BBC is about to release a new version off BBC iPlayer. With the new BBC iPlayer you will be able to watch live and catch-up television on any device through the web browser. The new BBC iPlayer is designed to integrate live and catch-up television, and make a new home for BBC 3, which will soon be the BBC’s main digital-only channel.

Alongside this, the new BBC iPlayer has a huge range of new features. Here’s your guide to using the new BBC iPlayer:

What’s new in BBC iPlayer?

The new BBC iPlayer has a range of new features. And BBC iPlayer is especially interesting to Apple Mac, iPad and iPhone users. Here are some of the new things to look out for:

  • BBC iPlayer website is touch-screen optimised for iPad and iPhone (and other mobile devices)
  • All new Home Screen
  • New optimised Find options
  • Channel Pages
  • Series archive
  • New playback window

BBC iPlayer

Optimised for iPad and iPhone

The new BBC iPlayer website is now optimised to work across multiple browsers on both desktop, tablet and mobile devices. This is particularly useful for Apple users because it no means that you can use BBC iPlayer directly on an iPhone or iPad alongside the BBC iPlayer app. There’s always been BBC iPlayer web support for the iPhone, and the app remains a slightly more solid choice. But the new BBC iPlayer website is great for browsing and playing programmes. The only real advantage to using the BBC iPlayer app is that you can download and cache programmes for later viewing. With this in mind, we think the new BBC iPlayer website will probably be your first port of call from now on.

BBC iPlayer on iPhone

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BBC iPlayer: new home screen

There is a new home screen for BBC iPlayer that is far more visual than before. Gone are the Featured and Most Popular tabs, and also removed are the panes of featured programmes. In their place sit a horizontal stream of programs that you drag and slide between (or tap using the Left and Right arrows on a Desktop version). The new BBC iPlayer site is unified across all devices, so you’ll see the same style of interface on an iPad, as you will on a Sony PlayStation Console. The new design is clearly designed to play well with touch screen devices. Aside from that it’s the same as before, square photographs from a television show that you tap to access a programme.

Another interesting aspect of iPlayer is that the TV and Radio section is now replaced with channels. Radio has been bounced away from iPlayer completely, and is now found in BBC iPlayer Radio.

BBC iPlayer on iPad

New Find panel

The new BBC iPlayer has an enhanced Find Programme area. It has intelligent search, so tapping ‘c’ brings up programmes starting with a C: Country file, Casualty, Charlie and Lola and so on. It also brings up categories such as Comedy and channels like CBeebies.

The new Find panel also remembers your history and previous searches, and favourites so if you’re a iPlayer regular it will enable you to quickly scan the sorts of programs you like.

Channel Pages

BBC iPlayer has a new focus on channels (presumably to aid BBC3s impending digital only status). Above the programs are One, Two, Three, Four and others. Tapping on these brings up a list of programs from that channel. They seem to be curated rather than Most Popular. There is also a TV Guide and large On Now and On Next areas are designed to push you towards watching live television online more than before. On the whole it feels far more integrated with the live television channels than in the previous incarnation.

Series collections

Another new feature of BBC iPlayer is the presence of themed advice collections. When looking at a programme in a series the number of programmes below will appear. Tapping on Formula 1 brings up a all the previous races in that season. We think this feature will be incredibly popular.

BBC iPlayer Series Collection

New playback window

The playback of programmes remains a strength of BBC iPlayer. Quality is still excellent but the in-screen viewer is slightly larger than before. We also think the placement of icons is a little more intuitive. If you’re watching a series it now auto plays the next episode in the series, so like Hulu or Netflix you can start at the beginning and sit on through.