by Emma Dunn
Today the BBC are launching a new version of the iPlayer for the Playstation 3. This marks the start of a new era for the iPlayer, as the designers try to push the popular streaming service into a more mainstream market.
Even though there is a version of the iPlayer already on a variety of devices such as the Playstation 3 and the Wii, it was treated as a bit of an afterthought and more of an extension of the internet browser service rather than a service in its own right.
However, the iPlayer’s new concept has been designed specifically for the television screen, with a higher resolution and a more intuitive user interface that is optimised for the remote control, rather than the computer mouse or game controller.
It also boasts a new personalised search that will remember the user’s viewing history and previous searches to give more relevant results.
While the latest service is currently only available on the Playstation 3, the redesign will also be adapted for a wide range of set top boxes and internet ready TVs, which is a rapidly expanding market. According to Ofcom, 10% of all TVs sold today are capable of connecting to the internet, and that figure is bound to rise in the future.
So while the BBC iPlayer is currently very popular on smartphones and computers, the BBC are hoping the new concept will get more mainstream users taking advantage of the service in its ‘natural home’ – the living room TV.
Daniel Danker, general manager of programmes and on demand at the BBC, is very excited about the latest developments: “BBC iPlayer is already available on over 300 connected TVs and Blu-Ray disc players, which has resulted in a five times growth of iPlayer on TV over the last 6 months alone.”
“At this rate of growth, in the next few years we could well see over half of iPlayer use directly on the living room TV.”
Danker has expressed his desire to get the improved iPlayer on as many devices as possible, including the Xbox 360 and Virgin and BT set top boxes. However, while Virgin and BT are already working to make the iPlayer available to their subscribers, the BBC have yet to strike a deal with Microsoft.
Sky has also yet to come on board, with Danker describing the satellite service as ‘a closed platform’.
The new service is available on the Playstation 3 from today and will become available on more platforms in the near future.
We at Nerd Insider are very excited about the new iPlayer, it will truly revolutionise the way we watch TV. But what do you think? How many of you PS3 users out there have already tried the service? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!