have royally screwed the whole locale issue with LiveIDs (ie you can't change your location) and I'm wondering if that's the reason I can't see the iPlayer app?

  • Comment number 15.

    I know it is churlish of me to comment that this https://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/announcements/programme_latest_issues has never been empty.

  • Comment number 16.

    @Dave Sussman - unfortunately if you registered with a US LiveID then it won't be possible to access iPlayer using this account. As iPlayer is available to both Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Live Free members, you could register for a new Xbox Live Free account in order to download and access.

  • Comment number 17.

    Is the converse also true? That someone with a UK ID would be able to use the iPlayer from the US?

  • Comment number 18.

    @Dave Price. Yep, I've a UK based LiveID account and I see iPlayer. This is a long running saga with the LiveID location, and quite frankly is a farce. Not the BBCs fault at all, but MS don't seem to realise that people move countries, not that that was the issue in my case; I was an early tester of LiveIDs and set up my account on a visit to Seattle, when the cross-border issue wasn't even thought of. The sad thing is that you can't change country, nor can you copy over Xbox/Zune stats from one account to another. Thanks for the confirmation though.

  • Comment number 19.

    Why is certain content unavailable via the Xbox version of iPlayer (I'm thinking mainly of the Apprentice although it seems there is more)?

    Also, are there any future to plans to allow live streaming of channels in the same way that the PC or iPhone/iPad versions of the app can? I would love to watch MOTD on a Saturday night or Sunday morning via my Xbox.

  • Comment number 20.

    @Guv-nor – Thanks for your comment. There are a number of factors that influence the expected availability of programmes on BBC iPlayer, including how the programme is made available as an on-demand asset (i.e. pre-delivered vs recorded off-air), editorial compliance factors, scheduling implications (e.g. multiple regional variants of the Politics Show finishing transmission at the same time) etc. We have made significant improvements over the past few months, however are continually looking at enhancements to improve the timeliness and availability of our content.

  • Comment number 21.

    for a 1.0 release it's quite good, but couple of points:
    1) iPlayer doesn't remember your last played program, or your play position. I think the PC, iPad and Wii versions do.
    2) I've turned on HD but the quality indicator never does anything, is this the same for everyone?

  • Comment number 22.

    @_Ewan_ - In the scenario you mention, iPlayer would be in the dashboard, however, it wouldn't be possible to play any programmes.

  • Comment number 23.

    @Behn - We've got someone looking into your comment about sound, however, in the meantime it should be possible within your TV menus to change/set the Auto Volume (or similar) setting to 'On'. Hope this helps.

  • Comment number 24.

    This is a great move; one I've been waiting for since the original November announcement and I'm pleased to say the final delivered product is in great shape. I'm particularly pleased that it's available on free accounts!

    This may not be the appropriate forum, but I've also noticed a few issues (like the volume problem - it's VERY LOUD compared to levels on any other app or game on my Xbox). A curious one is that I'm getting signed out of Xbox Live whenever someone tries to send me a chat request at the same time as I'm watching a program, losing my place in the program as well. Also, unlike Netflix and LoveFilm, the iPlayer app doesn't seem to interrupt my auto-shutdown (I have it set to 1 hour), so as I approach the end of a 1-hour program I get an auto-shutdown warning.

    Don't take this as a whinge though, I love the product as a whole and hopefully these niggles will fall away in time :)

  • Comment number 25.

    @Dave Price at 22 - In that case there seems to be not 'content protection' reason to enforce the lockout based on the location associated with the user's ID, and Dave Sussman's neatly explained the downside, so why do it?

  • Comment number 26.

    Looks great! Congratulations. Did you work with an external agency on design/development or did you do this internally with a BBC team?

  • Comment number 27.

    I can't even get it to work. Kicks me to the exit screen each time, saying it's not available at present.

  • Comment number 28.

    Regarding post No. 7, some more questions about radio:

    Will it be on all supported games consoles e.g. Playstation?
    Will it have live radio as well as recorded?
    Will it have the same quality as iPlayer on a PC, namely 128k AAC?

  • Comment number 29.

    Just a note to say I'm having the same volume/audio problems that Behn is having. It sounds like I'm listening through a very small over amplified speaker. There doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it, there are no volume options in the app or the xbox. This is the only issue marring an otherwise superb service.

  • Comment number 30.

    For the record, I turned off the AUDIO VOLUME option (Samsung TV), and the audio problem went away. Sounds perfect now.


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