BBC iPlayer expands presence on connected TVs

About 100,000 BT Vision households will be able to access the BBC iPlayer service via their TVs by the end of next week, with the service available to all BT Vision box users by the end of June, according to TV iPlayer product manager Gideon Summerfield.

Summerfield, writing on the BBC’s internet blog, said that the last week has seen significant developments in the availability of iPlayer on connected TVs, including progress in the rollout on BT Vision. Viewing of iPlayer on connected devices has seen a tenfold increase since June last year, according to figures provided by the BBC.

Last week saw the official launch of the Virgin Media TiVo box, which supports the Flash-based iPlayer, giving an improved experience of iPlayer to Virgin Media subscribers. Summerfield said that the number of programmes available on the Virgin Media iPlayer now numbered 900, up from 600, bringing it line with other connected TV devices.

The BBC has also released a version of the player for Freeview HD boxes that conform to the D-Book 6.2.1 specification. This version is powered by MHEG-5 middleware, as is the case with iPlayer’s existing rollout on Freesat HD boxes. A Freeview Plus HD DVR from Sony is the first device to be certified for this.

The BBC has also certified the standard HTML version of iPlayer on TV for devices launched by Panasonic and Sony. Summerfield said that support for HTML from these manufacturers, as well as Samsung, LG, and Toshiba, would allow the BBC to build rich applications more easily. 

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