The BBC's Announced Changes to iPlayer

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

If you haven’t paid for a TV licence, look away now. Just kidding, you’re still welcome here. The BBC’s announced a handful of changes that are coming to its freshly walled-up catchup service, the majority of which we should expect to see really soon.

First off we have Live Restart, a feature that lets you start a live programme from the beginning with the tap of a button. It’s coming to the iPlayer app, both on iOS and Android. It’s not totally new, having been available on computers and connected TVs for over a year, but this latest move demonstrates just how much viewing habits have changed.

The BBC’s also making HD (720p at 50fps) the default for on-demand playback on computers and connected TVs that support adaptive bitrate -- the thing that automatically adjusts video quality depending on bandwidth. Any of you with tellies that don’t support adaptive bitrate can simply select the HD option on-screen.

We’re really pleased to hear that visual seeking is also in the works. Just hover over the scrub bar to bring up thumbnails, which will help you jump straight to the moment you’re looking for. Porn websites have had the feature for ages, so it’s nice to see that someone at the BBC decided to finally pluck up the courage and mention it in a meeting. That’s arriving on the iPlayer website “very soon”, before arriving on the app later this year.

Read More: BBC iPlayer Tips and Tricks

Also in development are an archive category and subtitles for live channels.