The future of the BBC iPlayer

The man in charge of the BBC's Online Media Group has hinted at new features that could come to their popular on-demand catch up service, the iPlayer, this year. In an interview with paidContent:UK, Anthony Rose - the controller of Vision & Online at the BBC - revealed that he'd like to see High Definition streaming, better mobile device support, and new social features added to the iPlayer.

Mr Rose revealed that he'd like to see an adaptive solution that only provides a quality of video that your connection can handle, whether that be a 3G mobile connection or a relatively high-speed broadband connection. On the best connections we could see "full HD streaming if possible." The idea of an adaptive solution would be to try and sustain a video that would "never stutter or stop" and would also adapt to changes in your internet connection, improving the quality and reliability of the video.

Users can currently stream programmes to selected mobile phones that have a WiFi connection or download programmes to certain portable media players via a PC. Mr Rose hopes to see an increase in people doing this fairly soon: "Within a few months you'll start regularly seeing people in the tube watching video on portable media players, with the white BBC and pink BBC iPlayer logos just visible."

As for the new social features, there were no details given of their exact functions but it was revealed that the "social viewing and syndication options" should be available sometime early this year.

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19 Comments

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There is a mistake: Anthony Rose is not "the controller of Vision & Online at the BBC", he is "the Controller of Vision FM&T" (FM&T being Future Media & Technology).

There seems to be a bit of confusion about the current name of the group. As far as I know it used to be called "Vision & Future Media" but in places, such as Anthony Rose's LinkedIn profile, it is now described as "Vision & Online Media" (I missed out the word Media in my original post, apologies), and even as "Digital Media" in some places ...

thealexweb said,
Sorry I meant iPlayer App for Android. I was think they already support iPhone and typed the wrong thing in.

Haha, you said the same thing twice. Do you mean BBC iPlayer app for Android/iPhone? :P

I very much doubt we will see people using iplayer on the tube, mainly coz most of the stations are underground, therefore no signal lol, unless there thinking of a way u can download it to ur phone before hand?
Iv never really had a problem with iplayer, only really plays up if my connection is being stupid. Would love a back catalog of stuff
Also whats happening about this bbc/itv/channel 4 on demand thing?

I love iPlayer. I also noticed they added subtitles too now. Very impressed with it and personally I've not seen any buffering issues etc.

I'd rather they just fixed it so it streamed no matter if it's paused or not. On this connection, bit rate can go from about 3mbit to just over 56k speeds at random, any other streaming service is fine because when it's going full tilt, it streams enough so that it doesn't matter when speeds drop down a bit, but the iPlayer ONLY streams while playing and only streams a tiny bit, so it constantly stutters and stops for me.

Plus, it has a stupid bug where sometimes it dims the picture to buffer, then when it starts playing, it doesn't light it up again, forcing you to hit play and pause repeatedly until it realises it.

It needs back catalogs and series stacks. Stream over 3g on the iPhone would be nice as well, but can't see that being allowed anytime soon?

He didn't say it didn't work on the iphone, he said he wanted 3g viewing on the iPhone. At present, iplayer is only available on the iphone if you're connected to a Wi-Fi Connection.

works great on the 3 laptops + my main box in my flat + my iPhone 3G. Welcome the higher quality setting that was implemented recently as well - it was a case of "hello?! Some of us live in london and have 20mbit to play with!".

Very impressed. I wish that it had back-archives like Channel 4's 4OD.

On that note, I *CAN'T* believe that 4OD consistently requests your password. idiots.

How about fixing the decrease in FPS when switching to full screen mode first? Also save up so users can actually watch something at peak times without it buffering every 10 seconds.

I'm with Rob on this one. Mine is fine when I switch to full screen. Also, I've never had a buffering problem...

I have a Core i7 920 @ 3.61Ghz...Its only a slight drop, but as its there its really noticable. It might not even be an FPS issue thinknig about it - after watching something again it almost seems like its dropping a couple of frames every second.