BBC iPlayer launches on Xbox LIVE, soon on Windows Phone

When Microsoft first announced the Fall 2011 dashboard update for the Xbox 360, there was a great deal of excitement over the range of new content and apps that would soon be made available for the console. But just ahead of the rollout of its new Metro-style user experience, Microsoft disappointed many users by revealing that not everything would arrive at once.

The BBC iPlayer app was one of those that Microsoft promised would be delivered in ‘early 2012’. True to their word, the BBC and Microsoft have jointly announced that the iPlayer app is being made available on the Xbox 360 from today – and even more excitingly, it’s free for all Xbox LIVE users in the United Kingdom, not just those with a Gold membership.

 

The new app features extensive Kinect integration, allowing users to discover, search and play programmes using gestures and voice interaction. The BBC’s Daniel Danker (General Manager, Programmes & On-Demand) said: “As we continue our work to make iPlayer as simple as possible, we’re also excited to experiment with natural user interfaces made possible with Kinect, including voice and gesture control. We believe it’s early days for these experiences, but see a great future working with partners such as Microsoft on innovations like these.”

 

High-definition streaming is also offered (on supported programming), but while the new app will offer BBC television content, users will have to wait until later in the year for an update to bring the BBC’s radio content to the app.

The ‘free-for-all’ nature of the app makes the BBC the UK’s first content provider to make its programming available to all Xbox LIVE users. This was a deal-breaker for the BBC, which must make its core services free at the point of use in the UK, due to the mandatory television licence fee paid by all UK viewing households. Microsoft had previously refused to grant the BBC an exception to offer its services outside of the Xbox LIVE Gold subscription.

Such restrictions on commercialising BBC content don’t exist outside of the UK, but while the BBC launched an international version of iPlayer for the Apple iPad last year, there’s no word yet on whether an iPlayer app will be made available for global Xbox LIVE users.

There’s good news for Windows Phone users though (in the UK, at least). The head of BBC iPlayer, David Price, told Digital Spy that the Corporation is working with Microsoft to bring a bit of love to the mobile OS: “We make our services available through a number of ways, whether they’re applications or the mobile web experience. We’re working with the teams at Microsoft to ensure that we can deliver an iPlayer experience on those devices.”


Images via BBC Media Centre

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

The Pirate Bay wants to place some of its servers in the air

Next Story

Linux 3.3 merges with Android

17 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Kalint said,
Please unlock for America! BBC America is so bad! NO F1 COVERAGE!

We don't pay license fees to cover the cost. I don't see them just giving it to us for nothing.

I would gladly pay something to get BBC and other channels here; BBC America is indeed bad.

Kalint said,
Please unlock for America! BBC America is so bad! NO F1 COVERAGE!

There have been talks to bring IPlayer to the us for ages now, it will be a paid for service the same as we have to pay for the BBC through our tv license.

I'd had an email weeks ago from high up in MS stating 20th March release date - they kept true to their word which is nice to see :-)

All we need now is Windows Phone app and a DECENT itv catchup app (unlike the PS3 rubbish, buggy, slow, version!!!)

WP7 said,
I'd had an email weeks ago from high up in MS stating 20th March release date - they kept true to their word which is nice to see :-)

All we need now is Windows Phone app and a DECENT itv catchup app (unlike the PS3 rubbish, buggy, slow, version!!!)


Time to drop a line to Adam Crozier

Looks like I may finally have a reason to sort the networking out for my XBox! (I don't do online/multi-player gaming, single player all the way).

"Microsoft had previously refused to grant the BBC an exception to offer its services outside of the Xbox LIVE Gold subscription."

Well this is a small victory nonetheless. Microsoft is being quite draconian with the whole XBOX Live content. I don't think it is fair that users must pay for an XBOX Live gold subscription to, say, watch Netflix, when they're already paying their Netflix subscription to Netflix itself. Paying subscription for a subscription?

It's amazing they are still getting away with it. Online play behind a Gold sub has users by the balls.

As for the content, it can be had through other devices for free or the actual cost of the service not an extra one on top which is a Gold sub. The recent HBO GO tease from Microsoft was embarrassing, proclaiming the app is free but it's behind two pay walls, HBO and XBL Gold, the former rightly justified, the latter a joke. Microsoft don't make these apps either. It's robbery.

All goes back to online play being part of the Gold sub, they know it, we know it. Gold is cheap and they offer deals all the time which may point to it's lukewarm reception as times goes on. No matter how little it costs, it's just wrong.

Probably won't use this as its built into my sony bravia! Although the interface should be better on the xbox

I'd be interested to know if the HD content is 1080 on Xbox, as the Netflix app is unnecessarily borked at 720p.

Nice work! Although being a virgin customer I might not use it(as all catchup is available from the vbox) I am excited about the kinnect and WP stuff.

I'm glad they they got over the differences (Microsoft), I thought there was resistance by MS to allow it for silver members. Still hopping for international version (even if it's gold member only outside the UK) on xbox, or ps3 for that matter.

There is or will be a international version, you will have to pay for the subscription but it is still cheap but the original version is the best. i watch BBC on a daily basis.

etempest said,
I'm glad they they got over the differences (Microsoft), I thought there was resistance by MS to allow it for silver members. Still hopping for international version (even if it's gold member only outside the UK) on xbox, or ps3 for that matter.