UK - BBC HD comes to BBC iPlayer

Monday, April 20th, 2009
BBC iPlayer logo

The BBC HD channel is now available via BBC iPlayer, enabling users to stream HD programmes for seven days after first broadcast, or download and watch them within 30 days.

BBC HD – the BBC’s free-to-air high definition channel, available on satellite and cable – features a wide range of programmes from across other BBC TV channels.

With up to five times more detail than standard definition television, HD enhances the viewing experience, providing exceptionally vivid colours and crisp pictures.

Upcoming highlights on the BBC HD channel that can now be enjoyed in HD via BBC iPlayer include the next three Doctor Who specials across 2009, the new series of Dragons’ Den, children’s show Kerwhizz, the BBC’s revival of classic sitcom The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin starring Martin Clunes and daytime drama Moving On, executive produced by Jimmy McGovern.

Alongside the introduction of BBC HD programmes on BBC iPlayer, higher quality streams are also available from today within a new resizable media player.

Previously only available to BBC iPlayer Labs users, the media player allows users to select a new large playback window size. In the new large video window size, BBC iPlayer users can enjoy video streams which are nearly twice as good as the previous High Quality format, which now becomes the default setting for the smaller video playback window.

Additionally, new adaptive bitrate technology will automatically deliver the best possible viewing experience by detecting the amount of bandwidth available and switching streaming options accordingly.

Other features unveiled today include a new internet speed diagnostics page and the full release of the new BBC iPlayer Desktop, the Adobe-AIR based cross-platform manager that allows Windows, Mac and Linux users to download BBC programmes, including those in HD.

Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD, says: “It’s great that we’ve been able to bring the BBC HD channel to the BBC iPlayer family.

“For some people this will be their first experience of high definition viewing, allowing them to see and hear programmes that they love from the BBC in the very best quality possible.

“In the last month we’ve extended the channel hours to nine per day, refreshed the look, enhanced the range of programmes, and now our HD content will be available whenever and wherever audiences want it.

“We’re seeing huge demand for HD content and I’m confident that this will help ensure it is as accessible as possible.”

Anthony Rose, Controller, BBC FM&T Vision & Online Media Group, says: “Introducing BBC HD and other higher quality streams enables users to enjoy BBC programmes in HD without a set-top box, and also marks a significant milestone in boosting video quality over BBC iPlayer.

“Alongside this, the new adaptive bitrate technology and speed diagnostics page help optimise the viewing experience, while the resizable window gives users flexibility to switch between different quality streams, hopefully leading to a more satisfying experience overall.”