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Redesigned iPlayer leaves beta

by Pete Mason on 6 September 2010, 12:10

Tags: iPlayer, BBC

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The BBC has been running a public beta of the iPlayer website for a few months, but the powers that be have decided that the update is now ready for prime-time. 

The revamped interface puts social-networking and personalisation at the forefront in an attempt to make the site more user friendly.

James Hewines, the man in charge of the iPlayer, explained that there were two motivating factors behind the changes - "firstly, we have a long-term plan to constantly evolve the site for the benefit of our audiences... Secondly, we wanted to connect BBC iPlayer up with the users' online interactions with friends - to bring a social dimension to watching and listening".

He added that "it's early days yet, but we're pretty sure that [socially enhanced TV] is going to be an important facility in the near future".

New features include a redesigned interface, the ability to mark programs as favourites, the option of creating a profile to track your friends and recommendations, integration with Twitter, Facebook and Windows Live Messenger and improved video quality - to name just a few.

Of course, these upgrades necessitated major changes to the infrastructure as well.  For those interested in the nuts and bolts, Technical Architect Simon Frost goes into detail on the various hurdles that the team needed to overcome, including the increased processing-power required to handle social-networking data and the difficulty in moving from Perl to a PHP framework.

Full details on the changes are available from Online Media Group Controller Anthony Rose.  However, the site is now live if you'd rather just have a tinker with the new features.  Once you have, why not let us know what you think of ‘socially enhanced TV' in the HEXUS.community.

HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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I just wish they would introduce buffering. I am sick and tired of iPlayer stuttering when I am watching stuff on it.
I had one big complaint with the beta and that was the lack of an option to make iPlayer pop out into a small seperate window. It seems they still haven't added it despite the previosu version of iPlayer having it.

I just wish they would introduce buffering. I am sick and tired of iPlayer stuttering when I am watching stuff on it.

Better Internet Provider?
Better Internet Provider?

The net is always going to stutter from time to time…. Its a problem that the BBC should be aware of and buffering isn't that complicated and will add nothing to their overheads.
iPlayer does buffer. If you watch your network connection, you'll see it downloading flat-out for ten seconds or so and then slowing down for a bit.